Fredrik Öhrn, Bangkok
To have friends visiting is fun, for various reasons, except the obvious, you also get a different perspective on life in Thailand. You get some new perspectives, some perspectives and views are being confirmed by someone with a similar background, which also can be nice. You are also being reminded of how you used to look at things two years ago when I was completely new in this country, friends sometimes remind you of how things could be but also help you see how things are done in a different part of the world, where things also work out – in a different way.
Quite often you see signs that says “ISO:9000” in Bangkok and all over Thailand. The last 2-3 digits may vary, but you will always find 9 in the beginning and ISO first of all.
In Sweden and I assume, in the rest of Europe this is a sign of quality, it means that you have taken your company or organization through a process to make sure that things are done one way and that is the correct way.
One friend once saw a hospital with a huge sign on it saying “ISO 9000”, he was sure that it was the same hospital that I used to work for.
My friend wondered what ISO 9000 could mean at a hospital like Phyathai.
“Perhaps it is their environmental work?”, he suggested.
For some reason he excludes the possibility that it would have to do with overall quality, don’t ask me why.
I tell him that I quite often and in various places find these signs that says ISO:9000 and that I more than once wondered what they stand for. Really.
You often see the local buses – those from which it pours out black smoke – with a ISO:9000 sticker on the windshield.
“Yeah at least we then know it is not for environmental work”, my friend says. Perhaps it is for their work with Human resources promotion?” he suggests.
I can’t help laughing “Human Resources Promotion” or “Human Resources Program”? In Thailand?
We agree upon that ISO in this case probably means that the driver of the bus promises to close the door when he drives and only open it when he STOPS to pick up or drop off passengers. The promise to stop could also be part of this ISO certification…
The hospital I used to work for got an award from Reader’s Digest, “Most trusted brand 2007”, I saw the other day that my phone company has been rewarded “Most admired brand”, you can also belong to the honorable society of “Superbrands”. All these awards you can buy, you get a fancy logo that you can use on your website and in letters, more people will recognize you, buy from you and use your services –thinking that you have really been awarded or rewarded for something.
ISO:9000 you don’t really buy, it will cost you to get certified, but that is generally the cost of going through the process of becoming certified.
Perhaps they have misunderstood the whole thing, perhaps not.
So who and why can we trust? Really.