There's not a great deal of middle ground when it comes to QS-9000 quality certification. And it doesn't seem to matter if you work for a supplier or an automaker; the questions about the effectiveness of the Big Three's quality standard persist.

For supplier respondents, the good news is that 46% say their manufacturing process and product quality have improved, thanks to QS-9000. The remaining 54% say they're unsure, or it has made no difference.

"It's a paperwork joke. The good suppliers already did a good job, and the bad suppliers will still find a way to cheat," writes one supplier respondent.

"It has taken time away from the manufacturing process. QS-9000 is not efficient," writes a supplier respondent.

"It has probably lowered quality. Too much time spent on paperwork," writes a manufacturing systems engineer at Delphi Delco Electronic Systems.

Some suppliers like QS-9000.

"It forces us to look at everything in more detail, more often," writes a manufacturing engineer at Borg-Warner Automotive.

"Automakers should meet the same standard in their assembly plants," writes another supplier survey participant.

Other supplier comments: "Increased team effort," "Documentation is better." "Valuable to associates at all levels of our organization."

As for automaker respondents, more than a third know of suppliers that have obtained QS-9000 certification but still aren't meeting quality targets.

"I feel some suppliers are buying certification and not having or showing continuous improvement," writes one respondent.

"Most of my quality issues are with the bigger joint venture-Japanese transplant suppliers," writes a Nissan engineer.