ISO’s Key Objectives
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Why Standards are so Important?
Standards inspire trust. Compliance with standards means the makers of a product or the providers of a service comply with the necessary legal, technical, and environmental regulations.
This reassures consumers that systems, products, services, and organizations are reliable, safe, and environment-friendly. Through this, standards facilitate trade, equitable and sustainable economic development, ecological improvement, innovation, safety, and health.
Standards are the documents that define the specifications and procedures to ensure the reliability of products, services, materials, and methods. They lay down the guidelines for the operations of various personnel, systems, and institutions.
By describing the essential features of, say, a ship, standards ensure that various manufacturers churn out ships that operate as expected and are safe. Standards make it easier to compare similar products made by different producers while also ensuring interoperability and compatibility.
International Standards Organization (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental international organization. Located in Geneva, Switzerland, its members include 163 national standard bodies who voluntarily share knowledge to develop relevant international standards.
Changing Global Scenario & ISO 9001:2015
Globalization has introduced greater complications in the supply chains of organizations. And the greater access to knowledge means customers are more demanding than ever before. ISO therefore reviews its standards every five years to maintain relevance.
Included in the ISO 9000 family are some of the standard requirements for numerous facets of a quality management system (QMS):
- ISO 9001:2015 establishes the requirements of a quality management system
- ISO 9000:2015 includes fundamental concepts and language
- ISO 9004:2009 provides guidelines on making quality management systems more effective and efficient
- ISO 19011:2011 offers directions on internal and external audits of quality management systems
ISO 9001:2015 was published in September 2015 to replace ISO 9001:2008. Organizations with the 2008 certification have three years from the publication date i.e. up to September 2018 to comply with the 2015 standard. After the deadline, ISO 9001:2008 will not be valid.
While ISO 9001 is the only certifiable standard in the ISO 9000 family, organizations are not under obligation to comply with it. But they do in order to demonstrate their commitment to reliability, safety, and environment.
Over one million organizations over the world hold ISO 9001 certification because such compliance helps them win better clients. A 2011 survey by the British Assessment Bureau identified that 44% of the respondents with ISO certification had won new business.
There is, per usual, the other side. Some observers suggest there is no direct linkage between ISO 9001 accreditation and business improvement. The apparent improvement is partly because most companies seeking certification are already the top performing ones.
An ISO 9001 survey questioned 6,299 respondents on what principles make a successful quality management system. Respondents identified the following six concepts:
- Integration of Risk Management
- Resource Management
- Systemic Problem Solving and Learning
- Voice of the Customer
- Knowledge Management
- Measures / Metrics
Following are the main areas of distinction between ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 9001:2015:
- Restructured: with changes in the sequence of chapters, subchapters, and order of paragraphs and clauses. The overall content of the standard remains unchanged and, as such, is still based on the High Level Structure
The objective is to create a common structure for all ISO standards related to management systems. This way, businesses and organizations can seamlessly use relevant elements of other management-related systems
- More Focused on Risk Management: although risk management has always been an integral component of all ISO standards, the focus was never this strong
Recognizing that only proper, proactive risk management can deliver consistent quality, the 2015 standard makes preventive action a part of the routine
- Greater Emphasis on Leadership: for only strong leadership can ensure continuous delivery of quality. The 2015 standard eliminates the role of the ‘Management Representative’ and integrates QMS requirements into business processes
- Appropriate Inclusion of the Service Sector: as ISO had originally drafted the ISO 9001 for the industrial and manufacturing sectors
Acknowledging the changed business realities and the rising prominence of the service industry, ISO 9001:2015 chooses terms and generalizes certain aspects so that all industries, including those in the service sector, can implement it
- Paperless Quality Manual: because the standard no longer requires certified organizations to maintain an updated quality manual
The standard has not done away with other necessary documents. It has only accepted that paper is no longer the primary instrument for information and records management
- Context is More Important: as it provides the proper frame of reference for the organization. Fresh clauses require context analysis, stakeholder identification, and identification of stakeholder expectations
- Identifies Knowledge as a Resource: and defines the management of knowledge viz.:
- identification of the knowledge essential to comply with the standard
- maintenance and protection of knowledge and to make it available as and when necessary
- proactive pinpointing of the changes in knowledge necessary to keep up with fast changing times and management of the risk associated with the failure to acquire such future knowledge
In a nutshell, ISO 9001:2015 scores over ISO 9001:2008 because it:
- accords more importance to leadership and commitment from top management
- is more user-friendly for service and knowledge based organizations
- considers organizational risks and opportunities in a more structured manner
- better addresses supply chain management
- uses simpler language
A correlation matrix available from ISO/TC 176/SC 2 assists businesses and organizations understand if a certain section in ISO 9001:2015 is different from its corresponding one in ISO 9001:2008.
Evolution is the law of nature. Those who do not evolve with the times, perish. By taking into account the changed global realities and the need to perform without compromising on flexibility, ISO 9001:2015 provides a visionary guiding light.
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