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Iso 9000 - Qualidade

Qualidade

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ISO ISO 9000 9000 Certification Certification - Survey Purchasers’ perceptions of their suppliers ISO 9000 Certification Purchasers’ perceptions of their suppliers 03 Contents Contents Foreword 07 Introduction 09 1. Abstract 11 2. Survey Characteristics 13 3. Survey Results 16 4. Conclusions 41 05 Foreword The management of a complex system with multiple organizations and their clients such as the Brazilian Conformity Assessment System (SBAC) requires special attention regarding its credibility in the eyes of the interested parties. Consequently, the National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (Inmetro), in association with the Brazilian Quality Committee (CB-25) of the Brazilian Association for Technical Standards (ABNT), decided to follow up the impacts and results of Quality Management Systems certifications based on the ABNT NBR ISO 9001 standard. As the most significant certification programme within the Brazilian Conformity Assessment System, the choice is a suitable means of assessing the credibility of the certifications granted around the country. Surveys focused on the satisfaction of certified organizations is routinely performed already, with encouraging results. However, how satisfied are the clients that acquire products and services supplied by these certified companies? Do they really prefer to buy from certified suppliers? This is the first survey ever performed encompassing both organizations certified to ABNT NBR ISO 9001 and non-certified companies. As to the relationship buyersupplier, the survey indicates a greater level of satisfaction in respect of the certified companies, when compared to the non-certified companies. Key findings from the survey include: a) 3/4 of corporate buyers evaluate the intrinsic quality of products manufactured by certified suppliers as better, and 1/4 of corporate buyers state that they see no difference at all. b) 2/3 of corporate buyers evaluate the customer service quality of the certified suppliers as better, whereas the remaining 1/3 of corporate buyers state that they see no difference. c) more than 75% of corporate buyers evaluate the handling of complaints performed by certified suppliers as better than that of non-certified suppliers. Even the non-certified companies (59.4%) admit that the handling of complaints by their certified suppliers is better. 07 Equally important are the opportunities for actions of improvement inferred from the results obtained. In this sense, it is worth mentioning that: a) The equivalence of results among the groups of micro and small companies, non-certified companies and commercial companies indicates a high percentage of micro and small companies that still do not hold the ISO 9000 certification. This indicates the need for implementation of a technological structure accessible to micro and small companies in general and also to companies from the commercial sector. b) A low demand for suppliers to be ISO 9000 certified, even among certified companies. This result indicates the need for a more detailed study on the real influence of the ISO 9000 certification on buyers` confidence that the supplier will meet the requirements. c) The improper use of ISO 9000 certification as an advertising tool may decrease confidence in its effectiveness. This possibility requires a very strong posture from the certification bodies in verifying, during their assessments, whether the QMS is really operating effectively and whether the mark of conformity is being properly used. Other aspects of the companies' policies for purchasing and receiving have also been surveyed. The challenge of providing credibility to a Conformity Assessment System is an everdemanding task. In this sense, comments and suggestions for improvement will be most welcome. Alfredo Carlos Orphão Lobo Director of the Quality Directorate Inmetro 08 Introduction The Brazilian Conformity Assessment Committee - CBAC, by means of Inmetro, the National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality, carries on the programme for the continuous improvement of the Conformity Assessment process in Brazil. In order to define its actions, it continually verifies how the market evaluates the implementation of quality management systems (QMS) and respective certifications. Seeking to verify the value of management standards and their respective conformity assessment activities in the continuous improvement of the management of Brazilian companies, Inmetro has been developing several mechanisms, since 2003, in association with the Brazilian Quality Committee (CB25) of ABNT. These include: 1) Meetings for reviewing the various processes that affect the credibility of management system certification, including issues such as the competence of assessment personnel and their professional registration, the contracting of certification bodies, the accreditation of certification bodies, the value added by the conformity assessment process, and the effectiveness of the conformity assessment process. 