The reader should bear in mind that the following comparison is subject to differences in method which make direct comparison difficult in some circumstances. We have worked from the Surrey report and have not had access to their raw data. The Surrey report is more limited in its scope (ie the range of questions asked) and uses different scales.

Vanguard included data on the following areas not covered by Surrey:

Costs involved



What needed to change

Interpretation of the Standard

Measurement / implementation

Value to the organisation

Opinion / perception data

The Surrey results were reported as percentages ‘yes’ and ‘no’; Vanguard used a scaled response (1 to 7).

Reasons for registration

The Surrey results reflect the same feeling of ‘obligation’ that Vanguard found (although their

commentary does not highlight this) – 81% of companies say they decided to obtain registration to stay in business / to be considered for tenders.

Benefits of registration

It appears that the Surrey data are directly comparable with Vanguard’s regarding benefits of registration (although the Vanguard research looks at both improvement and worsening as a result of ISO 9000 registration, the Surrey research reports improvements only).

Surrey reports the following benefits:

49% improved market share

69% able to stay in business / not excluded from tenders

63% public relations / advertising / marketing benefits

Vanguard report the following (comparable) changes:

31.1% say market share has improved

33.4% say number of new customers has improved

Although the figures are illustrated in the report, Surrey does not draw attention to these lower rated items:

12% report improved efficiency / less wastage.

9% report increased customer satisfaction.

14% report greater discipline / order.

4% report more quality aware / improved quality.

The benefits section in the Surrey report does not include (reduction in) costs. Costs appear in the disappointments section. Items measured differ for disappointments and benefits

(Vanguard measured all items for improvement versus worsening). The Surrey report includes one short paragraph towards the end entitled ‘disappointments with certification’.

Benefits of installing a Quality Management System

Five of the eight benefits reported in the Surrey research are directly comparable to the Vanguard data:
Improved efficiency / productivity

Surrey – 69%, Vanguard – 69%

Reduced waste

Surrey – 53%, Vanguard – 37%

Improved customer service

Surrey – 73%, Vanguard – 49%

Reduced costs

Surrey – 40%, Vanguard – 25%

Improved staff motivation

Surrey – 50%, Vanguard – 31%

The Vanguard and Surrey results are broadly similar. When one takes into account the problems of reliability and validity of opinion research amongst those who have an emotional investment in ISO 9000 registration, these results ought to cause alarm. They are equivocal about the Standard’s contribution to say the least.