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Quality Standards in Manufacturing and Service Industries

Similarities and differences in ISO 9000 in manufacturing and service industries

In manufacturing, ISO 9000 is normally introduced into a highly structured environment. Normally, these are people who already understand the importance of having worksheets or information systems that they use in production. However, upon implementing the procedure, it is likely that continual documentation will lead to better results as employees are likely to easily identify some flaws in their processes (ISO, 2001).

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However, in order to ensure smooth transitions, it is critical for these groups to focus more on systemic changes rather than immediate ones. Sometimes the ISO 9000 quality management system can identify so many flaws that it can be highly disruptive to act on them immediately. Consequently, quality managers should encourage employees to always look at the bigger picture when making any changes (Barnes, 2000).

Manufacturing processes tend to yield very substantial changes so there is a need to be more rigorous in manufacturing than in any other sector. A lot of the measures being done in this quality management system are quite quantifiable because the quality characteristics of the product are likely to be well known. For instance, if a manufacturing company specializes in the production of vegetable oil, some of the quality characteristics to be examined include the viscosity of the oil as well as the pour point.

In essence, the means required to implement quality are quite straight forward in the manufacturing sector because here emphasis would be on observing the identified quality characteristics, measuring those traits, and then testing them in order to ascertain that they conform or do not conform. Conversely, the same may not be true for the service sector. For example, in library services, it likely that employees may have a hard time documenting evidence owing to the fact that these individuals have an oral tradition.

Furthermore, most users keep claiming that ISO 9000 is more appropriate for the manufacturing sector and that most of the criteria applied may be quite complicated to apply within the services sector. The need for effective communication in the service industry makes the ISO 9000 system particularly tricky. Service production usually needs a lot of creativity and this is often impeded by the standardization process of the ISO 9000 system (Marcus & Naveh, 2004).

Implementation of the ISO 9000 system in both manufacturing and services also has a number of similarities between these organizations. For example, the problems identified in failure to implement this system lie in the fact that both types of sectors lack support from management and the right resources needed to get the quality system working (Henricks, 2005). On the other hand, the emphasis on continuous improvement is common to both service and industrial companies and so is consumer focus.

Similarities and difference in Baldridge theoretical approaches in manufacturing and service industries

In the manufacturing sector, most firms will implement Baldridge quality programs when faced with tight budgetary constraints. The need to lower costs is a persistent problem within the manufacturing sector and this often exerts a lot of pressure on the ability to deliver quality products. Such companies will be characterized by a need to give quarterly results to top managers on performance. On the other hand, Service-based companies may not be under too much pressure to cut costs. Instead, the emphasis is normally on meeting sales targets (NIST, 2010).

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Baldridge’s theoretical approaches do have certain commonalities in both manufacturing and service production. First of all, customer satisfaction and engagement are thoroughly emphasized in both types of businesses. In manufacturing organizations, companies are likely to focus on how product features, processes, and maintenance can be integrated in order to provide holistic improvements tailor-made to the customer’s requirement.

In service organizations, it is likely that companies can get consumer feedback and then integrate these into various parts of the process. The element of social responsibility is also common in the industrial and manufacturing sectors (Baldridge, 1994). The Baldridge program normally examines how a certain firm is relating to its community in addition to how this applies to their respective production processes. The focus on efficiency is another common element in manufacturing as well as in the service sector. For example, an automobile manufacturer that has implemented the Baldridge program is likely to easily identify bottlenecks in its production processes or sources of wastage.

This will translate into effective resource usage and proper time management. In the end, this company will be more efficient. On the other hand, a service provider such as a local council is likely to be efficient under the Baldridge program by reducing the time spent on organizing their paperwork such that more time can be dedicated to their core activities like property licensing.

A best practice case study in ISO 9000

In the manufacturing sector, a company that set the stage for greater things to come was Systems Company in 1996. This was a UK based firm that dealt with the manufacture of handling systems. The company decided to register for ISO 9000 certification because a number of key issues were disturbing them. First, the organization was interested in reinventing their personnel such that they could be committed to quality.

They also needed to change their equipment because this played an important role in determining the extent of quality delivery. The documentation levels needed to be altered because changes were variable (ISO technical committee, 2001). Getting feedback from consumers was also crucial to the success of this organization. It needed to have a sound system for recording complaints, addressing returns, and taking corrective action.

Lastly, the organization was in serious need of a management review that would look at the quality systems in the company. After the implementation of the ISO 9000 system, this organization witnessed changes in engineering where jobs began to be traced from the beginning to the design process and lastly to the manufacturing process. In actual manufacturing, management had to redefine its total approach. In the past, they often quantified their labor so that it would fit into their budget; however, the ISO 9000 system was able to show how this led to an increased focus on budget needs rather than consumer needs. It also caused management to leave out certain crucial variations.

The system also increased the level of documentation in this firm and also led to an emphasis on maintaining the right procedures. Furthermore, the firm took on an improvement approach to its system and this eventually translated to better quality management (Seddon, 2000).

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In the Baldridge theoretical approach, a manufacturing firm called Cadillac motor company won the Baldridge award in 1990. The company benefited from a range of advantages attuned to this quality program. First, it was able to result in greater teamwork among the employees. The firm has about seven hundred employees that came from marketing, engineering, and other sectors. They all came together and worked out ways of improving their underlying processes.

What was quite interesting in this organization was the fact that management now took the opinions of employees more seriously. The company would ask for contributions from members about long or short-term quality improvements and then include them in their business reports. Perhaps it was their planning processes that contributed to the success of this Baldridge program. They paid a lot of attention to the analysis of information and details in executing quality plans.

Additionally, this organization was able to create a quality culture. It did this by creating a series of teams dedicated to the quality process alone. For example, it included union leaders, plant managers, and other executives so that there would be a Divisional quality council. These members were to coordinate cross-functional teams of about six hundred workers in seven of their facilities. The company paid a lot of attention to the issue of training because the quality would not just be inborn in most of its workers.

The company set aside a criterion for training; no staff member was to receive less than eighty hours of training on quality goals and other related benefits. In the end, the company boasted of producing durable and reliable cars that either met or even exceeded their expectations. Furthermore, the Cadillac motor company reduced the number of corrosion problems in the firm from seventy-one percent to twenty-seven percent. It has also saved numerous resources in production and this has enabled it to offer greater warranty to its respective buyers. Customer satisfaction has also increased because of better quality


ISO 9000 is better suited to the manufacturing industry rather than the service industry because of its structural issues and documentation requirements. On the other hand, Baldridge’s theoretical approaches can be applied in both service and manufacturing industries with greater ease because of their flexibility.


NIST (2010). Baldridge national quality program. Web.

Baldridge, T. (1994). Baldridge award sets new standards for foodservice marketing success.

Marcus, A. & Naveh, E. (2004). When does ISO 9000 quality assurance lead to performance improvement. Transactions on engineering management, 51(4), 352-360.

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Henricks, M. (2005). ISO a Go go. Entrepreneur magazine.

Seddon, J. (2000). A brief history of ISO 9000. Minneapolis: Oak tree press.

Barnes, F. (2000). Good business sense is the key to confronting ISO 9000.

ISO (2001). Introduction to ISO. Web.

ISO technical committee (2001). Basic information on ISO 9000. Web.

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