service industries, software development organizations, and the process industries. Currently, the standards are most often applied to business processes that directly affect the products and service provided by an organization. In the future, the scope of application will be expanded to all areas of enterprises, including finance, accounting, human resources, market research, and marketing.

BASIC PRINCIPLES

The ISO 9000 standards are based on three basic principles: processes affecting the quality of products and services must be documented; records of important decisions and related data must be archived; and when these first two steps are complied with, the product or service will enjoy continuing improvement. We now discuss each of these principles and discuss how adherences results in product and service improvement.

Documenting Processes Documentation often helps to discover important ad hoc processes that are inconsistently applied. This discovery then leads to changes in the process that results in their more consistent application, which, in turn, reduces the variability in the output of these processes.

Documenting processes also provides a better understanding of how an orga



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