ISO 9000 represents a set of standards from the International Organization for Standardization that describes a quality control methodology. ISO 9001:2008 represents the latest version of these guidelines.
These standards have become popular and adopted by 900,000 organizations located in 170 countries since 2000, states David Levine, business professor with the University of California at Berkeley. Levine’s examination of 1000 certified companies shows a nine percent increase in sales over 11 years specifically attributable to the ISO certification.
ISO 9000 advocates that product quality stems from controlling process deviations. Companies must document their critical processes and implement continuous monitoring that reports when an outcome slightly deviates from the norm. When a variation surfaces, actions include either tightening the process or retraining the operator.
An organization seeking to become ISO 9000 certified contacts an accreditation company that sends auditors, who observe the applicant's compliance with the ISO requirements. Examiners interview management to ensure endorsement from the leadership team and follow employees to measure how well they refer and comply with the process documents. The auditors' report lists major and minor gaps. The accreditation firm grants the certification in absence of any major deviations.