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The True Value of Certification

JAG Engineering LLC



The link below is an article about the value of certification for manufacturers. It is a heavy sell for certification. In my opinion it misses the most basic benefit of certification, which is the path to getting certified.


When people ask me about ISO 9000, the simple explanation I give, “the process of certification requires you to write down your process and demonstrate that you follow the process.” The certification system does not dictate your process.

The mere action of writing down and maintaining the written procedure is the real value. In one of my blogs “Dumbest Guy in the Room", written in two parts, http://www.jagengrg.com/blog, I touch on the value of the written word and the perils of oral communication. 

Writing it down allows everyone to see exactly what the author thinks is being done or should be done. Others can read the written word and identify ambiguous sections, missing information, or errors that can easily be overlooked using oral communication.

When everyone is carrying the information in their head’s via oral direction I can guarantee there is more than one interpretation. I would venture to say you will have as many interpretations as you have people involved.

When written procedures do exist but do not come under the scrutiny of a certification body, it is very common for procedures to become stale, be incomplete, rely on undocumented knowledge, and for steps in the process to be missed from time to time.

The subject article closes with a realistic assessment of the value for certification. “Is having a certification the end-all-be-all of manufacturing? No. However….”

You reach the "however" stage, not my hanging the certification on the wall, but the process for obtaining it. 


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Good post, JAG. I must admit to being somewhat of an ISO 9000 skeptic, having seen very little value in it for places where I have worked. I do see your point about the value of requiring that everything be written down and looked at by many people.


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I think some believe having a certificate is a magic item to hang on the wall. Others spend more time thinking about the place to hang the plaque, and placement on the their web page, than the purpose. They look at ISO or other certifications as an necessary evil to impress clients. They miss my point.

What I identify sounds so ho hum. But people don't realise how many problems they have due to the issues I point out. Deming's work indicated 94% of the problems are in the system given to the workers vs the workers. Up to date through procedures are boring, so dismissed by many. 

I instituted a process which was driven by nothing more than a checklist that eliminated nearly all out repeat problems and avoided others. The check list started at order entry (which was outside my department and a major source of problems) through design release. I wrote about this a while back.http://www.jagengrg.com/blog/check-lists-simple-quality-control-tool

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