Publicado no boletim da ISO ( ISO9000NEWS ) em março/1995 ( Vol. 4, n. 2) com o título de
ORIGINS OF BRAZILIAN SURGE
Marcos Antonio Lima de Oliveira
Certified Quality Engineer - ASQC
POLITENO's Quality Co-ordinator
CETEAD's Quality Nucleus Co-ordinator
In the end of 1992 there were 36 companies in Brazil whose quality systems were certified as conforming to ISO 9000. One year later this number has increased to 177 companies. This represents an increase of nearly 500 %. According to the newsletter ISO 9000 NEWS, edited by ISO 9000 FORUM - an ISO organization, in the year of 1993 the rate of increase in companies certified according to ISO 9000 in U.S.A. and Japan was 150%, which were considered the biggest rate in the world.
Most of the companies in Brazil were certified by BVQI, Lloyds, DNV, ABS, SGS, internationally known certification bodies. Why a developing country like Brazil is succeeding in ISO 9000 implementation?
The first quality movement in Brazil began in the 70's. At that time Brazil has began the erection of nuclear power plants due to an agreement between Brazilian and German government. It was created a government company called NUCLEBRAS to promote the nuclear program. Brazilian engineers were sent to Germany in order to learn this new technology, including Quality Assurance principles. Some of them are nowadays the most important persons in Brazilian quality movement.
The international regulatory codes for nuclear industry gave special attention to quality control and we have to comply with. A lot of Brazilian companies were involved in the erection of the nuclear plant and they had also to train their engineers. The nuclear industry in Brazil did not succeeded, but the quality principles remained. Companies involved in the nuclear project also worked to PETROBRAS, the state owned petroleum company.
PETROBRAS is responsible for the production of 50 % of our oil comsuption and 100 % of refining. It is the biggest Brazilian company and rank 77 in the world. One of the strongest points of this company is the knowledge of its employees, due to priority done to their training. In the 70's and 80's PETROBRAS trained all new engineers in specialization course of 1.200 hours before sending them to work.
So the Quality philosophy began to be adopted by the engineers and middle management. PETROBRÁS began to use the quality principles in the construction of its production, refining and petrochemical plants, considering mandatory the use of quality principles for all its contractors.
In order to give training to these companies, the Brazilian Petroleum Institute, a non profit organization, which has big influence from PETROBRÁS, began to promote Quality Assurance courses of 80 hours. These courses trained several hundreds of engineers. In the middle of the 80's some PETROBRÁS engineers applied to Certified Quality Engineer examination in American Society for Quality Control. Rapidly the concern in CQE examination spread all over Brazil. As a result Brazil became the second country in the world in number of CQE ( around 1.000 persons). USA is the first. We have also relatively to other countries a high number of Certified Quality Auditor and Reliability Engineers.
In the middle of the 80's a non-profit foundation, created in order to promote an approximation between the university and the companies ( Fundação Christiano Otoni ), sent some teachers to the most advanced international centers in Quality, contacting consultants like Deming, Juran and Ishikawa. After they surveyed quality system of several countries like Japan, German, England and Korea, the Japanese model was chosen because it was considered the simplest and involving all employees of the company. As a result a book was written ( the quality best seller book in Brazil ). This foundation began to promote the implementation of TQC, through training courses and consultancy. Nowadays this organization gives support to 360 companies, representing 30 % of Brazilian G.N.P.
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Up to the 80's Brazilian economy was protected by import taxes. Internal market was shared by a few Brazilian companies. It was very difficult to import products. So the concurrence was small and there was few attention to productivity and quality, as well as the clients needs. In 1990 the new elected government reduced drastically the import taxes opening the market to international concurrence. At the same time it was launched the Brazilian Quality Program, whose principal executives were engineers from PETROBRAS with large experience in Quality.
In 1991 a foundation was created by 39 companies ( private, public, national and multi-national ) in order to promote a Brazilian Quality Award. Criteria follow closely the Malcolm Baldrige ones, with some addenda to conform to ISO 9000 series and to cope with national needs. Each year around 300 quality specialists from different states of Brazil are selected and trained in a 3-day course to be examiners. Selection of applicants is made through a specially developed and already validated software. In 1992 the prize was won by IBM. In the next year Xerox was selected. Nowadays a lot of companies are using the award requisites as a guide to implement TQM.
There is in Brazil an organization for promoting the development of micro and small companies. It's name is SEBRAE and is implementing a very strong program in order to dissiminate quality culture among small companies. This program is succeeding. There are many companies implementing quality systems, some of them has objective to get ISO 9000 certification.
Some companies that were used to export to developed countries, recognizing the importance of Quality, gave support to the Brazilian Quality Program. At that time the news about ISO 9000 began to arrive at Brazil. There was some confusion about its use. Some consultants began to say that it was mandatory to implement ISO 9000 if the company wanted to export do Europe. At that time Brazilian economy has a lot of problems. For many companies the only way to survive was by means of exporting. ISO 9000 seemed to be a barrier, but many of them began the implementation in order to climb this barrier. As we had a strong background in quality ( CQE's, PETROBRAS, PETROBRAS' contractors, nuclear power plant's contractors ), soon this movement towards ISO began to get stronger.
Now by April, 1997 we have around 1.700 companies certified according to ISO 9000. 60 % of them are small and medium companies. In the last years industrial productivity and G.N.P. in Brazil increased. The results of the quality movement in Brazil are just beginning.