2) Meetings with certification bodies and assessors to clarify and harmonize the interpretation of requirements contained in the standards. 3) Performance of surveys to evaluate the contribution of quality assessment systems to certified companies. Previous surveys have been conducted among ISO 9000 certified companies, aimed at evaluating the influence of the implementation of quality management systems and respective conformity assessments in the improvement of the operational and financial performance of these companies. In a broader approach, the current survey encompasses the whole population of Brazilian companies, certified or not. A sample of 5.909 companies has been taken from this population, with a response rate of 12.25%. The main objective is to gather information on the internal procedures used by Brazilian companies when purchasing products and services and their comparative perception as to the performance and quality of products and services offered by their suppliers, with or without ISO 9000 certification. 09 1. Abstract 1.1 PURPOSE OF THE SURVEY This survey has the purpose of obtaining from ISO 9000 certified companies and non-certified companies of any size and sector of activity, information on: Ø the aspects considered, by the company, in the course of its buying process. Ø the perception of the company, when buying products or services, as to the performance of its ISO 9001 certified suppliers, when compared to others that do not hold such certification. The sample selected for this survey is an attempt to reflect the Brazilian market, concerning company size and sector of activity. 1.2 ASPECTS SURVEYED A. Aspects considered by the company in the course of its purchasing process: a.1 - major parameters considered when deciding to buy. a.2 - type of technical information provided by the company during the purchasing process. a.3 - methods used by the company to select suppliers. a.4 - the decision to develop or not a list of approved suppliers. a.5 - method used by the company to verify the conformity of the purchased product. 11 B. The company's perception of the performance of its suppliers. Initially companies were requested to inform whether they had already used suppliers with ISO 9000 Certification. Those that responded affirmatively were requested to evaluate the performance of their ISO 9000 certified suppliers when compared to their non-certified suppliers, considering the following: b.1 intrinsic quality of the product. b.2 price of the product. b.3 quality of customer service. b.4 delivery time. b.5 the handling of complaints. B.6 the image of the supplier. 12 2. Survey characteristics 2.1 SURVEY METHODOLOGY Ø Type: Quantitative survey performed by means of phone interviews (400), Internet (2.630) and mail (2.879). Ø Target population: ISO 9001 certified and non-certified companies of any size from the industrial, commercial and service sectors. Ø Sample size: 5.909 companies. Ø Sampling method: simple random Ø Probability of error: 3.9% for p=50%, 2.9% for p=80% and confidence coefficient of 95%. 2.2 REGIONAL DISTRIBUTION OF THE COMPANIES SURVEYED States surveyed: Ø Northern Region: AC, AM, AP, PA, RO, RR, TO Ø Northeastern Region: AL, BA, RN, MA, PB, SE, PE, PI, CE Ø Southern Region: RS, SC, PR Ø Southeastern Region: RJ, SP, ES, MG Ø West Central Region: GO, MT, MS, DF Northern 3,1 8,4 Northeastern Southeastern 61,5 22,9 Southern Central Western 4,1 Values in % 13 2.3 PROFILE OF RESPONDENT COMPANIES Size Micro/ Small 66,7% Medium 21,1% Large 12,2% ISO 9000 Certification Non certified 55,7% Certified 44,3% Sector of activity Commercial 21% Service 39% Industrial 40% 15 3. Survey results 3.1 ASPECTS CONSIDERED BY THE COMPANY IN THE COURSE OF ITS PURCHASING PROCESS This part of the survey takes into account multiple responses. 3.1.1 What are the major parameters considered when deciding to buy? Obs: MSC - Micro/Small Companies Size MSC (%) Parameters Medium (%) Large (%) Quality of product 83,2 78,4 75,0 Delivery time 55,9 35,3 38,6 Image of supplier 30,6 20,3 14,8 Price of product 31,7 39,2 45,5 Quality of customer service 34,0 25,5 20,5 ISO 9000 Certification Certified (%) Parameters Non-certified (%) Quality of product 79,8 82,4 Delivery time 31,8 63,5 Image of supplier 16,8 34,2 Price of product 34,9 35,0 Quality of customer service 20,9 38,2 Sector of activity Industrial (%) Parameters Commercial (%) Service (%) Quality of product 84,1 89,3 74,0 Delivery time 46,0 72,0 41,1 Image of supplier 24,9 40,0 21,1 Price of product Pr 35,3 34,0 35,1 Quality of customer service 30,8 46,0 22,1 16 Considerations In all cases the results evidence that companies elect quality as the major parameter considered when deciding to buy. However, other parameters