ISO Standards – The backlash.

I want to make it clear that I am not against ISO standards in themselves as I think they are, in general, good at raising levels of quality in many organisations. This Blog is meant to expose bad behaviour of consultants who are ISO Preachers, ISO Bullies, ISO Pretenders or see ISO standards as a cash cow.

A message to ISO Consultants: Can you spot yourself?

ISO Standards – A new Religion

Some ISO standards such as ISO 9001 “Quality”, IMG_2994ISO 14001 “Environment”, ISO 31000 “Risk” and ISO 55000 “Asset Management” have become the new religions with their own preachers, evangelists, disciples, sinners.





Some consultants are so committed to the words of the standard that they regard everything that is not in the text as heresy. Any deviation in process, or supporting documents or organisational roles is treated as something to be converted to the “Way of the Standard”.

IMG_2995Some consultants can be Intellectual-Bullies, belittleing existing practices and using their ability to wheedle their way into the top levels of the organisation and persuade senior management of the need to change.

Dont’ forget: “Change” and “Chaos” means income to consultants to consultants

ISO Standards are written by Consultants to provide work for Consultants.


There are whole consultancy agencies that are geared up to providing support for one particular standard. They would not exist if ISO did not exist. Not only in implementing change but providing training, documentation and auditing:




ISO accreditation inspectors and auditors are a particularly strange breed. The most boring job in the world seems to attract people who find delight in negativity

The ISO Victim

IMG_2985But there are victims in all this. Large companies and governmental agencies who insist on small suppliers having ISO Policies and accreditation in place are perpetuating a myth that ISO standards are applicable for any size of company. But in reality, most small companies become ISO compliant to tick a box in order to get work. It serves no benefit to them otherwise.

IMG_2990There is no doubt that any new version of ISO or any new chapter published provides additional work for consultants and additional pain on their victims.





As I have said before ISO standards are designed and written by the same consultants who then get income from clients confused by what they have to do to comply.

So ISO standards are meant to be vague and confusing. If they were straightforward and written nan easy to understand language, it would not provide the necessary income stream

For those of you who have read my other posts or my booklets on Nuclear Safety, you will know that one of the traits of a nuclear safety culture is a Questioning attitude so i leave this blog with a little thought:

ISO 9001 must be a quality standard. After all, it took 9000 iterations to get it right.






  1. tj hessmon

    Somewhere along the way we lost track of what the purpose of ISO 9001 was initially. It was a set of supplier requirements which replaced the myriad of individual supplier requirements which were causing conflict and consternation within manufacturing (too many conflicting requirements from manufacturing customers).

    QMS requirements are nothing more than the meeting of the expectations of customers and interested parties employing the ideals of Deming (PDCA), focusing upon an organizations product/process variation, ranking that variation by severity, and applying controls to reduce the occurrence of variation for those circumstances over which an organization has influence and or control.

    Of course, maybe focusing upon what the Customer expects and how to continually deliver that expectation without fail, is too simplistic an idea for some holding vast and multiple degrees from educational institutions.

    I assume that is why they put those degrees to work and concocted the “risk-based thinking” contrivance known as ISO 9001:2015, the single most confusing and convoluted collection of double speak and outright nonsense I have ever encountered. They could have just as easily stated … rely upon the ideals of the Young Hegelian’s… they would never lead you astray in your quest for “Quality”

    Since when did a single interested party exist in any business organization without the
    Customer? For without the customer there is no business and therefore no necessity for any interested parties, therefore the two are never the same, neither are they equal players, nor should they ever be. This is only one example of how the Socialists politic became the foundation of the current ISO 9001 standard and why it continues to be a recipe for failure.

  2. Bob Miller

    As an ISO 9001 auditor and consultant, I focus on QMS effectiveness, and applying the standard in a logical, common sense approach. Risk based thinking allows the organization to prioritize all of their activities from vendor control, quoting and operations on those areas that pose the most risk, and reduce controls over those areas that pose little risk.

    Interested parties are not devoid of the customer, they are the parties that allow us to serve the customer. What risks do they pose to prevent us from serving the customer? That could be vendors of poor quality or singes source, whose failure would impact the customer. Or it could be an oversight agency, that would fine or close an operation of not run under proper control.

    Keeping in mind a Deming / Juran / Goldratt mindset helps keep the focus on practical, effective controls. While some consultants and auditors may muddy the water, interpretation through the quality lens, still yields a healthy, robust QMS.

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