2000: Business - Ping earns ISO global certification

Ping announced its quality control measures have been certified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) – making it the first U.S. golf equipment company to earn the designation.

Since 1947, Switzerland-based ISO has established various benchmarks for business operations to help industries operate on a global basis. In 1994, the organization developed standards to evaluate quality control practices – known as ISO 9000.

Achieving ISO 9000 certification assures that a company has met a common set of quality standards recognized internationally. Such standardization facilitates commerce, in part, by helping companies select business partners with confidence, according to ISO.

ISO, arguably, is the most recognized quality standard in the world, and companies in more than 100 countries have adopted it. The standards are used in an array of industries.

Ping decided to seek ISO certification for its golf operations after witnessing the benefits it provided its sister business – a vendor for the military and aerospace industries.

“In the aircraft industry, ISO (certification) is just about required today,” said John Solheim, Ping’s chairman. “We want the company to operate as efficiently as possible, and this helps us do that.”

Though the standards have yet to be embraced by the golf industry, its benefits – reducing mistakes and saving money – could persuade others to pursue it. It is not far-fetched to imagine that one day club manufacturers may require their component suppliers to be ISO certified.

“I’d like to see the industry, including vendors, embrace this idea,” said Doug Hawken, Ping’s president. It took the company more than a year to complete the ISO process. Ping would not disclose the cost of certification.

Earning ISO approval, in essence, requires a company to document how it conducts its business and then devise a quality control system to ensure that the company is following its written plan. The quality control system must be able to identify and correct shortcomings. ISO evaluators audit a company’s quality control practices on a regular basis to ensure compliance and effectiveness. m

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