TQM & LOs LO11260

John Zavacki (jzavacki@wolff.com)
Wed, 4 Dec 1996 05:16:37 -0500

Replying to LO11230 --

Ben wrote:

> Here's a very interesting issue we ran into as we worked toward ISO 9001
> certification. Section 4.5 of the standard says, in essence, we have to
> control all the data used by our employees in the execution of their
> work.
> This requires that we obsolete old information.

Then went on to describe the amount and kind of information rolling around
in the database and the problems inherent in retrieving it. He concludes:

> Given the choices, I'd rather have too much information, and a few peices
> of inaccurate information, in the database than hardly any information.

I agree, Ben, the standards ignore learning, modes of learning and the
creative use of "obsolete" information. I spent ten years in a Mil-Q-9858
environment (the US military's Quality System Standard and the base model
for ISO 9000) and a lot of hours dotting i's and crossing t's to satisfy
auditors. I occasionally work with clients seeking ISO registration, and I
must admit, I'm ambivalent. I can read the standard as a basic template
for good management but run into problems when I see some of the
third-party assessors tear into a system. Some of these guys would
withhold registration of your system based on the lack of an
"obsolescence" mechanism. But, then again, the section on training (4.18)
starts to make real sense when it talks about needs assessment and
corrective and preventive action starts to sound a little like learning

One of the interesting elements of the standard is ISO 9004, which is not
a model, but and extension of the models, in which the framers talk about
what you can do, where you could go, by using the standards. It might be
a good thread for the list.

John Zavacki
The Wolff Group

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>