also deserved the attention of the companies surveyed. Analyzing the data by company size, delivery time follows quality as the second most important parameter (55.9%) for micro and small companies (MSC). To a lesser extent, this parameter is also considered important by medium and large companies, albeit their second option is the price of product. These results seem coherent, as currently it is not usual to find companies maintaining large stocks of supplies necessary for their operation. Analyzing the data by sector of activity, delivery time is the second most important parameter after quality, particularly in the commercial sector, where it is critical. A certain similarity of responses was detected among the groups of micro and small companies - non-certified companies - commercial companies, in respect of several aspects surveyed. 17 3.1.2 When buying, does your company: Results obtained Obs: MSC - Micro/Small Companies Size Type of action MSC (%) Medium (%) Large (%) Refer to national or international Technical Standard? 34,8 50,3 55,7 Provide your own specifications? 38,9 47,7 58,0 Rely on commercial references? 14,5 27,5 12,5 Rely on design documents? 10,4 17,0 13,6 Provide no specifications at all? 32,7 11,8 1,1 ISO 9000 Certification Certified (%) Non-certified (%) Refer to national or international Technical Standard? 52,3 31,3 Provide your own specifications? 50,5 37,2 Rely on commercial references? 23,7 11,7 Rely on design documents? 14,0 10,7 8,4 37,2 Type of action Provide no specifications at all? Sector of activity Industrial (%) Type of action Commercial (%) Service (%) Refer to national or international Technical Standard 48,1 29,3 38,9 Provide your own specifications? 49,1 31,3 43,2 Rely on commercial references? 18,7 4,0 22,1 Rely on design documents? 14,5 10,0 10,9 Provide no specification at all? 14,9 48,0 21,8 18 Considerations Taking into account the company size, the survey shows that medium and large companies make more extensive use of technical standards (national and international) and their own specifications, probably because they have their own technical staff. Consequently, these companies tend to use more specific and more accurate technological information. The low incidence of medium and large companies relying on commercial references and design documents to specify their purchases strengthens the importance of the technical standards and the company's own specifications. However, among the micro and small companies (MSC) a balanced distribution may be observed among technical standards (34.8%), company's specifications (38.9%) and no specification at all (32.7%). This result evidences the diversity among micro and small companies in respect of the technological content of their products and services. Additionally, it is worth mentioning the equivalence among the results for micro and small companies, non-certified companies and commercial companies, indicating that there is a high percentage of micro and small companies that still do not hold ISO 9000 certification. This indicates the need for implementation of a technological infrastructure accessible to small companies in general and to companies from the commercial sector in particular. 19 3.1.3 How does your company select its suppliers ? Obs: MSC - Micro/Small Companies Size Selection of suppliers MSC (%) Medium (%) Large (%) By performing prequalification? 39,8 68,6 73,9 By requiring ISO 9000 certification? 11,0 16,3 27,3 By considering supplier’s history or image? 51,1 39,9 38,6 By imposing no requirements at all? 19,5 3,3 2,3 ISO 9000 Certification Certified (%) Non-certified (%) By performing prequalification? 73,2 31,5 By requiring ISO 9000 certification? 23,7 6,5 By considering supplier’s history or image? 38,6 54,1 2,8 22,8 Selection of suppliers By imposing no requirements at all? Sector of activity Industrial (%) Selection of suppliers Commercial (%) Service (%) By performing prequalification? 63,7 32,0 45,6 By requiring ISO 9000 certification? 21,5 8,7 9,5 By considering supplier’s history or image? 46,0 51,3 46,3 6,9 26,7 14,4 By imposing no requirements at all? 20 Considerations The survey indicates that the majority (51.1%) of micro and small companies select their suppliers based on history or image. In second place, they employ prequalification. This seems to be consistent with the reality of Brazilian micro and small companies. However, the results invert for the majority of medium (68.6%) and large (73.9%) companies probably because they possess more resources available to perform prequalification, while not neglecting the supplier's history or image. When considering the results of certified and non-certified companies, once again equivalence may be observed between: Ø the results obtained for medium and large companies and certified companies, and Ø the results obtained for micro and small companies and non-certified companies. Again, one may infer that the majority of