BSI celebrates a truly quality birthday. Happy 20th Birthday ISO 9001!

Press release: 17 October 2007

ISO 9001, the international standard for Quality Management, is 20 years old this year and it’s hard to imagine a world without it. With more than 800,000 ISO 9001 certifications worldwide, and many more organizations using it internally, this is one of the best known international standards and the one that took quality management from the production line to the boardroom.

BSI is taking the opportunity of World Standards Day, an annual celebration of international consensus building, to mark 20 years of ISO 9001.

Every organization would like to improve the way it operates, whether that means increasing competitiveness, driving down costs, managing risk more effectively or improving customer satisfaction.  ISO 9001, developed from a BSI British Standard in 1987, is the world’s most established quality management systems standard that can be applied by any organization, regardless of size or sector.

BSI provides information, guidance, publications, assessment, certification, software reporting and training to all aspects of ISO 9001 to demonstrate the benefits of the standard, which include:

  • Saving money
  • Effectively managing business risk
  • Providing a competitive advantage
  • Removing barriers to trade
  • Enhancing brand reputation
  • Improving business performance
  • Encouraging internal communication and raising morale
  • Achieving customer satisfaction 

Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards, said, “This is a great achievement by industry worldwide and an example to the many sectors, both private and public, that have yet to take advantage of the uplift and continuous improvement this standard can offer.”

Simon Copeland, Technical Manager for Tarmac Topfloor, one of the first organizations to be certified to ISO 9001, says, “I believe that ISO 9001 certification has made us a more effective organisation, with a more joined-up approach. It’s enabled us to place an even greater focus on customer satisfaction.”

The evolution of ISO 9001

Over the last 20 years ISO 9001 has changed significantly. In 1987 ISO 9001 evolved from British Standard BS 5750, which was originally developed in response to challenges in British high-tech industries to develop a quality assurance system for design, manufacture and installation. From that time, ISO 9001 has progressed from an inspection-based requirements specification to a management systems standard aimed at improving customer satisfaction. The question is what will the next 20 years hold for the world’s most successful standard? With the revisions already planned for the 2008 and 2009 versions of ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 respectively, draft publications indicate that the standard is continually improving to ensure it meets the current and anticipated business requirements. This time the focus seems to be towards providing a framework for long-term business sustainability. Either way it certainly seems that ISO 9001 is here to stay.