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What is Product Realization?

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The short answer is that product realization is a term used in ISO 9001:2008, referring to the basic design and realization of a product provided to customers, measurable by quality control. The long answer is ISO9001:2008 product realization provides clear, certifiable standards for the process of bringing a product to market. Product realization means a clear idea of what the product will be, usually expressed in drawings, statements of work, functional product specs, or their equivalents.  Based on this clear idea, quality management can objectively determine if the product was "realized" and how efficient the process was.

In order for a quality management system to be ISO certified, key product realization mechanisms must be present to ensure:

1) the customer's needs have been communicated and understood

2) the desired product will be realized

Why does 'product realization' matter?

As with other requirements of ISO9000, the goal of good quality management is not to complicate matters or make life more difficult. In an increasingly globalized world, product realization provides the basic framework for parties to communicate what they are expecting and to ensure that those needs be met, regardless of the cultural and geographical location of either party.

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With access to agreed-upon documentation and benchmarks, quality control experts can analyze the work performed. They can ensure that work is proceeding, and will continue to proceed, in accordance with clearly articulated plans.

Without a product realization plan, establishing a baseline will be difficult, if not impossible. With a product realization plan in place, project milestones can be set with a clear focus, ensuring that each step will take both parties closer to their shared goal, to the realization of a desired product.

Even without the term, a company must exercise some form of product realization to be successful. Knowing the term - and applying the best practices encapsulated by it - gives mid-sized businesses one more way to establish credibility. Ultimately, what product realization really means is that a provider of goods and services understands the language and is prepared to provide reliable, quality work.