medium and large companies do hold the ISO 9000 certification and that the majority of micro and small companies do not. Especially significant is the percentage of non-certified companies that do not impose any requirement (22,8%) along the buying process. Also significant is the low demand for supplier's ISO 9000 certification, even among certified companies. This result indicates the need for a more detailed study about the real influence of the ISO 9000 certification on the buyers' confidence that the supplier will meet their requirements. When data are analyzed by sector of activity, it is verified that the figures for the industrial sector are consistent with those from the medium and large companies, and those from certified companies. On the other hand, once again there is similarity among the results for commercial companies, micro and small companies, and non-certified companies. 21 3.1.4 Does your company maintain an approved supliers list? Results obtained Obs: MSC - Micro/Small Companies Size MSC (%) Approved suppliers list Medium (%) Large (%) Yes 84,3 90,8 98,9 No 15,7 9,2 1,1 ISO 9000 Certification Certified (%) Approved suppliers list Non-certified (%) Yes 96,3 80,4 No 3,7 19,6 Sector of activity Industrial (%) Approved suppliers list Commercial (%) Service (%) Yes 93,8 84,7 82,5 No 6,2 15,3 17,5 22 Considerations The survey indicates that the vast majority companies maintain an approved list of some kind. The higher percentage of companies maintaining an approved suppliers list is found among the large organizations. This percentage decreases slightly for medium companies and slightly more for micro and small companies. Expectably, the higher percentage is found among certified companies, in order to meet the requirements of the standard. When data are analyzed by sector of activity, the higher percentage of companies maintaining a register of approved suppliers is found in the industrial sector, but the percentages are equally high among companies from the commercial and service sectors. This indicates the recognition of the importance of an approved suppliers register for all companies, regardless of their size or sector of activity. 23 3.1.5 In order to verify what has been (or is being) supplied, does your company: Results obtained Obs: MSC - Micro/Small Companies Size Types of control MSC (%) Perform product inspection at supplier’s premises? 10,8 9,8 22,7 Perform incoming product inspection? 76,8 91,5 88,6 7,9 13,1 23,9 16,1 3,9 2,3 Perform manufacturing follow-up? Perform no second-party assessment? Medium (%) Large (%) ISO 9000 Certification Certified (%) Non-certified (%) Perform product inspection at supplier’s premises? 15,9 8,9 Perform incoming product inspection? 88,2 75,9 Perform manufacturing follow-up? 16,2 6,7 4,7 17,6 Types of control Perform no second party assessment? Sector of activity Industrial (%) Types of control Commercial (%) Service (%) Perform product inspection at supplier’s premises? 14,2 10,0 10,9 Perform incoming product inspection? 91,0 69,3 77,9 Perform manufacturing follow-up? 12,8 4,7 12,3 Perform no second-party assessment? 3,8 22,7 14,4 24 Considerations The survey shows that the inspection of incoming products and services is the most used method for all companies, regardless of size, certification or sector of activity. Two aspects shall be noted: a ) a higher percentage of large companies inspect the product at supplier's premises or follows up the manufacturing process than do the medium and small companies. This may be so because these procedures are usually expensive and, consequently, applied only in the acquisition of a critical product due to its technological sophistication or operational responsibility. b) a relatively high percentage of commercial companies implement no second party assessment, understandably due to the type of activity they perform. 25 3.2 COMPANY'S PERCEPTION AS TO THE PERFORMANCE OF ABNT NBR ISO 9001 CERTIFIED SUPPLIERS, WHEN COMPARED TO NON-CERTIFIED SUPPLIERS This part of the survey takes into account a single response. 3.2.1 Has your company ever used ISO 9000 certified suppliers? Results obtained Obs: MSC - Micro/Small Companies Size YES 73,7 96,1 MSC 96,6 Medium Large ISO 9000 Certification 95,0 YES 70,2 Certified Non-certified Sector of activity YES 91,3 Industrial 72,7 75,4 Commercial Service 26 Considerations Analyzing the data from the companies that did use ISO 9000 certified suppliers, the lower percentages are found in the combined group of micro and small companies, non-certified companies, and commercial companies. A significant percentage (30%) of these companies do not seem to consider ISO 9000 certification as a major requirement in the assurance of their product quality. However, medium (96.1%), large (96.6%), certified (95.0%) and industrial (91.3%) companies preferably use certified suppliers. These results indicate that companies with more sophisticated management procedures