TC 176 Chair Dr. Gary Cort has issued a formal response to Oxebridge’s public call for a temporary halt in the development of ISO 9001:2015, to give time to consider the views of key industries and stakeholders. Dr. Cort’s response is reprinted in its entirety here, without comment:

Dear colleague:

On April 23 of this year, Mr. Christopher Paris sent an email to many of you with a Public Call for Temporary Cessation of Work on the Development of ISO 9001:2015 attached. Many of you have since received this document through other channels or have received follow-on documents from Mr. Paris.

As a courtesy, Mr. Paris shared a draft of this document with me prior to distributing it, and with his permission I shared a copy with the ISO/TC 176 SC2 leaders responsible for the ongoing development of ISO 9001. Although Mr. Paris had been officially advised that the appropriate way to submit comments such as these is through an ISO/TC 176 P-member body, he chose to send it through alternative, unofficial channels.

To my chagrin Mr. Paris suggested in his cover email an implicit endorsement by me of the points he raises in the “Public Call…” This is categorically not the case. Mr. Paris invoked my name without my permission or prior knowledge, and his implication that I support his position does not represent my views. The leadership of ISO/TC 176 SC2 continues to enjoy my complete confidence and support in its efforts to develop the next revision of ISO 9001 in a manner consistent with the proven, consensus-based process reflected in the ISO Directives. To imply otherwise is an affront to this process and to all of the committed experts who dedicate their knowledge, experience, and time to this important effort.

While it is not my purpose to discuss Mr. Paris’ concerns in this email, I feel it is important to point out several errors of fact in his “Public Call…” First of all, Mr. Paris claims that current work on the eight Quality Principles of ISO 9000 has not completed and that subsequent versions of ISO 9001 are at risk as a result. This is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. I personally appointed a task group at our plenary meeting in November 2010 to review the Quality Principles and charged them explicitly with identifying any obsolete Principles that needed to be eliminated, new Principles that needed to be added, or significant modifications required to existing Principles. The task group conducted an in-depth review of the Principles and reported to the 2011 plenary meeting that after thorough review, their recommendation was to retain the Quality Principles in their current state. Although some minor editorial changes were recommended to some of the Principles to im prove clarity and reflect current vocabulary, the eight Quality Principles remain unchanged. While it is true that this editorial work has not been finalized, the implication that the Quality Principles are in flux and pose a risk to ongoing ISO 9001 development is, at best, misinformed.

Based on his own data, Mr. Paris’ assertion of declining acceptance of ISO 9001 is also fundamentally flawed. He chooses to focus on declining growth rates as evidence of declining acceptance, yet this is a deceptively misleading metric. Considering his chart on the China Adoption Rate — a chart which purports to indicate a collapse of interest in ISO 9001, it is easy to see how misleading this data is. The chart represents the rate of growth, not the actual growth itself. Ignoring the explosive growth that occurred before 1997 (as ISO 9001 was introduced into a completely new market in China), the growth rate in China has been between 100% and 200% ever since. This means that in every year since 1997, the number of ISO 9001 registrations has either doubled or tripled over the year before.

In fact this represents incredible growth — growth that any purveyor of a mature product, regardless of market or industry, would consider wildly successful. ISO 9001 has not only achieved this phenomenal level of actual growth, it has sustained it over a period of 14 years to date, with no indication that future years will be any different. While I am confident that Mr. Paris would never deliberately distort an analysis to support his position, these results seem to call into question his ability to draw sensible and valid conclusions from objective data.

In closing I want to go on the record stating that Mr. Paris’ concerns warrant the same consideration that any other legitimate comments would be accorded through the accepted ISO process that has served the international community so well for over six decades. However, to demand special treatment for one’s issues or to attempt to disrupt development subverts this process and is completely counter to the ISO ideals of democratic, consensus-based standards development. I strongly urge Mr. Paris to bring his concerns to the table through his national body, at which point these issues will be considered on their merits — as are all of the other comments submitted through our member national bodies.

In conclusion, I want to reiterate my unwavering support for, and confidence in, the ISO 9000 family of standards and everyone who works on them. I further believe that our standards, our processes, and our people are all made stronger through constructive challenges, and I call on anyone who has suggestions, concerns, or other feedback on the ISO 9001content or development process to engage the established ISO processes to bring these issues forward.

Please feel free to share this email as you see fit.

Respectfully,

Gary Cort
Chair, ISO/TC 176, Quality Management and Quality Assurance
May 24, 2013

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