ISO 9001 Certifications Surpass 1 Million

More than 28,000 certifications to the international quality management standard have been issued in the United States.

If your manufacturing plant or company is ISO 9001 certified, you are one in a million. Or more accurately, you are one in more than a million, according to recently released figures.

ISO 9001, the family of standards for quality management, reached a milestone in 2009. The cumulative number of certifications issued for these global standards surpassed the 1 million mark in 2009, an 8% increase in ISO 9001 certificates.

Approximately 1.1 million certifications had been issued in 178 countries and economies by years end 2009, according to the International Organization for Standardization, the Geneva-based organization that develops and publishes international standards. It is comprised of the national standards institutes of 163 countries.

The organization recently released its 2009 ISO survey highlights, which include data not only for ISO 9001, but also for additional families of standards.

Controversy surrounds ISO 9001 standard. Critics point out that certification doesnt guarantee a quality end product; it simply guarantees that the formal business processes outlined by the standard are being followed. Nevertheless, in the introduction to its annual highlights, ISO noted that the 8% increase in ISO 9001 certifications in 2009, which followed a 3% increase in 2008, confirms the importance of ISO 9001 in the global supply chains and as the pioneering model on which subsequent management system standards have been built and flourish.

Annual growth in certifications in 2009 was greatest in the Far East, which increased by 12%. North America, on the other hand, experienced a 12% decline in its annual growth in 2009, following growth of 1% in the previous year.

With 28,935, the United States ranked No. 9 among the top 10 countries for ISO 9001 certificates in 2009.

In other standards data:

ISO 14001: 2004 -- The number of certificates issued for environmental management systems grew by 18% in 2009. In absolute numbers, the number of certificates issued was 34,334 in 2009. More than 223,000 have been issued overall. Again, the United States ranked No. 9 (with 5,225) among countries based on the total number of ISO 14001 certificates issued.

ISO/TS 16949 -- Cumulative for the 2002 and 2009 editions, some 41,240 certifications had been issued to suppliers in the automotive sector by December 2009. Annual growth overall in 2009 was 5%. However, in North America the annual growth rate declined by 8%.

ISO/TS 13485:2003 -- Some 16,000 certificates for the medical device sector had been issued by the end of December 2009 in 90 countries and economies, a growth rate of 24% over 2008.

In other ISO news, Nov. 1 marked the launch of ISO 26000:2010, which provides guidance to both business and public sector organizations on social responsibility.

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