tend to give more value to the ISO 9000 certification. The following questions were addressed to companies that had used ISO 9000 suppliers: Ø When compared to non-certified companies, is the product intrinsic quality of ISO 9000 certified companies better, worse, or equivalent? Ø When compared to non-certified companies, are the products of ISO 9000 certified companies more expensive, less expensive, or have equivalent prices? Ø When compared to non-certified companies, is the customer service quality (politeness, speed, and effectiveness) of ISO 9000 certified companies better, worse or equivalent? Ø When compared to non-certified companies, is the delivery time of ISO 9000 certified companies shorter, longer or equivalent? Ø When compared to non-certified companies, is the handling of complaints of ISO 9000 certified companies better, worse or equivalent? Ø When compared to non-certified companies, is the image of ISO 9000 certified companies better, worse or equivalent? 25 27 3.2.2 When compared to non-certified companies, is the product intrinsic quality of an ISO 9000 certified company better, worse, or equivalent? Results obtained Obs: MSC - Micro/Small Companies Size Intrinsic quality of product MSC (%) Medium (%) Large (%) Better 68,2 75,5 80,0 Worse 0,3 0,0 0,0 Equivalent 31,5 24,5 20,0 ISO 9000 Certification Certified (%) Non-certified (%) Better 80,0 62,9 Worse 0,0 0,4 20,0 36,7 Intrinsic quality of product Equivalent Sector of activity Intrinsic quality of product Industrial (%) Commercial (%) Service (%) Better 70,1 69,7 74,9 Worse 0,4 0,0 0,0 Equivalent 29,5 30,3 25,1 28 Considerations The analysis of results shows that the perception of corporate buyers is that the product from an ISO 9000 certified supplier has a better intrinsic quality. However, it shall be noted that a significant percentage (30%) of companies report that the intrinsic quality is equivalent. Although this figure could be influenced by company's size and type of activity, further investigation is warranted. 29 3.2.3 When compared to non-certified companies, are the products of ISO 9000 certified companies more expensive, less expensive, or have equivalent prices? Results obtained Obs: MSC - Micro/Small Companies Size Price MSC (%) Medium (%) Large (%) More expensive 45,2 37,4 35,3 Less expensive 4,5 8,2 2,4 Equivalent 50,3 54,4 62,3 ISO 9000 Certification Certified (%) Non-certified (%) More expensive 38,4 45,6 Less expensive 4,6 5,7 57,0 48,7 Price Equivalent Sector of activity Price Industrial (%) Commercial (%) Service (%) More expensive 41,3 44,0 41,4 Less expensive 4,5 4,6 6,0 Equivalent 54,2 51,4 52,6 30 Considerations The responses show a result that needs to be further analysed by certification bodies and their clients, as it does not reflect the productivity gains expected from a company with a soundly implemented and maintained quality management system. A great number of responses state that certified companies products are more expensive or have equivalent prices. This result may lead, among other, to the following possible conclusions: a) The quality management system (QMS) does not operate effectively and, consequently, does not add value to the company in terms of productivity gains. b) The quality management system does operate efficiently and adds value to the company in terms of productivity gains, but the company artificially increases prices relying on the improvement of the company's image provided by the ISO 9000 certification. This is not the spirit of the ABNT NBR ISO 9001 standard. c) The non-certified suppliers, particularly those with no commitment to quality, seek to sell their products at lower prices, with smaller margins, in order to continue in the market. d) The influence of quality management on the modern company's productivity, when compared to other factors interfering in the manufacturing process (for instance, technological innovation and development, machinery efficiency, robotics, etc), has become relatively small. This survey aims to assess the perception of corporate buyers in respect of the influence of ISO 9000 certification on their suppliers. It is significant that 38.4% of the certified companies surveyed report that the products of their certified suppliers are more expensive and that 57% report that there are no price differences. Only 4.6% of certified companies state that the ISO 9000 certification makes products less expensive due to productivity gains. 