There is change afoot with respect to the ISO 9001 standard on quality management systems.
It is not unexpected change. All ISO standards are reviewed every three to five years to determine whether revisions are needed to keep the standards current and relevant in the marketplace, according to the International Organization for Standardization.
ISO 9001 is in the late stages of the revision process, with a new edition expected in 2015.
There are several changes outlined in the ISO 9001: 2015 edition, although the standard will retain its strong focus on a process-based approach to produce desired outcomes, explained Nigel Croft, chair of the ISO subcommittee revising the standard, in a Web update. "…which in the case of a quality management systems means, of course, consistent products and services consistently meeting customer needs and expectations."
The changes focus on three concepts:
- The process approach will strongly emphasize that the quality management system has to be woven into and fully aligned with an organization's strategic direction.
- Superimposed on the system of processes is the PDCA (plan-do-check-act) methodology, which will apply both to individual processes as well as the quality management system as a whole.
- An overall focus on risk-based thinking aimed at "preventing undesirable outcomes," such as non-conforming products and services.
A recent vote approved the latest draft of the revised ISO 9001 standard, which has since moved to the next stage – Final Draft International Standard. In his update, Croft explained that the subcommittee will review comments that came in during the last vote and produce a final draft, which then will be voted on.
While ISO itself does not certify organizations to ISO standards, Croft noted that there would be a three-year transition period for companies to migrate to the updated standard once the new edition is published.
He also suggested that organizations may want to review the draft rather than wait until the new edition of the standard is published.
"Look at it, hopefully, in a proactive way, to say, 'How can we collectively benefit from the changes of the requirements,'" he said.