When most of us hear the acronym I-S-O, the one thing comes to mind is the ISO9001 Quality Management System (even though ISO is involved in all worldwide standardization activities; consider the amazing uniformity of credit card dimensions). Standardized in 1987, the release of ISO9001 was critical to the explosion in manufacturing outsourcing worldwide.
Before ISO9001, only a limited number of organizations had the size to develop, implement, and ENFORCE quality requirements throughout the supply chain. Examples included AT&T, Boeing, Ford-GM-Chrysler and Department of Defense. The rest of the electronic community was forced to accept the word of the supplier in regards to quality control. This condition was a significant roadblock in reducing manufacturing costs and increasing production flexibility.