The British Assessment Bureau comments on latest ISO survey revealing drop in annual growth for ISO 9001

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In light of the latest International Standards Organisation (ISO) survey revealing ISO 9001 growth has slowed worldwide, the British Assessment Bureau urges UK certification bodies to remain upbeat.

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The lack of ISO 9001 growth is perhaps not telling the full picture within the UK.

Quality is still valued and expected, with the public sector remaining a key driver through their procurement departments; ISO 9001 is often required to work with them

The International Standards Organisation (ISO) has recently released their 20th annual survey, revealing the figures for international adoption of ISO standards. The ‘ISO Survey of Management System Standard Certifications - 2011’ was published on the 12th December and showed annual growth for ISO 9001 has dropped into the negatives for the first time since 2003. However, certification bodies have reasons to remain upbeat, with the British Assessment Bureau’s Robert Fenn commenting:

“Whilst globally the growth of ISO 9001 may have slowed, the UK remains a strong adopter of the quality management standard. Quality is still valued and expected, with the public sector remaining a key driver through their procurement departments; ISO 9001 is often required to work with them.”

The last time ISO saw a drop was in 2003, when there was a negative adoption figure of 11%, this trend didn’t take root as in 2004 ISO 9001 saw a return to growth, with an increase in adoption of 33%. In 2007 ISO updated their methodology, ensuring that data was collected only from primary sources e.g. the certification bodies who issue certificates. The number of certification bodies surveyed in 2011 was reduced, meaning greater accuracy of figures. However, this also means that we cannot reliably compare this year’s findings with previous years, due to the results not being on a level playing field.

Robert Fenn commented:
“Whilst the survey is by far and away the most comprehensive survey of ISO 9001 certificates, it’s important to take the results with a pinch of salt. The reality is there are many certification bodies out there, ourselves included, who did not participate. There are perhaps hundreds of thousands of certificates out there uncounted, which may have affected the results significantly.”

Another factor influencing adoption is speculated to be the maturity of several markets, particularly developed Western countries. This is reflected in the list of countries with the highest levels of growth: the only countries outside of Eastern Europe, South American and Asia to make the list are Italy and Spain. Another possibility could be that companies are holding fire on implementing certification until the planned ISO 9001 revision of 2015 is published.

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