31 3.2.4 When compared to non-certified companies, is the customer service quality (politeness, speed, and effectivenes) of ISO 9000 certified companies better, worse or equivalent? Results obtained Obs: MSC - Micro/Small Companies Size Quality of customer service MSC (%) Medium (%) Large (%) Better 65,7 65,3 60,0 Worse 3,4 0,7 1,2 Equivalent 30,9 34,0 38,8 ISO 9000 Certification Certified (%) Non-certified (%) Better 66,9 62,6 Worse 1,3 3,5 Equivalent 31,8 33,9 Quality of customer service Sector of activity Quality of customer service Industrial (%) Commercial (%) Service (%) Better 63,7 67,0 65,1 Worse 3,0 1,8 1,9 Equivalent 33,3 31,2 33,0 32 Considerations The survey shows that the majority of corporate buyers (about 65%) evaluate the customer service quality of ISO 9000 certified suppliers as better than that of non-certified suppliers. However, one third of companies surveyed are not able to detect any differences in customer service quality when comparing certified and non-certified suppliers. This is significant, considering that the focus of standard ABNT NBR ISO 9001 is on customer satisfaction. A positive aspect is that even non-certified companies admit that the customer service quality of certified suppliers is better. Considering the certified companies that cannot find any quality differences between the customer services of certified and non-certified suppliers, it may be worth investigating: a) whether their certified suppliers are not focusing on the customer, as directed by standard ABNT NBR ISO 9001. In this case, one may infer that their quality management systems (QMS) are not operating effectively. b) whether the non-certified suppliers, in consequence of a very competitive market, have started to treat their customers with special care, up to the point where no difference may be detected in the customer services quality of certified and noncertified companies. 33 3.2.5 When compared to non-certified companies, is the delivery time of ISO 9000 certified companies shorter, longer, or equivalent? Results obtained Obs: MSC - Micro/Small Companies Size Delivery time MSC (%) Medium (%) Large (%) Longer 18,5 7,5 11,8 Shorter 18,8 29,3 18,8 Equivalent 62,7 63,2 69,4 ISO 9000 Certification Certified (%) Delivery time Non-certified (%) Longer 13,5 16,3 Shorter 22,6 20,1 Equivalent 63,9 63,6 Sector of activity Delivery time Industrial (%) Commercial (%) Service (%) Longer 17,0 16,5 11,2 Shorter 19,3 17,4 26,0 Equivalent 63,7 66,1 62,8 34 Considerations The delivery time is, of course, one of the client's requirements. Concerning this issue, 62.7% to 69.4% of companies surveyed report that there is no difference as to the delivery time of certified and non-certified suppliers. This similarity in the perception of corporate buyers is significant, showing that there are issues the certification bodies should discuss with their clients. The results indicate that the ISO 9000 certification exerts no negative influence on the delivery time. 35 3.2.6 When compared to non-certified companies, is the handling of complaints of ISO 9000 certified companies better, worse, or equivalent? Results obtained Obs: MSC - Micro/Small Companies Size Handling of complaints MSC (%) Medium (%) Large (%) Better 66,9 78,9 77,6 Worse 3,1 2,0 2,4 Equivalent 30,0 19,1 20,0 ISO 9000 Certification Certified (%) Non-certified (%) Better 82,6 59,4 Worse 1,3 4,2 16,1 36,4 Handling of complaints Equivalent Sector of activity Handling of complaints Industrial (%) Commercial (%) Service (%) Better 72,3 63,3 74,4 Worse 1,9 5,5 2,3 Equivalent 25,8 31,2 23,3 36 Considerations The results lead to the conclusion that the certified suppliers perform a better handling of complaints. Analyzing the results for certified buying companies, 82.6% admit that certified suppliers perform a better handling of complaints when compared to non-certified suppliers. As to the non-certified companies, although they admit, to a lesser extent, that the certified suppliers perform a better handling of complaints, 36.4% report that there is no difference in the performance of the two groups of suppliers. As most non-certified companies do not have their attention focused on this aspect (handling of complaints), the accuracy of such statement may be debatable. However, it must be emphasized that only a negligible percentage of companies report that the handling of complaints of certified suppliers is worse. 37 3.2.7 When compared to non-certified companies, is the image of ISO 9000 certified companies better, worse, or equivalent? Results obtained Obs: MSC - Micro/Small Companies Size Image of supplier MSC (%) Medium (%) Large (%) Better 87,1 91,8 94,1 Worse 0,0 0,7 1,2 Equivalent 12,9 7,5 4,7 ISO 9000 Certification Certified (%) Non-certified (%) Better 92,7 85,5 Worse 0,7 0,0 Equivalent 6,6 14,5 Image of supplier Sector of activity Image of supplier Industrial (%) Commercial (%) Service (%) Better 87,1 87,2 93,0 Worse 0,4 0,0 0,5 Equivalent 12,5 12,8 6,5 38 Considerations A great number of companies, whether certified or not, admit that the image of a certified company is much better than that of a non-certified company. This result confirms the results of previous surveys implemented by Inmetro and ABNT/CB-25, revealing that the improvement of the company's image is one of the major benefits of the QMS certification based on the requirements of ABNT NBR ISO 9001. It is indisputable that ISO 9000 influences the buyer's