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Randy Ford: Welcome to SuccessInSight. I’m Randy Ford. Our guest today is Jim Moran, who is the president of SimplifyISO. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?

Jim Moran: Oh for sure. Thanks, Randy. Back in 1987 the first version of ISO 9001 was released.
It was a combination of a bunch of documents. Canada had some documents in it. The Z299 series. Britain had a document in it. US 5750, the air quality document. And this group in Geneva, the International Organization for Standardization, put together this document to be released to the world so that instead of having 178 different versions of a quality management system that the world would have one and everybody would use it. And the idea was that if it — world trade was just starting to pick up steam back to 1987. And if you were buying parts from India or Pakistan or China or wherever you had no way of knowing what you were going to get. And this standard was designed to help make sure that no matter where you purchased if they had this management system in place and they were certified that you would be more likely to get what you actually ordered. So that was its meager beginnings. And there are now 1.6 million companies certified to this standard around the world. So what I do: I noticed right from the beginning that people were making their systems really complicated. They put all kinds of text-based procedures and they had pages and pages pages. There is actually a group in our capital city that writes software for tanks, for the Department of National Defense. They had 6,900 pages of documentation for a management system. that you could’ve done in 50 or 75 pages. So that’s been my goal right since the beginning is to try to help people figure out a way to meet the requirements of this standard but not drown themselves in paper.

Randy Ford: What kinds of standards, for people who maybe don’t know what that is? What are these standards and how are they applied to everyday people?
Jim Moran: Good question. Basically the standard requires that you’ve put, I guess you’d say, procedures in place, but they don’t have to be documented. People like a surgeon for example, a heart surgeon, doesn’t have work instructions for how to do a quadruple bypass. So if, you know, you give your people credit for having a brain, then you build whatever you need to show people how to do things. And they’re handy for training new people if you have some turnover, that sort of thing. And that’s where people can get carried away and write way too much stuff. The idea is that if you organize your activities in sort of some kind of sequence and organize your assets your people, your equipment, your floor plan, your environment all that stuff. If you get all that organized, you can usually make more money, because you can reduce errors, you can improve flow through the work like reduce throughput time, you can maximize the flow of work if you look at it. And so in order to get a good objective look at it the best thing to do is to start with a flowchart. I often have people put up horizontal pieces of flip chart paper on the wall and get yellow sticky notes and then they put up each step on a sticky note. Then they get some software like EazyDraw or Visio. So there’s ways to make these flowcharts more or less look nice, and then that helps you get organized. It also helps you find out where things are bogging down. You might say it helps you identify choke points or plug you plugging where it whether it’s the workflows getting plugged up.

Randy Ford: You talked about these digital products that help with it, but I’m also thinking back to when you started working in this in 1987. How has it changed — how has this work changed over the past more than 30 years now?

Jim Moran: Well the first thing that happened and the big three leaks that happened were that the second version that came out in 2000 after the ’87 and ’94 version. They both required 20 documented procedures, specific documented procedures. The 2000 and 2008 version let you drop from 20 down to six, and then the final version that just came ou in 2015, doesn’t make any requirements for any specific documented procedures. So theoretically you could actually have a management system and get certified with no documented procedures. You still need records to prove that stuff happened, and there is about 23 of those in a typical company. Six of them are related to design. So if you don’t do design, it’s like 17. So you have to be able to prove to the group that comes into audit you to give you the certificate. You have to be able to prove you’ve actually got a system in place. I guess the other thing that it helps purchasers know our customers, it proves to the customers that if something goes wrong that you have a formal way or a structured way to fix the problem so it doesn’t recur. The idea of course is not to have anything go wrong. But that’s just not reality. That’s not life as we know it.

Randy Ford: You know even just how technology has changed things as well.

Jim Moran: Well yeah it was all binders back in 1987. Pretty much paper and back then actually most companies had a whole series of binders numbered one to whatever — one, two, three, four, five, six, seven — and they had this little table that said binder one is in the warehouse, binder two is in the office, binder three is at the shipping dock, binder four is in purchasing. So that’s all gone; now, of course, everything’s in the cloud. Most everything’s in the cloud. At the very least people have them on a shared drive on their own servers at work. It’s just that’s changed things a lot, and there have been people like us that have invented software tools to help organizations automate pretty much everything. It’s not completely automated. It’s difficult, for example, in a machine shop to be fully automated and electronic, so they may still use what we would call old school technology where a form physically travels around with a job from the front to the back. But the big change has been really automating the actual documentation site requirements. That’s been the biggest thing for sure.

Randy Ford: What are some of the other jobs you’ve had?

Jim Moran: Oh actually, when I went to university they were like most people I worked in retail. In high school I worked in the farm south of Detroit in Leamington, where all the Heinz ketchup for Canada used to come from, and what others? I was an assistant golf pro after I graduated from university. Then I went into the banking business. That’s when I actually started getting into marketing. Then, while I was there, I taught school and that was a full-time university professor for seven years from ’80 to ’87. And that’s when — it was after ’87 that I started to learn about ISO and actually built my first system in Sarnia, Ontario, where all the refineries are in nineteen ninety two.

Randy Ford: What was it that made you go from the classroom to ISO?

