The article cited below has vanished from its original URL but may be read at The Wayback Machine: http://web.archive.org/web/20070712001002/http://www.chemistrydaily.com/chemistry/ISO_9000
ChemistryDaily summarises criticisms of ISO 9000 thus:
- BS 5750 was designed to show that production was controlled. It in no way addresses process or performance improvement. Processes, technology and customer demands are ever-changing, but useful changes can be blocked for being non-compliant. Whereas the work of W. Edwards Deming focuses on awareness of processes, thus harnessing workers’ creativity, ISO 9000 can create a culture of ritualizing processes — including creative ones — thus suppressing it.
- “When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” It may not be appropriate to apply a process such as ISO 9000 to a field requiring creativity, such as software engineering, which is more analogous to designing factories than to operating a factory. ISO 9000 is sometimes used as an excuse for inappropriate Taylorisation.
- Bad managers still manage at arm’s length, using paper reports rather than knowing what is happening on the factory floor. ISO 9000 can reinforce this behaviour. Instead of being seen as an opportunity to improve things, audits often become quite confrontational in structure.
- Many companies only register to ISO 9000 because they are forced to by the marketplace — whether or not ISO 9000 is in fact appropriate to their business.
There are few or no objective metrics showing any effectiveness for ISO 9000. In 1997, two people took the BSI to the Advertising Standards Authority for claiming in an advertisement that ISO 9001 “improves productivity … almost always gives an immediate result in terms of productivity and efficiency, and that means cost reductions … pays for itself … Staff morale is better because they understand what is expected of them and each other,” whilst being unable to produce any objective metrics to substantiate these assertions. The complaint was upheld.