[TowerTalk] ISO9000 was Re: HyGain Antenna Quality control issues: Let's Put MFJ in Perspective

jimlux jimlux at earthlink.net
Tue Apr 3 09:39:15 EDT 2018

On 4/2/18 10:09 PM, Charles Farr wrote:
> In all this palaver I haven't seen anything mentioned about ISO9000. 
> This process and quality control system at one time was considered 
> critical for world market companies. I've bee out of the workplace for 
> 10 years, so I don't have a current perception, but I recall that we 
> couldn't even market, much less sell our products without the ISO9000 
> certification. Has something changed?
For some business to business sales, ISO 9001 or AS9001 or similar, is 
useful. Generically, they're referrred to as "Quality Management 
Systems" or QMS.
Interestingly, a good portion of the suppliers to the cube-sat industry 
do not have a QMS - which raises problems when we, at JPL, want to buy 
something for a flight project - since we have a rule that "Commodities 
for flight projects shall be acquired only from suppliers with an 
approved QMS"  - so we write waivers.

  For sales to consumers, nobody cares.  And if you ARE a consumer, and 
they happen to be ISO 9000, what that might mean is that they have a 
defined customer service process that reads like this:

1) Receive customer inquiry about defect
2) Dispose of inquiry without reading or scanning
3) Log disposal in "discarded customer inquiry log"

These various certifications are mostly about "say what you do, do what 
you say, provide artifacts to prove it".  And sometimes "what they do" 
is nothing.

MFJ could have a perfectly reasonable QMS that specifically doesn't 
require inspection of shipped goods or functional testing. You, as a 
buyer may review their QMS and say "well, that's not good enough for us" 
and negotiate for additional screening or inspection, and MFJ may or may 
not be interested in providing such an additional service.

There are also a variety of certifications that sound good in theory, 
but in practice are a revenue source for certification and audit 
organizations. A couple years ago, I ran across a good machine shop that 
didn't have NADCAP (National Aerospace and Defense Contractors 
Accreditation Program) certification.  In the process of getting the 
waiver I found that the reason why they flunked their certification was 
that they didn't have "No Smoking" signs posted in the shop floor as 
required by the certifier.  Inasmuch as we're in California, where for 
the most part, smoking in a business has been illegal for 10 or more 
years, they viewed the sign requirement as worthless and decided that 
they could get by very well without NADCAP, thank you very much.

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