Choosing efficiency efficiently

Posted on 24 Jul 2008 by The Manufacturer

Six Sigma or ISO 9001. Rob Thompson evaluates...

ISO 9001 objectives

ISO 9001 is a Quality Management System, which includes specialized quality management standards for specific industries. A Quality Management System is a system of clearly defined organizational structures, processes, responsibilities and resources used to assure minimum standards of quality and can be used to evaluate an organizations overall quality management efforts. An ISO 9001 certification assures a company’s customers that minimum acceptable systems and procedures are in place in the company to guarantee that minimum quality standards can be met.

Comparison with Six Sigma

* ISO 9001 and Six Sigma serve two different purposes. ISO 9001 is a quality management system while Six Sigma is a strategy and methodology for business performance improvement.
* ISO 9001, with guidelines for problem solving and decision making, requires a continuous improvement process in place but does not indicate what the process should look like while Six Sigma can provide the needed improvement process. Meanwhile, Six Sigma does not provide a template for evaluating an organization’s overall quality management efforts whereas ISO9001 does.

Combining Six Sigma with ISO

Six Sigma provides a methodology for delivering certain objectives set by ISO such as:

* prevention of defects at all stages from design through servicing;
* statistical techniques required for establishing, controlling and verifying process capability and product characterization;
* investigation of the cause of defects relating to product, process and quality system;
* continuous improvement of the quality of products and services.

Six Sigma supports ISO and helps an organization satisfying the ISO requirements. Further, ISO is an excellent vehicle for documenting and maintaining the process management system involving Six Sigma. Besides, extensive training is required by both systems for successful deployment.

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