London Leads in Meeting New Quality Management Standard


20 February 2003

London business gain advantage as other companies face possible problems meeting supplier requirements

BSI Management Systems today warned London businesses that the low percentage of companies that have transferred to ISO9001:2000, the updated international quality management standard, could lead to both compliance problems and reduced competitiveness.

Of the 13,508 companies in London that currently hold certificates on the old standard it is estimated that only 20% have currently transferred to the updated one. Those that don't transfer before the end of the year will face problems as the old standard is withdrawn and they no longer meet the supplier specifications of many of the big UK buyers.

Although the London businesses are ahead of the current UK estimate of 19% it is behind some regions such as the South West and, in particular, the North East from where it has traditionally faced stiff manufacturing competition.

All international standards are regularly updated by the International Organisation for Standards (ISO). The updated standard, ISO 9001:2000, was created after feedback from UK business illustrated the shortcomings of the old one. ISO 9001:2000 provides three distinct new benefits:

  • less red tape
  • - companies will find it easier to show that they meet the requirements of the updated standard
  • focus on customer satisfaction
  • - the updated standard helps companies ensure that customer satisfaction is central to their operation, making them more competitive
  • more flexible
  • - the updated standard is more flexible, enabling companies to run quality management systems the way that is most relevant to them

Nick Moy of BSI Management Systems said:

"All standards are updated periodically to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of business and deliver real benefits. As business evolves, standards must evolve with it and ISO 9001 is no exception. The standard was changed to benefit those companies certified to it; it is less bureaucratic than the old standard and focuses more on customer satisfaction. The updated standard could be of real benefit to London companies but they risk missing out if they don't transfer from the old standard"

The old standard ISO 9001/2/3:1994 faced specific criticism that it was bureaucratic, inflexible and focused on companies having fixed standards rather than continuously developing standards.

The core difference between the old and the updated standard involves the manner in which management systems are to be implemented. ISO 9001/2/3:1994 required that a company met its requirements by showing that it undertook a set of distinct activities to safeguard quality. ISO 9001:2000 however encourages that systems to safeguard quality operate as interactive processes that provide feedback:

  • under ISO 9001/2/3:1994 a company did not need to show that it had a customer complaints/comments system
  • under ISO 9001:2000 it has to show that not only does it have a system to record comments but that this system ensures these comments are fed back in and acted upon, helping to improve overall quality of the product or service

Companies requiring further information should contact BSI Management Systems helpdesk on 020 8996 7720.

- Ends -

For more information:



Wilma Tulloch on +44 (0)20 8996 6330 OR
Marc Edney on +44 (0)20 8996 6330

Notes to editors:


BSI Group

Founded in 1901 the BSI Group is an international provider of services to businesses and other organisations. Through provision of standards and technical information, systems assessment, product testing and commodity inspection services, BSI supplies vital third-party services that enable its customers to trade effectively and to improve their operations and products. In 2001 the Group's turnover was £235 million ($350 million).

The BSI Group's businesses are British Standards, Management Systems (quality systems certification, including ISO 9000 Quality Management, ISO 14000 Environmental Management and BS 7799 Information Security), Business Information, Product Services and Inspectorate, the leading independent inspection and analysis company that joined the BSI Group in 1998. BSI Product Services laboratories are based in Hemel Hempstead, UK while Inspectorate's main offices are in Witham, UK and Houston, Texas. Following the 2002 purchase of the North American systems assessment business of KPMG BSI is now the largest management systems certification company in the USA. BSI Management Systems is based in Reston, Virginia. In 2001, a regional headquarters was opened in Hong Kong to service the BSI Management Systems network of offices in the Asian-Pacific region. The Kitemark was first registered as the British Standards mark in 1903.

International Standards Organisation

What is ISO?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from more than 140 countries, one from each country.

ISO is a non-governmental organization established in 1947. The mission of ISO is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity.

ISO's work results in international agreements which are published as International Standards.