The International Organization for Standardization (ISO; www.iso.org
) is a network of national standards bodies (ISO member bodies) that develops and publishes voluntary international standards. Through their ISO membership, these national standards bodies collaborate through a global consensus process to develop international standards that ensure products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. The ISO 9000 series of standards are among the most notable of these international standards. The aim of the ISO 9000 standards is to address various aspects of quality management. The standards provide guidance and tools to companies and organizations who want to ensure products and services consistently achieve customerís requirements and confidence and that quality is consistently improved.
The United States has input into this development process through membership in ISO via the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). This input is channeled through a Technical Advisory Group (TAG). The American Society for Quality (ASQ) administers, on behalf of ANSI, the U.S. TAG to the ISO Technical Committee 176 (ISO/TC176). Qualified U.S. experts participate in the meetings where these documents are drafted. ISO/TC176 was formed in 1979 to harmonize the increasing international activity in quality management and quality assurance standards. The development of the ISO 9000 series standards was the result of this international harmonization process fostered by ISO/TC176.
The LPS Program has been appointed to the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC176 to represent the interests of the U.S. agricultural industry in the development of international quality management and assurance standards.
The LPS Program also is continuing its investment in ISO 9000 training of its employees, most specifically in RABQSA-Certified ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training, to ensure its capability to provide comprehensive audit procedures and technical assistance to U.S. companies that wish to incorporate ISO 9000 quality system management and assurance into their manufacturing processes.