Common Myths of Management Systems


Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc. Newsletter

Performance Improvement Solutions for Your Business                              October 2011

This Month
* Common Myths of Management Systems
* ISO Publishes 6 Sigma Method
* Outsourcing Strategies
* In the News
* Training Courses

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Our newsletters provide information on business management systems ISO 9001, AS9100 Aviation, Space and Defense, ISO/TS 16949 Automotive, ISO 27001 Information Security, ISO 13485 Medical Devices, ISO 14001 Environmental, and others.  This includes performance improvement methods such as Six Sigma, Lean Enterprise, and other topics of interest to our readers.


If you have any questions regarding the content or have a topic of interest for a future newsletter, please let us know.




Common Myths of Management Systems

A recent article written by Mark Ames and team discusses the many myths and misunderstandings related to the implementation of management system standards such as ISO 9001. Belief in these myths is the most common barrier to the use of management system standards and, in addition, the greatest cause of frustration and diminished benefits on the part of users.

Understanding these myths can help organizations choose to adopt a management system and ultimately achieve the intended benefits embedded within all management system standards. The purpose of the article is to identify and debunk the most common myths surrounding management system standards.

Management systems don’t add value but I have to have one because my customers want me to have one.

Management systems provide bottom-line cost savings and improved profitability and performance through embedded preventive practices. Organizations of any size performing activities of any kind that are considering adopting a management system standard can expect to see increased value to customers and greater return on investment through appropriate discipline and communication.

Points to consider

  • Management systems help organizations avoid mistakes and save resources, time, and money.
  • Organizations that are not achieving value from their management systems may not be clear on their true purpose and may be just going through the motions.
  • Excessive documentation can and will reduce the management system’s value to the organization and its customers and should be considered counterproductive.


Management systems are a net cost to my organization


Studies have shown (example – article in our September issue) that preventing a problem is less expensive-and in many cases much less expensive-than dealing with the consequences after a problem occurs. If an organization implements a management system standard and its net cost increases, the organization needs to examine and reconsider its approach to implementing the management system.

Points to consider

  • Excessive costs associated with management systems often come from an organization’s failure to take ownership of the completed management system. This is particularly true if there is a lack of ownership on the part of top management.
  • If you create a system that you are unwilling to work with on a daily basis, it will provide little or no value, and, in fact, may be a net cost to the organization.
Management system standards do not allow my organization to be flexible and innovative


During management system implementation, the organization will need to make decisions that allow it to remain flexible where flexibility is important, while at the same time providing enough structure to ensure good discipline where discipline is needed.


Point to consider

Management systems are written in a way that serves any organization. If an organization has an inflexible management system that ties the organizations hands, it is because the management system was created that way. Careful decisions are required to balance the need for discipline and structure on one hand and the need for flexibility on the other.


Management system certification is not required; therefore, my organization doesn’t need it

Management system standards contain a collection of best practices that have evolved over the last 200 years. Management systems provide a pragmatic, systematic methodology for organizations, helping them achieve results for themselves and their customers. Certification of a management system by an internationally recognized accreditation body (such as the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board-ANAB) will verify the successful adoption of the imbedded preventive practices and will foster confidence in customers and stakeholders.


Points to consider

Management systems provide a clear path and associated transparency related to an organization’s methods, measurements, and results, thus providing confidence in the organization’s ability to meet both customer and legal requirements. It is likely that management system standards will become increasingly important in the future because they provide:

  • A proactive methodology for meeting legal, regulatory and other related obligations.
  • Internal financial and other benefits associated with the preventive practices embedded in each management system standard.
  • Benefits to customers, stakeholders, and the broader marketplace that is communicated when the certification is issued by a certification body accredited by an internationally recognized accreditation body.

Management system standards do not guarantee product quality

Nothing can absolutely guarantee product quality. However, management systems can go a long way toward preventing problems from occurring in the first place, thus providing dramatic improvements in results while reducing costs.


Points to consider


  • While management systems do not assure absolute results, the preventive steps embedded in management systems will dramatically increase the likelihood of consistent product and overall business success.
  • Management systems do create a monitoring and measurement system of processes and products, or services that substantially increase your ability to produce consistent quality


What your organization should not do

Your organization should not implement a management system and associated procedures just because they have been developed and successfully used by another organization. No two organizations do things in exactly the same manner. What works for one organization will not achieve the same success for another.

The worst-case scenario is that you use and implement a documented management system that another organization has used. This system does not represent your organization, its language, or how you deliver your products and services. This type of method will only confuse your personnel and decrease its purpose and value; including increasing your operating costs.


Put simply, management systems prevent problems. They work efficiently and effectively whenever organizations can get past the myths addressed in this article. A clear understanding that the end result may be a fundamental change in how the business operates will help organizations make the transition from reactive management to preventive management. Use of management systems standards and the associated accredited certification process should reduce costs, improve results, improve customer satisfaction and provide confidence to customers, stakeholders, and organizations.


For all your organizational management system needs, please contact us.


ISO Publishes Six Sigma Improvement Methodology

Six Sigma is a data-driven method for improving business and quality performance, has been published as a two-part ISO standard.

Six Sigma was originally developed by Motorola in 1986 to ameliorate manufacturing processes with the goal of products free of defects (i.e., 3.4 errors per million). Today, the methodology is applied in many sectors of activity by organizations large and small for all types of process and services to:

  • Drive process improvement and make statistically based decisions
  • Measure business results with a level of reliance
  • Prepare for uncertainty
  • Combine high returns and benefits in the short, medium and long-term
  • Remove waste, defects and errors.


