ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. The organization is independent and non-governmental globally, developing and publishing voluntary international standards. These standards are for products, systems and services spread along different industries. The ISO standards ensure quality, efficiency, safety and consistency. ISO is often seen in the format “ISO XXXX: YYYY”, where the first set of combinations is a unique numerical identifier for a specific standard, and the second set indicates the year of publication or the last revision of the standard.
What is ISO 9001?
ISO 9001 is an international standard for creating a Quality Management System (QMS). First published by the International Organization for Standardization in 1987, it has undergone modifications since then. The latest update dates back to 2015; hence, it is also represented as ISO 9001:2015. The update was centered around customer satisfaction. Accepted by most countries worldwide, ISO 9001 provides a standard for the company's Quality Management System (QMS). It provides the criteria for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continuously improving QMS within the organization. Industries and businesses of all sizes and sectors, like healthcare, manufacturing, services and others, are open to following the standard.
What is the Importance of ISO 9001?
The ISO 9001 framework serves importance for organizations through the following means:
- Encourages and improves quality assurance in the company
- Ensures maintenance for quality and consistency of products and services
- Emphasizes companies’ standards of meeting customer expectations to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Increases efficiency in processes, thus reducing waste and operational costs
- Aids in performing legal and regulatory compliance
- Promotes continuous improvement
What are the ISO 9001 Requirements?
There are 10 sections or clauses in the structure of ISO 9001. The first three are introductory, and the remaining seven deal with the Quality Management Systems crucial for company certification. The seven clauses of importance for companies are:
Clause 4: Context of the Organization
It discusses the importance of understanding organizational context to implement effective QMS. The above is achieved by identifying internal and external quality factors capable of impacting the organization's goals, identifying interested parties, and expectations, including regulatory requirements. It also includes defining the scope of QMS and outlining the covered aspects of the organization. Further, identification and understanding of the organization’s processes and their interaction is also considered here.
Clause 5: Leadership
Leadership is crucial in QMS implementation, and top management is expected to demonstrate commitment. They must do it by practicing a customer-faced approach throughout the organization. The company must define and communicate the quality policy and assign roles and responsibilities for implementing QMS across the organization.
Clause 6: Planning
The clause is concerned with planning the ongoing function of QMS, which includes assessing risks and opportunities associated with the QMS, setting quality objectives for improvement and developing plans for achieving the mentioned.
Clause 7: Support
Support involves resource management for QMS. It includes different resources such as the working environment, human resources and infrastructure. It looks into awareness of quality requirements and establishes effective communication processes while managing documented information.
Clause 8: Operation
The clause is associated with the planning and creation of products or services. It involves aspects like planning and revising product or service requirements. It also covers design processes, suppliers, and the creation and release of products or services. It also controls nonconforming process outputs.
Clause 9: Performance Evaluation
It is associated with the effective functioning of QMS. It includes monitoring and process measurement to assess performance, evaluate customer satisfaction, conduct internal audits for compliance checks and also involves ongoing management review of QMS to identify the areas of improvement.
Clause 10: Improvement
Clause 10 emphasizes improving the QMS. It considers assessing nonconformities and taking corrective actions on errors. It also focuses on leveraging the gathered information for further improvements in organizational processes.
What are the Benefits of ISO 9001?
The benefits of ISO 9001 include:
- Customer satisfaction: It helps recognize and reassure the customer that the organization is capable of performing quality management
- Enhanced quality management: ISO 9001 framework for establishing and maintaining a robust quality management system (QMS). It helps to systematically organize, manage and improve the product, process and service quality.
- Improved efficiency: It promotes efficient resource usage, waste reduction and process streamlining. It helps save costs and improve operational efficiency.
- Competitive advantage: ISO 9001 is globally recognized and provides a competitive edge to the organization. It builds customers' and businesses' trust as it speaks for the organization’s commitment to quality.
- Consistency: The following standardized processes promise consistent and reliable outcomes.
- Risk management: Customers and businesses can trust the company’s ability to identify and mitigate risks that could potentially impact the quality of services or products. The proactive approach minimizes resources and cost expenditure and wastage.
- Global market access: ISO 9001 certificates open a pathway for entry into certain markets and industries where certification is compulsory. The possibilities range from global trade and facilitating international business partnerships.
- Stakeholder confidence: The certification instills confidence in stakeholders, including suppliers, customers, investors and employees. They can rely on the organization for quality management.
- Management and leadership: ISO 9001 encourages strong leadership through QMS.
What is the Current ISO 9001 Standard?
The current or latest ISO 9001 standard is ISO 9001:2015, due to final publication in September 2015. The latest upgrade was concerned with the inclusion of new terminologies, information restructuring and emphasis on leadership roles. The more recent update dates back to 2021, when no new change to be implemented in the next five years was announced. Further, the announcement also included the requirement of three years for the development of a new document and hence, the closest update, depending on the stated information, can be expected in around 2029.
While discussing ISO 9001, an important aspect of quality management, we cannot forget to mention the most significant methodology aimed at the same. The combination of Lean and Six Sigma is concerned with quality improvement, defect reduction and efficiency enhancement. If you're looking for a way to improve your ISO 9001 performance, or if you're new to ISO 9001 and want to learn more, Simplilearn's Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Training Course is a great option. A full curriculum packed with knowledge and expert guidance is the best pathway for the candidates seeking a career in the field.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the principles of ISO 9001?
The principles of ISO 9001 are customer focus, leadership, people engagement, process approach, improvement, evidence-based decision making and relationship management.
2. What is the full form of ISO?
The full form of ISO is the International Organization for Standardization.
3. What is the purpose of ISO?
ISO is concerned with providing a common framework of standards that ensure the quality, efficiency, safety and consistency of services or products.