ISO 9001 is a standard that sets out the requirements for a quality management system.

It helps businesses and organizations to be more efficient and improve customer satisfaction.

What benefits will it bring to my business or organization?

Implementing a quality management system will help you:

  • Assess the overall context of your organization to define who is affected by your work and what they expect from This will enable you to clearly state your objectives and identify new business opportunities.
  • Put your customers first, making sure you consistently meet their needs and exceed their This can lead to repeat custom, new clients and increased business for your organization.
  • Work in a more efficient way as all your processes will be aligned and understood by everyone in the business or organization. This increases productivity and efficiency, bringing internal costs down.
  • Meet the necessary statutory and regulatory requirements.
  • Expand into new markets, as some sectors and clients require ISO 9001 before doing
  • Identify and address the risks associated with your organization

What is quality management all about?

  1. Customer focus. Meeting – and exceeding – customer needs is the primary focus of quality management and will contribute to the long-term success of your enterprise. It is important to not only attract but also retain the confidence of your customers,

so adapting to their future needs is key.

  1. Having a unified direction or mission that comes from strong leadership is essential to ensure that everyone in the organization understands what you are trying to achieve.

Engagement of people. Creating value for your customers will be easier if you have competent, empowered and engaged people at all levels of your business or organization.

  1. Process approach Understanding activities as processes that link together and function as a system helps achieve more consistent and predictable results. People, teams and processes do not exist in a vacuum and ensuring everyone is familiar with the organization’s activities and how they fit together will ultimately improve efficiency.
  2. Improvement. Successful organizations have an ongoing focus on improvement. Reacting to changes in the internal and external environment is necessary if you want to continue to deliver value for your customers. This is of paramount importance today when conditions evolve so quickly.
  3. Evidence-based decision making. Making decisions is never easy and naturally involves a degree of uncertainty, but ensuring your decisions are based on the analysis and evaluation of data is more likely to produce the desired result.
  4. Relationship management. Today’s businesses and organizations do not work in a vacuum. Identifying the important relationships, you have with interested parties such as your suppliers – and setting out a plan to manage them – will drive sustained success.

How do I get started?

There are many ways an organization can implement a quality management system. In-depth advice is available from a number of different resources, including the publication ISO 9001 for small businesses – What to do, but here are a few tips to get you started.

Tip 1 – Define your objectives. Why do you want to implement the standard?

Tip 2 – Make sure senior management is on board. It is crucial that everyone – from the top down – is supportive of the initiative and its objectives. If you are struggling with this, publications such as Reaping the benefits of ISO 9001 and ISO 9001 : Debunking the myths might help.

Tip 3 – Identify your organization’s key processes for meeting your objectives as well as your customers’ needs. Within each of these processes, make sure you understand your customers’ requirements and can guarantee that these are met – each and every time. This will form the basis of your quality management system.

How is the standard structured?

ISO 9001:2015 is made up of a number of different sections, each concentrating on the requirements involved in different aspects of a quality management system.

  • Clause 0-3 – Introduction and scope of the standard
  • Clause 4 – Context of the organization
  • Clause 5 – Leadership
  • Clause 6 – Planning
  • Clause 7 – Support
  • Clause 8 – Operation
  • Clause 9 – Performance evaluation
  • Clause 10 – Improvement

How can I get certified to the standard?

There is no obligation to be certified to ISO 9001, so a good first step is evaluating whether certification makes sense for your organization. Although certification might reassure customers that your products and services are in line with their expectations – and might in some cases be a prerequisite to working with certain clients – many organizations benefit from using the standard without seeking certification.

Other standards in the family that might help

ISO 9001 is the best known of the ISO standards on quality, but there are many other standards that can help you reap the full benefits of a quality management system and put customer satisfaction at the heart of your business.

A few documents are mentioned here, but additional information on the full family of quality standards can be found in the brochure Selection and use of the ISO 9000 family of standards.

  • ISO 9000 contains detailed explanations of the seven quality management principles in addition to many helpful tips on how to ensure these are reflected in the way you It also contains many of the terms and definitions used in ISO 9001 and constitutes a useful companion document to help you build a successful quality management system.
  • ISO 9004 provides guidance on how to achieve sustained success with your quality management
  • ISO 19011 gives guidance for performing both internal and external audits to ISO 9001. Good internal audits will help ensure your quality management system delivers on promise and will get you ready for an external audit, should you decide to seek third-party certificate.