New Book Translates International Quality Standards into Plain English

Although international quality standards were written to apply to a wide variety of organizations worldwide, many companies have a difficult time interpreting them. To address this problem, Craig Cochran, the north Atlanta region manager for Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, has written a new book, ISO 9001: In Plain English (Paton Press, 2008).

“To make the international standards applicable to everybody, they are not particularly applicable to anybody,” he noted. “The words and phrases used are not typically those that workers are accustomed to using. If you don’t have extensive experience interpreting international standards, putting them to use in your own company can be very difficult.”

ISO 9001 is an international quality management system standard that presents fundamental management and quality assurance practices applicable to any organization. The generic requirements of the standard represent an excellent foundation of planning, control and improvement for just about any enterprise. Companies that are ISO 9001 certified have a demonstrated baseline of managerial discipline and control, and, according to Cochran, they also have higher rates of customer satisfaction.

The newly-released book is targeted toward anybody who has to implement or audit within an ISO 9001 management system. After a 20-year career in quality, Cochran wrote the book to share some of his experiences in implementing quality systems.

“People interpret ISO 9001 in diverse ways, including those that are often just plain wrong. Because I’ve been working with the ISO 9001 standard since 1988, I thought people might benefit from my experiences,” he said. “I have assisted in implementing ISO 9001 in nearly one thousand organizations, ranging in size from two to 20,000 people, and in every imaginable industry.”

Cochran’s book includes sections on process approach, relationship with ISO 9004 (a standard on continual improvement), compatibility with other management systems, application, vocabulary and definitions, general requirements, management responsibility, resource management, product realization, and measurement, analysis and improvement. For additional information about this book or Georgia Tech’s quality services, please contact Craig Cochran (); E-mail: (

About Enterprise Innovation Institute:
The Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute helps companies, entrepreneurs, economic developers and communities improve their competitiveness through the application of science, technology and innovation. It is one of the most comprehensive university-based programs of business and industry assistance, technology commercialization and economic development in the nation.

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Writer: Nancy Fullbright