The ISO 9000 family of standards, first issued in 1987, has been accepted as the worldwide standard for quality management systems, having more than one million companies, representing 178 countries, registered to it as of 2009. Companies implement this standard either voluntarily and proactively, or may be requested to do so by their customers, with the expectation that it will help to maintain, if not improve, the quality of the products/services that they provide. Most research efforts that have investigated the impact of ISO 9000 on product/service quality have used subjective data acquired from surveys or interviews of company employees or managers. For the small number of studies that have used actual objective product data, the products have represented a limited range of materials, technologies, and industries. The purpose of this investigation is to provide insights into the relationship between ISO 9000 conformance of suppliers and the quality of products they provide, within a procurement system of a manufacturer operating under contracts with the United States Department of Defense. To achieve this, chi-square tests of independence were performed to compare the receipt acceptance rate of material provided by ISO 9000-conforming suppliers to that of non-ISO 9000-conforming suppliers, for more than 46,000 receipts provided by almost 800 suppliers. Data subsets were analyzed to determine the quality impact of ISO 9000 conformance for several commodity groups, for manufacturers versus distributors, and for two material control levels. Results were mixed, but for the overall data set, and for almost half of the data subsets analyzed, the product quality of non-ISO 9000-conforming suppliers was significantly better than that of ISO 9001-conforming suppliers.
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