24 August 2013

ISO9001:2000 for Small Business by Ray Tricker

My books arrive from Amazon.  When I get a new business book, I like to read it in its entirety and check out everything in it and then distill it down to the bits that interest me.  I think this comes from dealing with software.  I used to read the entire manual or help system for each bit of software so I knew everything that it was (supposedly) able to do even if I didn’t know exactly how to make it do it.  These two books  I have bought from Amazon are going to get the same treatment.

After half an hour looking at Ray Tricker’s book I am agog.  His book is making the subject matter more confusing rather than simplifying it.  I find chapter titles such as “Interoperability of Quality Management Systems” dinstinclty demotivating.

I read on.  The book goes though the standard clause by clause and talks in general terms about what most companies should do but it is not very precise about how they should do it.

I know this book is a best seller on Amazon but to me the language is far too close to that of the standard itself.  For example it explains that “Quality Assurance personnel are members of the organisation judged competent to carry out quality assurance duties”.

I know that a sentence like this as a stand alone makes sense but what it tells you is self evident.  If three of four sentences of this type are packed into the same paragraph then I find myself going nowhere.  Tell me something I don’t know or something that isn’t obvious.  Please distill it down.  Don’t make it so complex and wordy that I can’t make head or tail of it.  It’s just exhausting.

It’s beginning to dawn on me that maybe that is what this industry is about.  The consultants, auditors and others keep things deliberately complicated so they can bamboozle customers and charge lots of money for providing some very simple solutions – like Peter of FXXP’s forms and procedures.  (Peter himself  though is not a bamboozler.)

It reminds me of many people’s attitudes to accountants.  People who don’t understand accounts are so deferential to accountants.  As soon as an accountant mentions a word like ‘debit’ or ‘credit’ , his client often switches off.  The client can’t tell when the account is talking a load of baloney and when he’s not.  The accountant sits there uses lots of long words, is able to cover up bits he doesn’t know and then sends a nice fat invoice afterwards.  In my role as management consultant, I have often helped clients in these kind of situations.

Ray Tricker provides something that I am really interested in getting hold of – an example Quality Management Manual for an SME.   However, Ray Tricker’s version is a whopping  160 sides long.  Sovereign Certifcation’s was more like 20 sides.  How can I possibly wade through this lot?

Right now I am very frustrated and disappointed.  This book is a best seller – probably because it’s the only one on the subject.  Maybe its useful to some management academics really into the theory and MBAs etc.  For me it’s just compounded the situation.  Its  saving grace is the 5 page appendix listing the minimum documents required by standard.  This is useful – at this stage worth the £40 I paid for the book.

It also says within the book that purchasers of it can buy word versions of some of the documentation featured within a book on a CD.  I visit the website (http://www.herne.org.uk/).  The amateurish design of the site does not instill confidence.

I send an email enquiring about the CD.

Based on notes from my diary and other records 

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