Why don’t managers and senior managers embrace ISO 9001 systems? Why do so many organizations provide only lip service to the requirements of their quality management systems?

The answer: “The HÄAGEN-DAZS® Ice Cream Problem.”

A presenter at a large conference held up a half gallon container of HÄAGEN-DAZS® French Vanilla, Ice Cream, and asked the audience, “What is this?” The answer of course was, “ice cream”. Actually, a very good ice cream. The presenter then held up a very small container of dog excrement, took a small spoon and put one spoonful into the ice cream. He then held up the container and asked the audience, “What is this?” The answer? “A bowl of dog excrement of course”.

The Lesson: If we allow just a small amount of unwanted or non-value added content into our systems and processes, then the whole system will be perceived as non-value added or worse.

Too many systems are developed without thought for creating processes that will work for the organization. How many times have we heard “We have to do it because ISO says so.” or “We have to do it to satisfy the auditor.”

Systems must be developed first and foremost to achieve benefit and competitive advantage for the organization. This takes management involvement and commitment not just management oversight.

Most managers, particularly senior managers aren’t even aware of the requirements, concepts and objectives of ISO based system requirements. As a result, systems are too often developed by the wrong people with little or no direction.

These systems are usually designed to make the job of administering them easy, rather than being focused on development of efficient, effective value added methods for achieving the organization’s goals and objectives.

As a result, too many of our organizations end up with a cap full of dog in their ice cream.