ISO 9000 is a family of standards for quality management. It is maintained by the International Organization for Standardization and is administered by the accreditation and certification bodies. ISO 9000 addresses quality management standards as to what an organization needs to fulfill. It assesses the organizations ability to meet customer and regulatory requirements, quality management system, and provides guidelines for performance improvement. It is one of the renowned international standards that have been implemented by countless companies in more than 150 countries.
ISO standards aim at:
- A set of procedures to cover all key processes in the business.
- Monitor the process and ensure its effectiveness.
- Quality requirements of customers.
- Checking outputs for defects, and taking corrective actions in appropriate places.
- Applicable regulatory requirements to enhance customer satisfaction.
- Achieve continuous improvement of performance.
ISO 9000:2000 and ISO 9001:2000:
Earlier till December 2000, there used to be ISO 9000, ISO 9001, ISO 9002 and ISO 9003 standards. During December 2000, the International Organization for Standardization merged all of them into a revised ISO 9001 standard. To distinguish between the earlier standards and the revised one, the later was referred to as ISO 9001:2000 or ISO 9000:2000. For all practical purposes, ISO 9000 and ISO 9001 connote the same, and 2000 indicates the year of its revision.
Application in the Textile and Apparel Industries:
Textile and apparel industries have many complicated activities and challenges involved in the course of its operation. Their operation incurs heavy expenditure to the manufacturers. Many textile and apparel industries have implemented ISO standards to lower its operating costs and improve the quality of its output, ultimately increasing the level of customer satisfaction. Textile and apparel industries account for a sizable percent of manufacturing jobs in a global perspective. They employ millions of people directly and indirectly. They form a massive industrial complex and prove to be a big contributor among the manufacturing industries of any country.
Some textile and apparel industries view ISO certification is only necessary as a factor for exports. But, the main matter of concern in textile industry is that an imperative relation exists between the quality of the materials and the quality of the final product. ISO standards enable the industry to enhance the quality of raw material input, thereby strengthening the quality of the ultimate product. This will result in a systematic approach to management, incessant performance improvement, factual approach towards the decision making process, and a mutually benefiting suppliers relationship. Thus is helps the manufacturers in 'Weaving a Quality Industry'.
Market for ISO Certification:
As every day passes by, global competition is heating up. Textile and apparel industries are in the midst of major changes. To keep pace with the market scenario, industries rely more on quality and innovative fabrics, and apparels, and quick response to the needs of the customer. Innovations in the fields of nanotextiles, nonwovens, electro textiles, medical textiles, and geo textiles are providing new opportunities for the manufacturers and tap the market. Simultaneously, these opportunities also encompass them with critical challenges. Organizations today engage in many international trade activities, and this certification proves a pre-requisite for their survival in international competition. ISO certification helps the companies in market creation and penetration.
Benefits of ISO:
Implementation of ISO helps the textile and apparel industries to enhance their product and process quality, minimizes defective supplies and reworking. Furthermore, it can also be used as a marketing tool. As it is a well-recognized standard for quality, it shows the customers that the company takes quality seriously. ISO certified companies focus more on the quality of its products and operations. It also motivates the employees in improving quality. The cost of implementing ISO is comparatively cheaper to the benefits derived out of it. Many ISO certified companies positively assert that their total costs went down to a considerable extent regarding quality maintenance after the implementation of ISO.
Fibre2fashion.com had an exclusive one on one with noted personalities of textile companies which has been certified under the ISO standards.
- How is ISO Certification integral for a Company's Operation? How would you distinguish yourself from a Non-Certified Company?
Mr. Snehakar Bansal, Director, Prathibha Syntex Pvt Ltd:
"It comes across as no surprise that solution providers today are increasingly opting to go for the coveted ISO certification in Textile sector. It has a universal appeal and helps improve various processes in a company, based on customer needs. Further, it increases customer confidence in the supplier's product quality and delivery commitments, in addition to helping solution providers penetrate in the global market, thus making the cash registers ring louder. Price, quality, and service are three primary elements that are carefully monitored at the Apparel Industry. There are a number of factors on which quality fitness of Apparel industry is based such as - performance, reliability, and durability, visual and perceived quality of the garment. Quality needs to be defined in terms of a particular framework of cost."
