The ISO 9000 standard has been revised as of December 2000. It has been thought that the implications of addressing the changes may be particularly acute for small businesses, for which the impact of requirements and relative commercial costs of compliance can be greatest. In view of this, the Quality Research Group at the University of Leicester in collaboration with the Centre for Enterprise has conducted a research project with representatives from major internationally accredited UKAS certification bodies to explore the implications that the revision to ISO 9000 is likely to have on the small business community. This current paper reports on the study undertaken by the University of Leicester team with financial and collaborative support from Lloyds Register Quality Assurance and SGS Yarsley, two of the largest international ISO 9000 certification bodies. A detailed survey involving more than 1,000 respondents from UK‐based SMEs has provided a detailed empirical profile of the company’s own views of the value of ISO 9000:2000 on the path to excellence and what they will need to do to make it work. Face‐to‐face interviews were also used to provided verification and views from non‐certified companies. The results of the study are very positive and indicate a changing view and use of a standard that used to be seen as bureaucratic, officious and complacent.
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