TQM is infinitely variable and adaptable. Although originally applied to manufacturing operations, and for a number of years only used in that area, TQM is now becoming recognised as a generic
management tool, just as applicable in service and public sector organisations. There are a number of evolutionary strands, with different sectors creating their own versions from the common ancestor.
ISO 9000 is the International Organization for Standardization. It is made up of national standards institutes from countries large and small, industrialized and developing, in all regions of the world.
ISO 9000 develops voluntary technical standards which add value to all types of business operations. They contribute to making the development, manufacturing and supply of products and services more efficient, safer and cleaner. They make trade between countries easier and fairer. ISO standards also serve to safeguard consumers and users in general of products and services -- and to make their lives simpler.
ISO 9000 develops only those standards which are required by the market. This work is carried out by experts on loan from the industrial, technical and business sectors which have asked for the standards, and which subsequently put them to use.
These experts may be joined by others with relevant knowledge, such as representatives of government agencies and testing laboratories. Published under the designation of International Standards, ISO standards represent an international consensus on the "state of the art" in the technology concerned.