ISO 9001 certification has become almost synonymous with a sluggish and bureaucratic oil-tanker: extensive to build (organization and documentation) and hard to steer in rapid changing business environments. Audits are expensive and time-consuming. On top, the resulting quality management system (QMS) is often viewed as overhead. Most companies never realize any actual intended benefit beyond a pretty certificate on a wall and perhaps access to a new customer or market.
As a result, ISO 9001 is seen as a gateway to new business due to it being so often stipulated in supply chains. Especially in the complex and globalized supply chains for automotive industry, aerospace industry and many more industries, ISO 9001 and extensions like ISO 16949 (automotive) are mandatory. In the last decade, this has led to a dramatic increase of world-wide ISO 9001 certifications (see picture below, source: ISO Survey).
It seems that in these days (2012/2013) a plateau is reached and the demand for ISO 9001 certifications is saturated. The reason for this could originate from current development in the global markets or from ISO 9001 itself, as more and more companies see no benefit in this standard (anymore).
On the other hand, many companies see advantages and benefits in being ISO 9001 certified:
- 55% of ISO 9001 certified companies cite enhanced business prospects.
- 49% of ISO 9001 certified companies cite improved internal processes.
- 25% of ISO 9001 certified companies cite improved profile or credibility.
- 95% of ISO 9001 certified companies cite improved employee involvement,
improved operational efficiency and cost reduction since becoming certified.
This could lead to the assumption, that more certified companies will result into a better economic situation for different countries or regions. Obviously this isn’t true, as following graph shows (numbers by Wikipedia).