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The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the Deming Prize, etc. and Quality

S ome people ask if these programs are equivalent or better than the IS0 9000 series.
The answer to this question is simple: you can't hope to meet the expectations of any of these programs if you aren't already implementing the ISO 9000 (ANSI/ISO/ASQ Q9000) standards in your company. These standards provide the foundation on which you can build your quality management and quality assurance systems so you may ultimately achieve a high level of success. Moreover, the ISO 9000 series is the only system accepted internationally.

In the European Union for many regulated products, ISO 9000 registration is an alternative for product certification, not an absolute requirement. In fact, as cited in most EU legislation, quality system registration is neither mandatory (there are other paths to product certification) nor is it a stand-alone procedure.

Outside of regulated product areas, the importance of ISO 9000 registration as a competitive market tool varies from sector to sector. For instance, in some sectors, European companies may require suppliers to attest that they have an approved quality system in place as a condition for purchase. This could be specified in any business contract. ISO 9000 registration may also serve as a means of differentiating classes of suppliers, particularly in high-tech areas, where high product reliability is crucial. In other words, if two suppliers are competing for the same contract, the one with ISO 9000 registration may have a competitive edge with some buyers. Sector and product areas where purchasers are more likely to generate pressure for ISO 9000 registration include aerospace, autos, electronic components, measuring and testing instruments, and so on. ISO 9000 registration may also be a competitive factor in product areas where safety or liability are concerns.

Your selection of an accredited registrar won't automatically guarantee access to all global markets, but it is the best way to ensure that you have a competent registrar whose methods of operation and qualifications have been subjected to intense scrutiny, with the full weight of the ANSI due process system behind it. It can give you assurance that the money you invest in this decision are spent wisely.

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