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ISO 9000: A Universal Standard Of Quality
Those managers familiar with the lexicon of quality know what ISO 9000 is and realize the impact it will have on their companies. For those who don't know, now is the time to find out, because ISO 9000, a series of five international standards that establish requirements for the quality systems of organizations, is starting to have international business repercussions.
The standards have been adopted by the European Community and by the individual nations of that community. They are being used to provide a universal framework for quality assurance. As trade barriers are torn down and Europe becomes economically unified in anticipation of EC 1992, ISO 9000 is becoming a tool to ensure cross-border quality.
On this side of the Atlantic, the standards also are being adopted by NATO, the U.S. Department of Defense, the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). In addition, at least 35 countries around the world have adopted ISO 9000. The ISO 9000 series are the best selling standards in the history of the International Organization for Standardization under whose auspices they were developed. ISO 9000 even has outsold the international weights and measurement standards.
What does this mean from a competitive point of view? Right now, the EC requires that …