Although Six Sigma has existed for some time, bringing its best practice together under an ISO standard helps solidify and consolidate the methodology. The ISO brand is respected and recognized worldwide, and thus provides an added layer of confidence. Moreover, publication of Six Sigma methodology in an ISO standard will boost international uptake of the methodology in a coherent form, reduce fragmentation, and provide users with harmonized best practice,” concluded Dr. Boulanger, President of JISC-Statistics and co-chair of the subcommittee that developed the standard.


The new standard, ISO 13053:2011, Quantitative methods in process improvement – Six Sigma, deals exclusively with the application of Six Sigma to ameliorate existing processes and is published in the following two parts:

  • Part 1: DMAIC methodology, describes the five-phased methodology DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control), and recommends best practice, including on the roles, expertise and training of personnel involved in such projects.
  • Part 2: Tools and techniques, describes tools and techniques, illustrated by factsheets, to be used at each phase of the DMAIC approach.

Both documents can be applied to all sectors and organizations. You can purchase the standard by your country through the ISO Website.


Outsourcing Strategies


The third annual survey of providers of offshore labor is part of ongoing research into the effects of offshoring trends on the economy and reflects changes in the provision and consumption of global sourcing in recent years.

Offshoring Research Network and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business surveyed 620 service providers at 1,850 companies from more than 50 countries and found that a shift in the outsourcing industry is affecting incumbent India-based and U.S. firms. These are caught in a “perfect storm” in which new outsourcing competitors are entering new markets to offer both low-end, commoditized services with few market-entry barriers, and high-end, value-added services that drive higher margins where market entry is more challenging.


As noted in the survey, the importance of workforce skills and training has increased since 2009, becoming the most vital criteria in a client’s decision making when choosing between a selection of service providers. Companies are planning to make aggressive investments in training centers for internal staff-especially in functions involving a high level of client-specific knowledge and frequent interaction with clients, such as research and development and design services-enabling them to get closer to the client’s core competencies.


“The global sourcing industry is undergoing significant changes,” says Arie Lewin, professor of strategy and international business at Fuqua and director of CIBER. “Clients expect providers to contribute value beyond just cost savings. Global sourcing is becoming more competitive all the time. Service providers now must offer more than just cost savings; they must add value to their clients’ business processes.”

The survey also found more than 56 percent of outsourced labor providers plan to invest in new areas of expertise, with a primary focus on cloud or service-oriented architecture aimed at integrating disparate web applications, and centers of excellence teams promoting collaboration and best practices. In addition, 74 percent of service providers plan to continue expanding the scale and scope of their services; mergers and acquisitions account for 13 percent of planned growth during the next three years, with 13 percent of service providers indicating a desire to become an acquisition target.

View a PDF detailed report of the survey.


In the News


Vehicle Quality Issues Due to Design

More than two-thirds of owner-reported, new-vehicle interior problems are design-related issues rather than defects or malfunctions, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Interior Quality and Satisfaction Study. The study is based on responses from more than 73,000 new-vehicle owners who purchased a 2011 model-year vehicle. The study was fielded between February and May 2011.

Design-related interior problems can have a considerable negative impact on overall interior satisfaction. For example, satisfaction averages 8.1 on a 10-point scale among owners who report no interior design problems, but drops to 7.2 when at least one interior design problem is reported. Of the top five most frequently reported problems within the interior, all five are design-related: material scuffs and soils easily; cruise control difficult to use or is in a poor location; cup holders difficult to use; center console difficult to use; and door locks difficult to use or controls are in a poor location. Problems related to the center console have increased from 2010.


ASQ Contest To Raise The Voice of Quality

The American Society for Quality (ASQ), the global voice of quality, is gearing up for the 2011 World Quality Month celebration in November with the launch this week of the YouQ video contest-asking people passionate about quality to show how quality tools have made a positive impact in their workplaces and communities.

Participants can upload their videos through Oct. 31, 2011, on ASQ’s Facebook page. Individual and team submissions, as well as submissions from throughout the world, are encouraged. The contest is designed to raise the voice of quality, strengthen connections within the global quality community, and showcase the impact of quality worldwide. The contest will help participants share quality insights and ideas, and present new solutions to challenges.


Viewers who “like” ASQ on Facebook will vote on videos and select the winners during World Quality Month, an annual celebration of quality and its impact on the world. Winners of the YouQ video contest will be announced in December. Prizes for the YouQ video contest include an Apple iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 3G, and a 64GB iPod Touch.


For more information about the YouQ video contest, visit ASQ Facebook Page.


Training Courses

To see the course description, schedule, and on-line registration click on the course title below. We deliver onsite training for these courses and customized training to fit your specific needs.  We offer group discounts.

View all our Courses


View Our Web Based E-Training Courses


ISO 9001 Quality Management


Understanding and Implementing ISO9001:2008

ISO 9001:2008 Process Based Internal Auditor

Documenting Your Management System


AS9100 Aviation, Space and Defense


Understanding and Implementing AS9100C (9110 &9120) Aviation, Space and Defense

AS9100C:2009 Process Based Internal Auditor

Documenting Your Management System


ISO/TS 16949 Automotive


Understanding and Implementing ISO/TS16949:2009 Automotive

ISO/TS16949:2009 Process Based Internal Auditor
Documenting Your Management System


ISO 14001 Environmental

Understanding and Implementing ISO14001:2004 Environmental
ISO14001:2004 Process Based Internal Auditor

Lean Enterprise and CI

5S Five Pillars of a Lean Workplace Organization
Continuous Process Improvement
Lean Six Sigma
8 Disciplines (8D) of Problem Solving


ISO 13485 Medical Devices


Understanding and Implementing ISO 13485:2003 Medical Devices
ISO 13485 Process Based Internal Auditor


ISO 27001 Information Security


Understanding and Implementing ISO 27001:2005 Information Security
ISO 27001 Process Based Internal Auditor


All courses can be delivered at your company. Don’t see a course, location, or date that fits your needs?

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