Benefits of ISO 9001 for Service Sector

A practical method for helping service sector companies implement ISO 9001:2000 quality management systems, particularly in developing countries, has been published by ISO and the International Trade Centre (ITC).

ISO 9001:2000: A Workbook for Service Organizations is designed to make it easier for service providers to achieve the benefits, such as increased efficiency and effectiveness, of implementing ISO 9001:2000.

According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the value of world trade in commercial services increased in 2004 by 16% to $2.1 trillion. The cross-border trade in services includes business process outsourcing and offshoring, which offers opportunities for developing countries in particular.

One way that organizations in developing countries can increase their market share in such opportunities is by ensuring competitiveness through the implementation of a quality management system based on ISO 9001:2000.

The ISO/ITC workbook targets service organizations with less than 20 employees, such as accountants, architects, engineers, lawyers, and management consultants. Very practical in its approach, it focuses on the discussions, decisions, and steps that make up a program to implement an effective quality management system.

With the aid of questions and checklists, it guides the service company manager through the following stages: 1) making a decision to implement ISO 9001:2000; 2) planning an approach, 3) designing the quality management system, and 4) managing documentation.

For organizations that wish to go further and have their quality management system audited and certified by an independent body, there are also chapters on getting certified and after certification. One of its appendices provides tips on working with external consultants.

Although developed with service enterprises in developing countries in mind, the hands-on approach of the workbook also has something to offer service providers in developed countries. The workbook is available for $51.00 at the ANSI eStandards Store.