Why Some Companies Don't promote their QMS Certification

Obtained from https://pixabay.com/vectors/megaphone-loudhailer-speaker-sound-308846/

Many companies either poorly publicize their ISO 9001/AS91xx Certification… or don't at all. These companies typically won't mention or post their QMS Certification on their website or mention it in e-mail signatures. Instead, they'll e-mail their ISO 9001/AS91xx certificates to ONLY those customers who request (or otherwise require) them. But no one else.

The Certification Bodies (CBs) can't understand this.

I asked some companies why they did this (wearing my auditor hat) and they gave me a rambling non-answer.

However, when I asked some of my clients the same question, their answers revealed a disdain for ISO 9001/AS91xx Certification! They all said essentially the same thing… which was “We don't want customers who come to us because we have an ISO 9001, AS9100, or AS9120 Certificate. We want customers who come to us because of OUR quality.

Why do they do this?

The answer is simple… the company sees little value in ISO 9001 OTHER than satisfying a customer requirement (or expectation) for them to hold an ISO 9001 (or AS91xx) Certificate from a CB.

When customers stop demanding their suppliers to hold certification from a CB, these companies tend to surrender their certifications. With that “value” now gone, there is no longer justification for the added cost of maintaining a “Certification Management System”.

This is NOT to say that those companies no longer have a QMS… or allow it to languish. On the contrary, the "actual" QMS remains in place because management views it as adding value.

Isn't ISO 9001 / AS91xx Supposed to Improve Quality?

ISO 9001 is an “entry-level” QMS Standard intended for companies seeking to implement their first formal quality management system.

…the ISO 9001 requirements standard is, and will probably continue to be, the entry point for most organizations seeking to implement any formal management system.” ~ Nigel H. Croft, ISO/TC 176/SC 2 Chair (28 August 2012)

Source: “ISO 9001:2015 and beyond - Preparing for the next 25 years of quality management standards” (http://www.iso.org/iso/home/news_index/news_archive/news.htm?refid=Ref1633)

So if your company has an unstructured, informal QMS, then ISO 9001 may improve your quality. Ultimately, customers requiring ISO 9001 or AS91xx certification simply want assurance that their suppliers have a basic, formal QMS.

Companies with very mature and sophisticated quality management systems (e.g., using Lean Six Sigma & TRIZ) would not benefit at all from implementing ISO 9001 or AS91xx. In fact, ISO 9001, AS91xx, and many other QMS Standards actually promote some flawed, antiquated concepts. Consequently, compliance with these standards could actually have an adverse effect on a sophisticated QMS!

One Quality Manager of an AS9100 registered company explained, “Certification to any QMS standard ensures that you're “stuck” at whatever level of competence… or incompetence the standard's developers were at when they wrote the standard”. She went on to explain that AS9100 is a constraint that limits innovation and improvements within her company. And that her AS9100 auditors have been not only ignorant of Lean Six Sigma, they actually expressed disdain for the company using those tools/methodologies!

This is why some major companies do not seek QMS Certification. And those required by customers to maintain certification, “drop it” as soon as the requirement goes away (e.g., the aerospace business dropped significantly after the Boeing 737 Max debacle).

Auditors working for CBs (Certification Bodies) tend to spend most of their time in the “echo chamber” of a CB… primarily talking with other auditors. Consequently, they fail to recognize the existence of overlapping dual systems (the “actual” QMS and the “QMS Certification Management System”) and due to this, fail to understand “why” some companies promote their QMS Certifications while others do not.