The American automotive industry specifically is examined in ‘An examination of ISO 9000:2000 and supply chain quality assurance’ (Sroufe, R., Curkovic, S., 2008), with the aim of discovering which certified company gains the most from certification. The answer to this was developed with in-depth interviews with a variety of people responsible for the implementation of the certification programme in 16 plants within the automotive supply chain.
One of the first conclusions of this study is that ‘companies that see registration as a game to keep business will not obtain the additional benefits seen in more proactive plants where more effort is put into quality standards integration and supply chain quality assurance’, continuing, ‘Those plants that see ISO registration as an opportunity to improve QA and supply chain integration of quality standards will be part of a more effective supply chain’.
Those companies who seek a more integrated approach, described as ‘prospectors’, are seen as the best companies in the supply chain. The fact that the certification process makes an organisation examine so many of its processes is seen here as being one that ultimately benefits the organisation. The research discovers that for companies this results in ‘more long-term returns through inclusion in a customer’s supply base, less variance in manufacturing processes, visibility and communication with supply chain members, an external image of quality, and the ability to attract new customers that understand and work with registered suppliers’. The measurement process which certification has established (or reinforced in those firms who have it already), is also seen as key to improved performance.
Overall, ‘A repeated sentiment from managers involved in this study is that without the structured approach of the ISO registration process, many quality system implementations would have fallen short of delivering the benefits discussed in this study’.
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John F. Donahue Graduate School of Business, Duquesne University (Sroufe), Haworth College of Business, Western Michigan University (Curkovic)