The ISO 9000 series of standards have consistently been ISO’s best selling standards, and have firmly established a common platform and language for organisations to discuss quality. This series of standards have had a key role in facilitating world trade through the requirements defined in ISO 9001. These requirements give a base-level confidence in an organisation’s ability to provide conforming products.
ISO 9001 is intended to be applicable to all types and sizes of organisation - regardless of the nature of the product and services they provide. The standards have formed a basis for the development of a whole range of other management systems standards including environmental, health and safety, information security, energy and others, as well as ISO 9001 and ISO 9004’s extensive use in specific sectors, including aerospace, telecommunications, education, local government, and health care, to name but a few.
The pivotal role of ISO 9001
ISO's future vision is for its products to be “recognised and respected worldwide, and used by organisations as an integral component of their sustainable development initiatives”. This pivotal role of quality management systems as a basis for the “economic growth” component of the sustainability agenda has often been overlooked, with attention in recent years being focused on the more topical elements of “environmental integrity” and “social equality”. In future it is important to ensure that quality management is seen as much more than “certification to ISO 9001” and really does help organisations to achieve sustained success over the long term.
Both ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 are currently based on a set of eight quality management principles that were developed in the mid-1990’s. ISO has recently undertaken a full review of the quality management principles, and were pleased to be able to report that they have stood the test of time. Only a few minor adjustments have been deemed necessary to bring them up to date for the next generation of quality management standards.
Preparation for the next major revision
Since the publication of the minor amendment to ISO 9001 in 2008, ISO has been carrying out extensive research and preparation for the next major revision (currently forecast for 2015), including:
• Development of a long-term strategic plan.
• Various workshops.
• Promoting greater alignment of ISO’s suite of management system standards.
• A study of the latest trends in quality management.
• Data from an extensive web-based survey of users and potential users.
The results of these activities, together with the systematic review of ISO 9001, indicated that whilst there is still a high level of satisfaction with the current version of the standard, the majority considered it appropriate to carry out a revision to keep the standard relevant, to reflect changes in the environment in which it is used and ensure that it continues to be fit for its intended purpose of “providing confidence in the organisation’s ability to consistently provide products that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements”.
The “process approach” adopted during the development of ISO 9001:2000 has not been fully understood by many users, at the same time the results of the ISO 9000 user survey “show significant support for maintaining the focus of ISO 9001 on the “management of processes”. This focus should result in a holistic system with the primary objective of meeting customer requirements and enhancing customer satisfaction.
ISO 9001:2015 - committee draft details
According to the draft design specification the next revision of ISO 9001 should...
• Provide a stable core set of requirements for the next 10 years or more.
• Remain generic, and relevant to all sizes and types of organisations operating in any sector.
• Maintain the current focus on effective process management to produce the desired outcomes.
• Take account of changes in quality management system practices and technology since the last major revision in 2000.
• Reflect changes in the increasing complex, demanding & dynamic environments in which organisations operate.
• Apply common high-level structure, definitions and text, in order to enhance compatibility & alignment with other ISO management system standards.
• Facilitate effective implementation by organisations & effective conformity assessment by 1st, 2nd & 3rd parties.
• Use simplified language & writing styles so as to improve the ease of understanding & consistency of interpretations of its requirements.
...in order to...
• Be relevant to quality management system requirements & the strategic intent (as stated above).
• Increase confidence in an organisation’s ability to provide conforming products and/or service.
• Enhance an organisation’s ability to satisfy its customers.
• Enhance customer confidence in quality management systems based on ISO 9001.
Currently ISO TC 176 SC2 has circulated a Committee Draft (CD) among its members seeking feedback on the proposed draft content by September 9th, 2013. There is also a subsidiary vote open in parallel that asks about the need for an exclusion clause, use of the term “goods and services” instead of “product” and using “improvement” instead of “continual improvement”.
The use of the term “goods and services” is targeted at making the standard more service oriented rather than the traditional “product” focus. The current CD content is based on the ISO Directive Annex SL or High level common core text that was developed by ISO for all management system standards. This high level text was developed to facilitate better integration of ISO management standards such as quality, environment etc. The recent revision in the quality management principles has led to a change from “Continual improvement” to just “Improvement”. This section of ISO 9001 is being changed to reflect this.
With the current revision the need for exclusions is no longer considered necessary. However ISO members are being asked for feedback on this as part of the CD vote.
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