History Of Documentation

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History of Documentation and Quality:

1.       The growing role of documentation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) also relates to management history.


2.       The International Standards Organization (ISO) developed in Europe but was influenced in the second half of the twentieth century by U.S. military standards.


3.       The goals of ISO included the development of standard ways that businesses across the world could use to document their practices.


4.       ISO standards for documenting business practices, including “ISO 9000: 1994” and “ISO 9000: 2000” document series aimed to reduce variation in production. ISO 9000: 1994 emphasized addressing 20 points and the basic guideline “Do what you say and say what you do.”


5.       In other words, much emphasis was placed on whether or not the company actually used its documented policies, rather than on the content of those policies.


6.       ISO 9000:2000 added more requirements for generating models to support and improve business subsystems. Companies being accredited pay credentialed auditors to check that they are in compliance at regular intervals.


7.       The results include operating manuals at many accredited institutions that reflect truthfully, in some detail, how the business is being run.


a.       Perceived benefits of ISO accreditation include:

b.      Reducing quality problems of all types through standardization of practices, and

c.       Facilitating training when employees switch jobs or leave organizations. Standardization can help by forcing people to learn from each other and to agree on a single approach for performing a certain task.


8.       ISO documentation also discourages engineers from constantly tinkering with the design or process.


9.       Another perceived benefit of ISO documentation relates to the continuing trend of companies outsourcing work formerly done in-house. This trend was also influenced by Toyota.


10.   In the 1980s researchers noticed that Toyota trusted its suppliers with much more of the design work than U.S. car makers did, and saved a great deal of money as a result.


11.   Similar apparent successes with these methods followed at Chrysler and elsewhere, which further encouraged original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to increase outsourcing.


12.   The OEMs have now become relatively dependent on their “supply chain” for quality and need some way to assure intelligent business practices are being used by suppliers. While ISO and other documentation and standardization can eliminate sources of variation, the associated “red tape” and other restrictive company policies can also, of course, sometimes stifle creativity and cost money.


13.   Some authors have responded by urging careful selection of employees and a “culture of discipline” (Collins 2001). Collins suggests that extensive documentation can, in some cases, be unnecessary because it is only helpful in the case of a few problem employees who might not fit into an organization.