Mr. Bansal shares his professional expertise regarding the textile sector. He states, "Competition is the name of the game and staying ahead is the key for survival. Like all else in the industry, this rule applies to the solutions provider community too. Against the face of growing business, and hence increased competition, solution providers have begun to realize the need to provide their customers a differentiation factor in terms of service, products, price and technology".
"ISO provides a framework and systematic approach to managing business processes to produce a product/service that conforms to customer expectations. For customers, the certification of suppliers to ISO standards means that they can be assured that the development of their products and services are compliant to reference documents that are globally accepted. This, of course, means that customers and suppliers are able to compete in markets around the world. ISO is required for companies that largely design as well as produce and distribute their products or services. ISO 9002 is meant for companies that produce and distribute their products or services. ISO 9003 is required for companies that carry out only final inspection and testing. ISO 14000 is the new Environmental Management Standard (EMS). The ISO 9000 series appears to be sweeping the world and is rapidly becoming the most important quality standard."
Mr. P. Sundararajan, Managing Director, SP Apparels:
- "The Management is able to focus on the customer needs, expectations and effective measures to fulfill Companies Objectives.
- Selection of appropriate and competent manpower.
- Training needs are identified and imparted which guides them properly to achieve targets.
- Each department has its own measurable objectives. Every individual has defined responsibilities and authorities.
- Necessary resources like work space, machineries, equipments and other infrastructure are ensured. Also the calibration of measuring equipments are monitored effectively"
Mr. P. Sundararajan positively asserts that these advantages cannot be enjoyed by a Non-Certified Company.
N.Thirukkumarian, CEO, Esstee Exports:
He states that, "If we follow the ISO standards, we can be assured quality product. In a garment industry, right from the purchase of yarn to packing of the finished garments, the ISO system will take care. In a non-certified company you cannot trace the various inputs / outputs history."
- How does ISO Certification help your company in acquiring a share in the global market?
Mr. Snehakar Bansal shares his opinion regarding the same. He states, "Pratibha Syntex is driven by a strong vision and a deep commitment to organic principles. Pratibha is the worlds first mostly vertically integrated textile manufacturing company, going from raw material to finished products, including cotton fibre production, spinning, knitting, dyeing and finishing, and apparel manufacturing".
"Pratibha is accredited with ISO 9002, ISO 14001 Certifications. Certifications like the ISO undoubtedly turn out to be beneficial to companies that opt for them. These could be both tangible and intangible benefits. Pratibha has also achieved its benefits from both in tangible and intangible manner. It has benefited in not only improving the quality base but also in making a presence in the International market but also increasing customer base, improved environmental performance, pollution prevention and waste reduction, has also increased its goodwill in the eye of customers. It has also benefited us measurable process improvements, which have translated into productivity gains and significant time and cost savings by the virtue of attaining lower defect rates and lesser rework.
One of the key elements of Pratibhas success and growth story has been its ability to satisfy customers with superior quality of service, which has ensured steady growth, repeat business, positive customer referrals and presence in the global market. For penetrating in this competitive market, we have to provide and different product not only in the textile sector but also for every industry, which aims towards quality products and services".
Mr. Sundararajan, shares his notions on how the certification is very helpful for SP Apparels to improve their 'Quality of Manufacturing, on time processing, and Customer satisfaction'.
- "Right from yarn purchase to shipment every activity is governed by documented standard operating procedures and instructions, which complies with the requirements of ISO 9001.
- Each process is carried out with the PDCA process approach (ie Plan-Do-Check-Act), which gives better results in achieving better quality and on time shipments
- Inspection and testing at each stage of manufacture assures quality requirements are met
- Internal audit and external audit performed periodically ensures effective implementation of Quality Management System
- Periodical feedback from customers reveals their level of satisfaction
- Analysis of data towards continual improvement"
Mr. Thirukkumarian accentuates how the certification has helped Esstee Exports to acquire a slice in the global market pie. He says, "In the global market, the first question raised by any customer, whether the Factory is certified for ISO 9001-2000. It is a pre-requirement for obtaining any export order."
With the growing list of companies getting listed under the ISO certification; worldwide, the polarization of ISO certification is clear as crystal. Religious implementation of ISO standards in textile and apparel industries will result in a 'cultural transition' of continuous improvement.
1) Indian Apparel Industry Survey Report Benefiting from ISO Certification, Pradip V.Mehta, Stitch World, Vol VI, Issue 8, October 2008.