Jim Moran: Well basically, I felt more entrepreneurial than I was able to be in the classroom. Had I been just a couple miles west in Port Huron instead of in Sarnia and been in an American school system, I probably would have still been in the school system, only because they were there were much fewer restrictions on university professors or college professors to not have jobs. Most of them had a second business. Almost all of them had a consulting business, but in Canada we didn’t tend to do that quite so much. So I stuck with it. Then I decided that I needed to strike out on my own. And then away we went. The rest as they say is history.

Randy Ford: And you don’t regret that, it sounds like.

Jim Moran: Oh no no no. It’s been it’s been 32 years of — actually, ’87, yeah 32 years, and it’s been great. And my wife Bonnie has been patient through the lean years and happy through the busy years. And not it’s not for everybody. Only about 25 percent of the population typically in any population is willing to forego the weekly paycheck for the risk of feast and famine. And for some, there’s more famine than feast, then. But that’s life you know. So if you’re willing to put up with that uncertainty the rewards can be pretty good.

Randy Ford: Is that something you recommend if people ask you?

Jim Moran: Oh yeah. But I ask themselves as well. Unless you’re willing to completely give up the the the security of a weekly paycheck, you would never be comfortable or never be happy in business for yourself. That’s for sure.

Randy Ford: You have said that the worst job you’ve ever had was picking cucumber vines.

Jim Moran: Yes.

Randy Ford: When was this?

Jim Moran: Well, it was in high school. It was probably right near the end, so it’d be like the late 60s. I finished high school in ’67. And the farms around Leamington, where I grew up, a lot of them had two or three greenhouses just so they could extend the growing season. And when the cucumbers were finished, you had to pull the vines down, and it was about 105 degrees or so in there. Anyway, I guess in Celsius, 33, something like that. And they were prickly, and it was dusty in there too. So you’d start to sweat a little bit, the dust would get kicked up when you’re pulling the vines out, so now you’ve got mud stuck to you. And then the vines are scratching you and creating rashes and all that kind of stuff.

Randy Ford: How long did you do that?

Jim Moran: Oh I think about two days. It took like two days to clear out the thing. And another thing it was kind of funny on that very farm, they put me in one of the tomato-growing greenhouses to pick tomatoes. But I didn’t know, I didn’t realize at the time, that I was red and green colorblind, and I had to learn to tell the ripeness of a tomato by how long the five stars were on the bottom of the tomato. So you know you adapt, right? Whatever you do in life, you figure out what’s going on, you adapt.

Randy Ford: So you know that you’re in charge of buying the produce now, even though you can’t see the colors.

Jim Moran: A similar thing happened to me in the in the banking industry I got into the marketing department at Canada Trust, and six weeks into the program, they told me I had to go to a printing company and do a press proofing. Maybe your listeners know how this works: As you order a bunch of print material from somebody. They start the presses up, they get them running, and then the customer comes in and initials or signs two or three sheets to say this color is OK. So I had to actually at that point tell them that I couldn’t do it because I was colorblind. It actually caused me a bit of concern because I thought I’d get fired, but I’d been there long enough. I think I’d been there about three months, and they could see that I was pretty much a go-getter and didn’t really turn down work because I didn’t feel like it, but they can also tell that I was not the guy to do this. That was — I think during the year about about $2 million worth of print product. So to have that much have to go to the recycling, and we didn’t have recycling back then; it just went to the dump. That was the early I guess late 70s Yep, ’77, ’78, ’79, right along in there. Those kind of funny little things happen to you as you go through life.

Randy Ford: One of the things that we always like to ask people who come on SuccessInSight with us is: What you would recommend that we and our listeners would check out.

Jim Moran: First book I think everybody can benefit from in business is the book called, it’s by Deepak Chopra, “Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.” It’s a must-read for everybody just to get your brain in the right place for being successful in business, understanding energy flow, understanding karma, understanding generosity, all that kind of stuff — really important. And another book that’s good if you’re building a website, and pretty much every business does today, is Donald Miller’s book called “StoryBrand.” It’s one word, “StoryBrand,” and he talks about making the customer the hero in your all your presentation to the customer, you’re not the hero as the expert. Make them the hero and help them on their journey and be a good guide for them as opposed to trying to be the be-all-end-all for somebody, just help them let them know you’re going to help them along. I like humor as well. S.J. Perelman was a famous American, well I guess British-American. But one of your guys who I’ve loved for years, American writer Jean Shepherd. His work was used to make a probably iconic Christmas movie called “The Christmas Story.” Those were all his stories that made up that. I’ve got the two books that he wrote. One of them’s called “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash,” and the other is called “Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories.” You have to balance just plowing into the technical stuff; you have to kind of balance it off — my view anyway — balance it off with something a bit lighter from time to time.

Randy Ford: Well, thank you for talking to us. I hope you’ll take a chance to come back and talk with us more sometime.

Jim Moran: Absolutely, love to, Randy.

Jim and the SimplifyISO Team have been helping organizations simplify their management systems since 1992. The team shows small and medium-size companies how to build a management system that’s easy to use and effective, and get certified and stay certified.

Jim invites you to visit him at

ISO Essentials Training Online Course

If you or your quality team require a refresher or an introduction to ISO 9001:2015, Jim invites you to explore his ISO Essentials Training Course that is now available. Click ISO 9001 Essentials Training Course Preview to have a look. 

The SuccessInSight Podcast is a production of Fox Coaching, Inc. and First Story Strategies.