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(Why Do ISO Certified Companies Fail in Their QMS Implementation?)


Image source: Designed by yanalya / Freepik

I have been helping companies all over the Philippines to get ISO-certified for the last 20 years. Sadly, not all of them that made it to the certification have earned the true benefits of QMS. ISO certification has become a mere piece of paper posted on the wall of their offices; no significant change that had happened after gaining certification.

Based on my personal assessment from these companies, there are three primary
reasons for this failure:


  1. Wrong intention. When the company or organization wants to be certified to an ISO Standard just because its clients require it, and there is no in-depth purpose of having the program, it might as well fail to avail of the benefits the program may have to offer. Many companies are certified to an ISO standard for superficial reasons. Some of them want to get the certification because their major client requires it. As a matter of fact, they tend to hurry up with the certification resulting to shortcuts in the setup process. Instead of at least three months of implementation, they shorten it to two months or less. Likewise, in the government sector, one requirement to be entitled to performance-based bonus is ISO certification. Thus, some agencies tend to fast-track the process of setting up the QMS just to get certified. Hence, as a system, QMS is not able to penetrate the organization in a way that should be embedded in its organizational culture.

  2. Wrong mindset. Gone were days that ISO is about having complete documentation of the system. From the principle on “write what you do and do what you write”, the current version of QMS is about managing the system and processes and the associated risks. People still find fulfillment when they compiled their operational policies and procedures, write the individual job descriptions, and draft the various company forms. While all these documentations are essential to control their processes, what matters more is the effectiveness of these processes. Documentation is futile unless you use them to manage and reduce the significant risks in your processes. Job descriptions and company forms are of no value unless you attain your set performance indicators and target.

  3. Lack of management commitment. QMS failure boils down to lack of executive leadership and commitment. When the company sets up its quality management with a wrong intention and a wrong mindset, I believe that its QMS is just a piece of paper. Ironically, in one’s QMS program one can say, “Tell me who your leaders are, and I will tell you what kind of QMS you have.” When the top management is indeed committed to QMS implementation, whatever season that the company’s management system went through, it will continue to grow and withstand the test of time.




HENRY O. PALACA, MTM, PIE is founding President of QUALITY PLUS MANAGEMENT CONSULTING CO. He is a Management System and Business Process Improvement expert. He successfully assisted more than 100 companies in their ISO Certification journey and over 20 companies on their Business Process Improvement programs for his twenty years of experience in the industry, handling Industrial Engineering, TQM, and various management systems. He is the author of the management system book, “Building Organizational Excellence Through ISO 9001.” He is one of the 40 management system experts who were Certified National Energy Management System (ISO 50001 EnMS) Consultant. He is also a regular guest lecturer of UP-ISSI, Diliman, Quezon City.

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