Stryker UK and the Road to Quality: A Work in Progres
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In today's competitive business environment, companies are hard pressed to demonstrate that their products or services are of better quality than their competitors. Concurrently, consumers are often at a loss in determining which products or services are of the finest quality. Published standards are one way in which both producers and consumers benefit by the same mechanism; for businesses, having their products meet a certain published standard means an acknowledgment that their operations are running at top efficiency, as well as a marketing tool to differentiate their products from the competition. For prospective customers it means better peace of mind in seeing a "seal of approval" on products, which "guarantees" (in the customers' mind, at least) they are getting some value from their purchase. Stryker UK, a subsidiary of the Stryker Corporation, is currently in the process of registration to BS EN ISO 9000, an internationally recognized seal of quality for management systems. At best, Stryker believes accreditation to this standard will mean increased prestige in the market place and in the long run, increased profits. For customers, it means that they will have an indication of what to expect when they purchase Stryker products. Published standards have had a long and varied history. The standard that is examined here, BS EN ISO 9000, began its life as a British standard. So successful was this standard in Britain, that it was made the model for an equivalent international standard. This International Standard has been the benchmark for quality management systems for over three decades. If Stryker UK does achieve its goal of accreditation, it will be a continuation of an already illustrious climb to market dominance. While already the fastest growing Stryker branch in the world, Stryker UK believes that accreditation to BS EN ISO 9000 will be their "magic bullet" to the proverbial "big time." Only time and year end financial statements will reveal if this, in fact, turns out to be the case.