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ISO regrets passing away of leading ISO 9001 figure

by Roger Frost on
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Dr John Davies, Former Chairman of ISO/TC 176

ISO and its members have learned with great sadness the passing away of Dr John Davies, the former Chairman of ISO technical committee ISO/TC 176, Quality management and quality assurance, subcommittee SC 2, Quality systems, responsible for the world famous ISO 9001 standard and its companion, ISO 9004. He was Chair of ISO/TC 176/SC 2 from 1987 to 2009.

Mr. Charles Corrie, of the British Standards Institution (BSI), who collaborated closely with Dr Davies as Secretary of ISO/TC 176/SC 2, commented: "John was an outstanding Chairman, and had been in post for the publication of every edition of our key ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 standards to date. He will be sorely missed by all his friends and colleagues."

As a tribute to Dr Davies, ISO reproduces below an interview carried out at a meeting of ISO/TC 176/SC 2 in Tralee, Ireland, in 2007, which appeared in the November-December 2006 issue of ISO Management Systems.

ISO 9000? It really is a phenomenon!

ISO/TC 176/SC 2 Chair, John Davies, has held the post since 1987, having attended his first SC 2 meeting as a United Kingdom delegate two years earlier. However, his involvement with ISO goes back 40 years to when he first became involved in the standardization of protective clothing through his work as an engineer in the electrical power industry, both conventional and nuclear, in the United Kingdom.

His link to quality came through another aspect of his background – in government inspectorates and the verification of defence specifications, which in turn led to his leading roles in the United Kingdom’s Institute of Quality Assurance (IQA).

John Davies recalls: “As Secretary-General of the IQA, I had the privilege of inviting the late Dr. Lawrence D. Eicher, then ISO Secretary-General, to give the John Loxham Lecture on 4 March 1992. He chose as the title of his lecture, ‘The ISO 9000 Phenomenon’. Enough said. It really is a phenomenon!

“Today, there are more than 776 000 ISO 9001:2000 certificates issued in 161 countries. We had no idea in the early days that ISO 9000 would have such a worldwide impact.

“When in the early days we were developing a programme in IQA for the registration of auditors, we asked ourselves how many we thought would be registered and the magic figure that came up was 250. I think there are now 15 000!

“Initially, there were 20 countries participating in ISO/TC 176. Today there are 76, with another 21 as observers. ISO 9000 really is an international phenomenon. In connection with ISO 9000, I have myself visited 102 countries and it’s been a privilege to witness the interest and progress made by some of the developing countries. For example, I was involved in providing auditor training in China in the very early days – today it is the top country for ISO 9001:2000 certificates.”

Alan Bryden presents the Lawrence D. Eicher award certificate to John Davies

The Lawrence D. Eicher Award for excellence in creative and innovative standards’ development was presented to ISO/TC 176/SC 2 in 2004 and the then ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden (right) took advantage of a visit to Ireland during the subcommittee’s June 2006 meeting in Tralee, Ireland, to re-present it to SC 2 Chair, Dr John Davies, in the presence of nearly 100 SC 2 members.