The Development of the Quality Standards
Quality standards evolved with quality management movement which gained importance after the Second World War. The contributions of Fredrick Winslow Taylor, a mechanical engineer called the "the father of scientific management" laid the foundation of quality management by seeking to improve industrial efficiency. Henry Ford was an important contributor in bringing processes and quality management practices.
Walter A. Shewart made a major contribution in 1924 by creating a method of quality control. He gave the famed Shewart cycle (PDCA). W. Deming„s expanded quality control theory and used statistical process control methods. The 1950s saw the birth of Japanese development of the quality management with the help of quality gurus - Juran, Deming and Feiganbaum. The concerted efforts of the Japanese and their successful implementation of quality led the USA to take notice of quality control benefits. The British standard of BS 5750 became the defacto standard of the International Organisation for Standardisation and thus the ISO 9000:1987 was born. This standard specified with inspection alone to ensure conformance. This later included quality assurance with the help of preventive actions in their ISO 9000: 1994 versions. ISO Technical Committee was formed in 1979 to harmonise the increasing international activity in quality management and quality assurance. A set of five individual, but closely associated, international standards on quality management and quality assurance is the ISO 9000 series. They are not specific to particular products but are generic. Manufacturing and service industries alike can use them.
The ISO is the specialised international agency for standardisation at present, combining the national standard bodies of 91 countries. ISO is made up of approximately 180 technical committees. Each technical committee is responsible for one of many fields of specialisation. The key idea of ISO is to publicise the development of standardisation and related activities to facilitate the international exchange of goods and services and to develop co operation in intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activities.
The service sector is also covered in the ambit of ISO since the emerging service sector contributes. The service sector is the largest single employer compared to the rest. E.g. In 1996, 60 % of the workforce in the European Union was employed in this sector. Active participation in the structural change presents the greatest challenge. In line with this trend, standardisation also extended its range beyond its traditional, technical fields too included the service sector. This later was submitted to ISO as the basis for a draft proposal.
Some of the major ISO standards are:
ISO 9000 - This is the formal standard for business processing with proper and comprehensive documentation.
ISO 12207 - This standard describes the selection and implementation of the project development life cycle and the practises to monitor.
ISO 15504 - This ISO standard is a frame works that assess the software processes, this is also known as the Software Process Improvement Capability Determination (SPICE).
Other International Product and Process standards are the following:
International Electro technical Commission (IEC). This global organisation prepares the standards for electrical, electronic and related technologies.
Apart from these, there are business excellence models like Malcolm Balridge criteria which help in developing quality in organisations.