ISO 9001 provides over one million companies and organisations in over 170 countries with guidance and support on how to maintain the ongoing quality of their products and services in accordance with their customers’ needs, and how to drive continual improvement. Many of our clients have quality management systems certified to the ISO 9001:2008 standard.
ISO standards are revised every five years to ensure they remain current and relevant, and respond effectively to the latest developments in quality management. Additionally, this has helped to ensure the ongoing compatibility of ISO 9001 with other management systems and industry and sector-specific standards such as ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and ISO 27001 (Information Security Management). As such, companies benefit from a more integrated and effective management system to underpin service or product delivery.
Main changes to the ISO 9001 standard
Generally speaking, the new ISO 9001:2015 standard has greater integration with other management systems. Risk management is given greater importance in the new standard, helping companies to pre-empt and manage potential risks that may negatively affect business continuity or product/service conformity.
Details of specific changes include:
- A lack of prescribed documented procedures, instead focusing on performance and management processes in accordance with the individual needs and requirements of the business and their customers.
- Combining process approaches with risk-based thinking, promoting preventative thinking to all planning, operation, analysis and evaluation measures.
- Employing the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle at all levels in the business, aiding continuous quality management throughout each process and their interaction with each other.
- Increased focus on service-based economies and supporting products upon their implementation, as well as complex supply chains.
- Greater focus on other stakeholders, including regulatory bodies and end users, further driving quality standards.
- A stable set of requirements for regulatory bodies to link their own regulations with ISO 9001, helping to govern their respective industry or sector effectively.
These changes have been implemented to encourage and support businesses in maintaining and further improving quality standards, providing increased confidence to all customers in their supply chains.
How the existing ISO 9001:2008 certification is affected
Businesses with the existing ISO 9001:2008 certification can continue to use this for three years (from September 2015), although they must upgrade to the new standard by September 2018, as ISO 9001:2008 will no longer be valid past this date. Therefore, businesses are advised to upgrade as soon as they can, as it will provide greater reassurance of product/service quality and confidence to all stakeholders.
Further details on the changes to the ISO 9001:2015 standard can be found at: https://www.iso.org/iso-9001-quality-management.html including the reasons for the changes, general tips and information, and guidance on implementation.