Home > Profiles > Focus > Quality - ISO 9001 revision
Which tool factors in the needs and expectations of customers, employees and the company? Why, ISO 9001 of course! This is the world's most commonly used tool for governing your organization. It forms a basis for ensuring that your customers' (or users') needs are taken fully on board, and that you know how to meet them in an appropriate and sustainable way.
ISO 9001 calls on common sense, pragmatism and simplicity. Its primary objective is to help organizations to take an approach focused firmly on the long-term while following the principle of continual improvement. Over time, this standard has thus become a management tool at the service of competitiveness. In Japan and Germany, which are often mentioned as references, companies have clearly got the picture: they account for 10% of certified companies worldwide!
Quality & Innovation: two inextricably linked components for competitiveness (study by the Organization Performance Chair – Paris Dauphine)
Financial performance and ISO 9001 (study by Basak Manders - ISO)
The standards are drawn up by the organizations themselves and revised at regular intervals – generally every five years – in order to ensure they are still in line with objectives. The findings of an international consultation on ISO 9001 – to which French companies made a significant contribution – concluded in March 2012 that standard ISO 9001 needed to be updated.
The ecosystem – market, customers, stakeholders – of a company (and other types of organization) has become a great deal more complex. As such, the main point of the revision is to enable organizations to better tackle changes to the economic and social context in the years to come. Hence the development in the ISO 9001:2015 version of heeding the parties concerned, a "threats and opportunities" approach and the quality policy being brought into line with the organization's strategy.
In this regard, the revision adopts the universal HLS (High Level Structure) of ISO , allowing for all reference standards (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 50001, ISO 26000, etc.) to be incorporated in a single management system.
This revision schedule is provided for information only. It follows the development stages of international standards and may change depending on the importance of debates between the member countries involved in the ISO/TC 176/SC2 work.
Organizations will have 2 to 3 years (exact timeframe to be specified in 2014) to make the transition to ISO 9001:2015 certification. ISO 9001:2008 certificates will be valid until the end of the transition period. Note that a company that is undergoing ISO 9001:2008 follow-up may anticipate updating to the 2015 version during the transition period. So that you are fully prepared, the AFNOR Group will be assisting you throughout the upgrading of your management system: training, expert advice, assessment visit, documentation and so on.
Because it made high demands regarding documentation in its first version. It is not the standard that defines practices but practices that define the standard. In the 1980s, when the first version of the standard was published, "quality practice" was generally based on the definition of procedures. The majority of sector reference standards or contractors at this time were, incidentally, much more demanding than ISO 9001 on quality documentation. Over the years, practices have changed and the standard, by definition, has been updated to take these changes on board. Today, there are only six procedure requirements remaining in standard ISO 9001, when the vast majority of companies have much more complex documentary systems.
ISO 9001 is all about common sense! It describes the requirements to follow in order to set up an effective quality management system, without dictating which means must be used to do so. As soon as quality is considered to be inherent in an organization's activities, by analogy, we can say that it in fact describes the requirements of the organization's management system. Most of the time, organizations coming across this standard for the first time are surprised by its simplicity and pragmatism. It is up to each organization to adapt it to its day-to-day business.
If ISO 9001 certification is considered an end unto itself, chances are the financial aspect, as tiny as it is, will be seen as an obstacle. And yet, many studies (see right-hand column) demonstrate the many positive effects: increase in turnover, better customer satisfaction, fewer after-sales interventions and so on. In fact, it is not the standard in itself that is effective, but the quality initiative it describes – especially if it is incorporated in the organization's management system.
A quality initiative based on ISO 9001 recommendations enables the right questions to be asked, particularly in terms of customer needs and satisfaction as regards the product or service delivered. It also means that the operating procedures and what is expected of each employee can be documented a little more clearly. In this way, the risks are reduced and swift response is possible in the event of an incident. One study (see right-hand column) furthermore shows that ISO 9001 certified companies are better resistant to economic downturns!
Increasing numbers of organizations worldwide are adopting ISO 9001 as a tool for defining their quality management. All countries that are economically developing strongly encourage their businesses to adopt international standards, including ISO 9001. These represent presumptions of conformity to the regulations of the country to which businesses wish to export. The new version scheduled for the end of 2015 will help to speed up its adoption, since the countries working on its development are endeavouring to make it even more universal. More than ever, ISO 9001 is a standard we should be counting on!
As the cornerstone of management system standards, ISO 9001 has offshoots in specific sectors (e.g. aeronautics with EN 9100, food and farming with ISO 22000 and automotive with ISO/TS 16949). This Quality standard has been designed to slot perfectly in with other standards such as ISO 14001 ( Environment ) and OHSAS 18001 Risk management and OHS ) – with which it forms the winning trio QSE – not forgetting ISO 26000 on social responsibility .