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The ISO 9001:2015 Update

Why it is Being Done, What it Means For You

The latest update to ISO 9001 is underway, the first since ISO 9001:2008. But it is really the first major revision since ISO 9001:2000, which essentially consolidated three previous standards including ISO 9001, ISO 9002 and ISO 9003.

While still in the drafting stage (see enclosed time line for publication), this latest revision takes into account the vast changes in technology, business diversity and global commerce (which the ISO 9000 family and its spin-offs were created to support), including:

  • The growth of service businesses and their needs for quality management
  • Recognition of the need to harmonize, integrate quality management into overall business management systems, perhaps to serve as the basis of business management itself
  • Making it easier for companies to adopt multiple ISO series general business management standards such as ISO 14001 (environmental) and/or vertical standards such as AS9100
  • Helping to simplify the understanding of the standard, and make it easier (and more mandatory) to apply it more uniformly

The update/revision process is also supposed to keep the current focus on managing processes (as opposed to managing more specific program elements) as an effective method to gain a more repeatable pattern of success, and to remain more applicable to a wider array of enterprises. It is doing this to help make this standard revision more durable by “providing a stable core set of requirements for the next 10 years or more” even amid the increasingly changing business situations in which it must operate.

What is Changing in ISO 9001:2015 So Far?

While two years away from scheduled publication, initial drafts of the new ISO 9001:2015 standard (a copy of which can be seen here), the emphasis appears to be in these specific areas and concepts from the existing standard:

  • Changes in structure for ISO 9001-2015, expanding the number of sections to ten from the current standard’s eight with additions for performance management and evaluation (see chart below for comparison) which is said to help with future closer alignments among different standards through a new so called “Annex SL’ model” which provides a framework for drafting standards which can be applied concurrently (integrated management systems or multiple management systems) such as such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001, or ISO 22301.
  • Movement away from classical corrective/preventative action approach to more of a general risk management model, perhaps as embodied in ISO’s own standard ISO 31000:2009, Risk management-Principles and Guidelines, although it’s not clear how much may be “borrowed” from that management standard.
  • Requiring systems which take into account the “context of the organization” which implies a broader measurement, planning and implementation view perhaps taking into account areas such as “sustainability” (energy use, materials procurement, environmental impact, etc.), “corporate social responsibility,” “organizational resilience,” and “organizational health.” (This latter element seems to incorporate areas relating to business continuity, perhaps from ISO 22301:2012 Societal security — Business continuity management systems — Requirements standard.
  • Movement from “documents” (ISO 9001:2008 Clause 4.2.3) and “records” (Clause 4.2.4) to “document information,” (Clause 9.2 of ISO 9001:2015 Committee draft) which seems to be more accepting of electronic documents and document control approaches. However, the new clause language which more generally “requires organizations to: Retain documented information as evidence of the implementation of the audit program and the audit results,” has opened up some discussion about it not mandating procedures as in the past.

There are other changes being considered such as replacing the term “product” replaced with “goods and services” and consolidating the previous ISO 9001:2008 standard into seven principles for ISO 9001:2015. The main change is dropping “Principle 5: System approach to management” because it is already a component of having a quality management system (QMS).

Section Changes In ISO 9001:2015

Section Number Current Standard Sections Proposed Standard Sections
Section 1: Scope Scope
Section 2: Normative Reference Normative References
Section 3: Terms and Definitions Terms and Definitions
Section 4: General Requirements Context of the Organization
Section 5: Management Responsibility Leadership
Section 6: Resource Management Planning
Section 7: Product Realization Support
Section 8: Measurement, Analysis and Improvement Operation
Section 9: Performance Evaluation
Section 10: Improvement

A key section changes of the draft for ISO 9001:2015 concern broadening the scope of quality management to take into account the organization’s “context” (for instance social impact).

Past (Obsolete) versions of ISO 9001 Standard include:

More About ISO 9001:2015

ISO 9001 All in One Package