perception that the certified supplier operates in accordance with higher managerial and operational standards and, in consequence, ensure that the company’s requirements are met. This widely spread perception has led some companies to employ the ISO 9000 certification for marketing purposes and, sometimes, in a way that could confuse the buyer's judgment. This behavior hinders the company`s ability to benefit from the competitive advantages brought about by a well-implemented and maintained quality management system. The improper use of the ISO 9000 certification as an advertising tool may induce a general cynicism regarding its effectiveness. This possibility requires a very strong posture from the certification bodies in the verification, on assessments, whether the QMS is really operating effectively and whether the mark of conformity is properly used. 39 4. Conclusions The sample selected encompasses all federative states of Brazil, but most of the data collected comes from the Southeastern region, where the economic activity of the country is concentrated. Among the purchasing companies that responded to the survey (12.25%), 66.7% are micro and small, 21.1% are medium and 12.2% are large companies. Of this group, 44.3% hold an ISO 9000 certification and 55.7% do not hold it. As to the procedures adopted by corporate buyers upon the occasion of buying, the following points are noteworthy: Ø the major parameter considered is the quality of product. For the micro and small companies , the second most important parameter is the delivery time. However, for medium and large companies the second most important parameter is product price. Ø the majority of companies employ technical standards or their technical specifications for purchasing. About one third of micro and small companies, non-certified companies, and commercial companies provide no specifications at all. Ø the majority of medium and large companies, ISO 9001 certified companies, and industrial companies employ prequalification when selecting their suppliers. The micro and small companies, the non-certified companies, the commercial companies, and the service companies preferably select their suppliers based on history or image. Ø a high percentage of companies, regardless of size and sector of activity, maintain a register of suppliers approved. Ø the most used method to verify acquired products and services is incoming product/service inspection. 41 Concerning the perception of corporate buyers that have used certified suppliers (96.6% of large, 96.1% of medium and 73.7% of micro and small companies) as to their performance when compared to non-certified suppliers, the survey leads to the following conclusions: Ø ¾ of corporate buyers evaluate the intrinsic quality of products manufactured by certified suppliers as better, whilst 1/4 of corporate buyers state that there is no difference. Ø a slight majority of the respondent companies state that the product price is equivalent, whether acquired from a certified or a non-certified supplier. However, 45.2% of the micro and small companies, 37.4% of the medium companies and 35.3% of the large companies evaluate the products from certified suppliers as more expensive. Probably the positive effects derived from a well-implemented and maintained quality management system are relatively small when compared to the effects of technological innovation in the composition of the costs of a company's product or service. Ø 2/3 of corporate buyers evaluate the customer service quality of certified suppliers as better. The remaining one third states that there is no difference at all. Ø in regard to the delivery time, most respondent companies state that there is no difference between certified and non-certified suppliers; the percentages for companies reporting a longer delivery time and those reporting a shorter delivery time are, respectively, 15% and 22%; Ø more than 75% of the respondents evaluate the handling of complaints performed by a certified supplier as better than the handling performed by noncertified suppliers. Even the non-certified companies (59.4) admit that the handling of complaints of certified suppliers is better. 42 Ø the image of the ISO 9000 certified supplier is evaluated as better by 90% of the respondents. This leads some companies to seek ABNT NBR ISO 9001 certification for marketing purposes, disregarding the benefits that might improve their management. Ø in general, there is a constant similarity in the statements relative to all aspects surveyed among the combined groups of micro and small companies, noncertified companies, commercial companies, and sometimes even some service companies. Similar behavior shows up among the combined groups of large companies, certified companies, industrial companies and, sometimes, service companies. It seems that the survey reflects well each group's characteristics, needs, and the management's level of maturity. 43