ISO Quality Standards -  An overview 

What are standards?

Standards are documented agreements containing technical specifications or other very precise criteria to be used consistently as rules, guidelines, or definitions of characteristics, to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.

A good example is the format of the credit cards, phone cards, and "smart" cards used around the world. The format is derived from an ISO International Standard which defines such features as an optimal thickness (0,76 mm), ensuring that the cards can be used globally.

International Standards thus contribute to making life simpler, and to increasing the reliability and effectiveness of the goods and services we use.

What is ISO?  

Many people question that the letters: ISO and the full title: International Organisation for Standardisation do not relate. This is because it is not an acronym but a word derived from the Greek isos, meaning "equal”. This means that this short form of the organization’s name is the same in every language and country.  

Founded in 1947 and based in Geneva, Switzerland, ISO promotes the international harmonization and development of manufacturing, product and communications standards The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a non-governmental worldwide federation of national standards bodies from more than 140 countries, one from each country. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity.  

ISO's work results in international harmonised agreements that are published as International Standards and has concluded, through its Technical Committees, more than 8,000 internationally accepted standards.  

Why are international standards needed?

The existence of non-harmonized standards for similar technologies in different countries or regions has resulted in "technical barriers to trade". Commerce and industry have long agreed the need for consistent world standards to assist the international trading process. This need was the origin of ISO.

International standardization is now well etablished for many technologies such as information processing and communications, textiles, packaging, distribution of goods, energy production and utilization, shipbuilding, banking and financial services. The list continues to grow because of :

  • worldwide progress in trade liberalization

  • interpenetration of sectors

  • worldwide communications systems

  • global standards for emerging technologies

  • development of countries 

ISO certification confers competitive advantage  

Standardization facilitates trade, exchange and technology transfer through:

  • enhanced product quality and reliability at a reasonable price;

  • improved health, safety and environmental protection, and reduction of waste;

  • enhanced customer satisfaction;

  • greater compatibility and interoperability of goods and services;

  • simplification for improved usability;

  • reduction in the number of models, and thus reduction in costs;

  • increased distribution efficiency, and ease of maintenance.  

Customers and Users have more confidence in products and services that conform to International Standards. Assurance of conformity can be provided by manufacturers' declarations, or by audits carried out by independent bodies. Certification of excellence in any area confers recognition and status. Thousands of businesses are implementing ISO 9000 standards which provide a framework for Quality Management and quality assurance. The ISO 14000 series provides a similar framework for Environmental Management, ISO 17799 addresses Information Security and OHSAS 18000 deals with Occupational Health & Safety.  

Benefits which can be gained from Certification include :  

  • Improved customer service

  • Improved productivity and staff motivation

  • Cost reductions in certain areas

  • Improved work planning & control

  • Integrated maintenance of systems through objective appraisal    

MCG and International Standards

The global nature of MCG business requires a continuous commitment to standards of excellence in all fields. It is well recognised in Business Management Consultancy projects that MCG consultants are very experienced and qualified in their respective disciplines, and in assisting organizations to adhere to international standards of excellence in an increasingly competitive world.  

MCG support a group of consultants qualified in specific areas to advise and assist companies to achieve certification in the areas related to their business needs. They are actively involved in providing consulting and training services for the application of standards in quality assurance systems, technical assistance to businesses to achieve the standards for certification, and workshops on client involvement in standardization. MCG consultants work with organisations to develop unique systems and associated documentation based on their specific operations and strategic stakeholder driven goals. The specific areas are:

Quality Management Systems (QMS)                  

ISO 9000 Series  

Environmental Management Systems (EMS)         

ISO 14000 Series  

Information Security Management Systems (ISMS)

ISO 17799 Series    

Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems

OHSAS 18000 Series