What is the ISO 9001 Standard? – Quality Management Systems

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The ISO 9001:2015 standard sets the requirements of a quality management system. It is intended to help organisations achieve excellence through a stronger focus on customers, people and leadership to ensure improvement of business.

It enables organisations to enhance their existing quality management program by defining and documenting processes, training employees, ensuring better supply chain relationship management, adopting a risk-based approach to quality, and involving the leadership team in quality management more often.

Organisations implement ISO 9001:2015 standards to achieve improved efficiency and effectiveness of company operations and identify the most effective way to demonstrate ongoing commitment to safety, reliability and quality.

ISO 9001 is based on seven quality management principles to ensure the Quality Management System (QMS) is properly implemented.

The seven principles or pillars are as follows:

  1. Customer focus where a focus is ensuring that customer requirements and needs are met and exceeded.
  2. Leadership focus where emphasis is on strong leadership and management commitment so that everyone understands what the organisation aims to achieve.
  3. Involvement of people throughout the organisation through continuous empowerment. This improves performance and competency which creates value for the business because it ensures that the organisation has competent people.
  4. Process approach looks into understanding activities as processes that link together and function as a system in order to achieve more consistent and predictable results.
  5. Improvement where focus is given on activities that ensure the organisation processes are improved on continuous basis. This may include internal audits, corrective actions and system reviews.
  6. Evidence-based decision-making that is based on objective data evaluation to achieve the desired result.
  7. Relationship management with relevant stakeholders. Identifying important relationships with interested parties such as suppliers and setting out a plan to manage them ensures sustained success.

All the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 are generic and are intended to be applicable to any organisation, regardless of its type or size, or the products and services it provides.

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