Since the last major revision of ISO 9001 in 2000 there has been a revolution in information technology and communications that some are calling the second industrial revolution. Like all changes, concepts and ideas, standards must move forward with current thinking and ISO 9001 is no exception to this.
The new version of ISO 9001 has been referred to as a game changer. It brings a process approach designed to enhance customer satisfaction right into the heart of an organization, complementing business strategy and helping an organization to enhance its performance over time and achieve its aims. This positions ISO 9001 as an indispensable tool for businesses, helping to drive continual improvement and deliver results. It has been designed with the needs of modern businesses in mind. It’s more flexible and agile, designed to be embraced by organizations of all sizes in many different sectors, making it better for your business.
A major benefit of ISO 9001:2015 is that it provides a clear framework for organizations to have a far more robust but flexible management system, which will help them become more resilient and sustainable. The new standard encourages organizations to identify the requirements of interested parties and stakeholders, both internal and external as well as the issues, threats and opportunities they face. The new part of the standard is known as the ‘the context of the organization’ as much of the rest of the standards hangs off this. The introduction of this will help organizations to be more aware of stakeholder requirement s and help them to ensure they have the organizational agility to deal effectively with them. The new standard has become more relevant, less prescriptive and more user friendly as it encourages an organization to think about their own circumstances.
This approach recognizes the complexity and demands that are now placed on organizations from their interested parties and stakeholders. These could be regulatory, legal, compliance related, or driven by customer requirements. Organizations need also to be mindful of the issues and threats that they face in meeting interested parties requirements and what the risks are associated with the issues.
By going through this process of identifying interested parties and their requirements it helps an organization to be more resilient and responsive particularly to the ever increasing requirements of customers. This is one of the ways that ISO 9001:2015 has become even more customer focused.
Other changes that will help your business are as follows. ISO 9001 now requires top management to take a strategic approach to the management system by ensuring that the strategic direction of the organization has been determined. They are responsible for the effectiveness of the management system which should no longer be stand alone, but part of the organizations processes and management systems for its operation. Whilst top management has new responsibilities, the concept of leadership is really about empowerment at every level of the organization. This should result in having a more motivated engaged and empowered workforce contributing to a better working environment.
There is now an emphasis on the use of risk based thinking throughout the standard. The new standard does not only deal with risk but also requires organizations to identify opportunities. The reason behind this is to weigh up if an issue can be turned into an opportunity. This is another way to help organizations grow and flourish as identifying opportunities can aid growth and be a positive spinoff in adopting a risk based approach. The new version of ISO 9001 embraces the process approach. Following a process approach will help organizations to deliver more consistent results, help them to manage their bottom line and deliver sustainable growth.
As more and more organizations implement multiple management systems so the need to implement and maintain them more efficiently has grown. This has led to the creation of a common framework for all new ISO management system standards which is referred to as Annex SL. This framework gives organizations with multiple management systems the opportunity to streamline their approach and make efficiencies. This will reduce duplication and potentially make savings as there is greater ease of operation.
There are many benefits to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard, it is now much more than a quality management system. It is a complete operational tool designed to improve performance. Taking a strategic approach to customer satisfaction and the sustainability of the organization can only enhance the morale and motivation of the workforce which will in turn improve an organizations image and reputation in the market place. This is a fantastic opportunity for any organization to help them refocus and give them a clear line of sight as to where their business is heading in order to ensure they remain robust, resilient and sustainable.