Thesis for the Degree of Doctor of Technology


Year 1996
Antero Ollila

Quality Improvements through ISO 9000 Standards

Abstract. Quality has become one of the basic means of competition. Among different quality approaches ISO 9000 quality standards have consistently increased their popularity especially in Europe. Several doctrines of quality exist and it is unclear, if companies can actually improve their quality by applying ISO 9000 standards.

The research objectives of the present study were to determine which types of quality improvement have been achieved in those companies using certified ISO 9000 quality systems, and to test the hypothesis that these companies could be classified into three different groups.

The target companies were selected using the following criteria: - The companies must have possessed officially certified ISO 9001 or 9002 certificates at least one year prior to the beginning of the study (March 1994).

- The companies selected must not have been in the consumer business but be of business types having an essential customer base in domestic markets.

- The companies were grouped into three categories: service, product, and product- service companies. The selection of companies in each group was based on random sampling

The methods used to evaluate the quality impacts of ISO 9000 standards and the classification of companies included. - The formulation of customer satisfaction questionnaires into three different categories based on the company type.

- The principle of perceived quality as a measure o customer satisfaction.

- The customer satisfaction surveys of the target companies.

- The statistical analysis of customer satisfaction surveys.

- The statistical analysis of key figures of the target companies.

The scientific methods applied included statistical, causal and constructual analyses. The total number of companies studied was 31. The number of acceptable questionnaires received was 801, representing a 30.6 % rate of return. The main results of the present study were:

- ISO 9000 certification has improved the quality perceived by customers

- The three categories of business-to-business companies - product, product-service, and service - were approved by target companies and could describe the essential features of companies and revealed different results in analyses.

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