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 MONTVALE, N.J., Oct. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- At a growing rate, businesses of all sizes and across all industries are facing the demanding, high- stakes challenge of attaining ISO 9000 registration. In a major move to help these businesses during the final step of this often drawn-out process, KPMG Peat Marwick, the U.S. practice of the world's largest professional services firm, today announced that it is the first Big 6 accounting firm to provide ISO 9000 registration services as a third- party registrar.
 The new business unit of KPMG Peat Marwick, known as KPMG Quality Registrar, evaluates client quality management systems though pre- assessment, registration and on-going surveillance services for compliance with ISO 9000 international quality standards. With KPMG Quality Registrar, businesses can for the first time benefit from a number of important advantages as they go through the registration process.
 ISO 9000 consists of a series of generic standards with appropriate guidelines published by the Geneva-based International Organization for standardization for vendor certification programs. These standards and guidelines, adopted by more than 70 countries including the U.S., describe what is required of an organization to demonstrate their ability to consistently design, produce and deliver products and services. ISO 9000 addresses quality system processes, not product performance specification.
 "One of our strengths is that as part of the global leader in accounting and consulting services, we provide businesses seeking ISO 9000 registration with access to the world's largest network of professionals experienced in virtually every industry," says Daniel L. Brennan, partner in charge, KPMG Quality Registrar. "We also have more experience in ISO 9000 registration standards and guidelines involved in the process and a nearly 100-year track record of personalized, business-focused client services."
 The ISO 9000 accreditation body in the United States, the Registrar Accreditation Board (RAB), recently listed KPMG Quality Registrar in the directory of Quality System Registrars, noting that they have applied to the RAB for accreditation. While accreditation is not mandatory to provide registration services, the intensive authorizing process is intended to assure the highest international standards for registrar services.
 In contrast to the dozen or so existing registrars, most of which are small businesses with only a few offices in the U.S., the KPMG network extends to over 800 offices in 125 countries. The firm's move into ISO 9000 registration is expected to shorten the time of the overall process, which could take more than a year between the point of application and actual registration assessment.
 The Growing U.S. Market
 Although adopted by the U.S. as a national standard in 1987, ISO 9000 registration has lagged here compared to many parts of the world. In the U.K., for example, approximately 26,000 business sites -- representing the facilities of more than 50 percent of all companies -- are ISO 9000 registered, compared to an only estimated 2,000 certificates issued in the U.S.
 The gap, however, is closing. Approximately 500 domestic sites underwent registration assessment between 1982 and 1989, while the rate of assessments has more than tripled in the following three years. There are several factors behind this shift, most of which are routed in the development of a global marketplace.
 "The standards are steadily becoming an acceptable worldwide approach to vendor certification," says Brennan. "Companies throughout the world are requesting that their suppliers become certified. The perception is that ISO 9000 registration eventually will be required for all suppliers doing business overseas."
 First viewed as largely a prerequisite for exporting, some large U.S. companies now require certification of their domestic suppliers. For this reason, KPMG Quality Registrar's initial focus on the domestic exporters has been expanded to encompass more broad-based areas such as U.S. assembly and sub-assembly manufacturing companies. In addition, some major industrial sectors such as the military and the automobile industry are beginning to integrate ISO 9000 into their own quality criteria.
 "Large and small U.S. businesses searching for the competitive advantage need to look at ISO 9000," says Brennan. "ISO 9000 registration tells potential business partners that the company has documented business processes, the employees follow those processes and that conformance is monitored by an independent registrar during periodic surveillance visits. ISO 9000 registration eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming second-party assessments. It also assists a business in gaining worldwide customer acceptance and provides a marketing benefit of being listed in public directories of registered companies."
 ISO 9000 registration is just one of the many examples of KPMG Marwick's international strength and strategic problem-solving capabilities on global business issues. For several years, the firm has provided ISO 9000 process planning and implementation assistance through its ISO 9000 Quality Services practice. The firm also provides high- value expertise in areas such as privatization, international tax, benchmarking, transfer pricing market-entry strategies and stock exchange listing advisory services.
 KPMG is the world's largest professional services firm with more than $6 billion in annual revenues. The global leader in providing accounting and consulting services, KPMG has more than 6,000 partners and 70,000 professionals serving clients though 800 offices in 125 countries. The worldwide organization of KPMG was created in 1987 through the accounting professional's first global merger, uniting leading firms from every region of the world under the KPMG name. In the United States, KPMG partners and professionals deliver a wide range of value-added assurance, tax, international and performance improvement services to clients doing business in the following markets: financial services; manufacturing, retailing and distribution; health care and life sciences; information and communications; government services; education and other institutions; energy; and personal financial planning.
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 /CONTACT: Dulcie Neiman or Takako Yamakura, both of Dorf & Stanton Communications, 800-223-2121 or 212-420-8100, or Barbara Kraft or Kevin Kelly, both of KPMG Peat Marwick, 212-909-5266 or 212-909-5108/

CO: KPMG Peat Marwick ST: New Jersey IN: SU: PDT

LD-TM -- NY005 -- 8716 10/05/93 09:02 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 5, 1993

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