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ISO 9001 Quality Management System

What is ISO 9001 Quality Management System?

ISO 9001 is an international standard for quality management systems (QMS), published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It provides a framework for organizations to ensure they consistently meet customer and regulatory requirements and demonstrate continuous improvement in their processes.

ISO 9001 Background

ISO 9001:2015 is the world’s foremost quality management standard. Hundreds of thousands of organizations in over 170 countries around the globe use this system. ISO 9001 Quality Management System sets out the essential requirements for a practical and effective quality management system (QMS). This is basically a system for minimizing risk and maximizing opportunity. This quality management system is suitable for any organization regardless of their size and industry. It can be used to focus on improving performance in a particular department, plant or site. However, it is generally most effective when implemented throughout an organization at every level.

ISO 9001:2015 is an updated version of an earlier ISO 9001:2008 and it is part of a series of quality management system standards, sometimes referred to as ISO 9000. These include:

  • ISO 9000 – Fundamentals and Vocabulary, which introduces the basic principles underlying management systems and explains the terminology
  • ISO 9001 – Requirements, which specifies the criteria for certification
  • ISO 9004 – Guidelines for performance improvements goes beyond ISO 9001 by identifying how ISO 9001 can be used as a springboard for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of a quality management system.

Benefits of ISO 9001 Quality Management System include:

  • Increase in your organization’s performance and productivity – certification improves efficiency through reduction of waste and systematic measurement of performance. Having a robust system in place gives more time to invest in making money
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction – Customers know what to expect from a quality certified company. ISO 9001 systematically tracks errors and prevents them thus reducing the number of customer complains
  • Global recognition – ISO 9001 is a globally recognized quality standard that can open new market opportunities or just maintain current market share. Certification also attracts investment
  • Employee engagement – ISO 9001 Quality management system encourages communication and increases morale among the employees
  • Competitive advantage – certification provides an advantage over competitors or the opportunity to compete on the same basis as larger organizations (e.g. ability to tender or submit price quotations)
  • Focus on objectives and customer expectations – greater emphasis on meeting customer requirements and implied needs through continuous incremental improvement

Enhanced Financial Performance with ISO 9001

Financial performance can be enhanced by implementing ISO 9001 certification and it is achieved through increased sales. This can explained by looking closely at the relationship between ISO 9001 mechanisms and the internal, external and signalling benefits that can lead to increased financial performance as can be seen in the diagram below.


Enhanced Financial Performance

Relationship between ISO 9001 and financial performance

ISO 9001 Quality Management system implementation can bring internal benefits, however organizations might not become financially more efficient immediately after being certified. Customer satisfaction may be improved by increasing process control, productivity, quality, and efficiency and as a result this can provide external benefits. The ISO 9001 certificate can provide benefits by signalling quality.

Key Principles of ISO 9001 Quality Management System

These 8 principles below are not auditable but they are fundamental attributes of any quality management system. The principles have been taken from ISO 9000:2005 Quality Management Systems – Fundamentals and Vocabulary and have served as a basis for the ISO 9001:2008 standard. The 8 principles include:

  • Customer Focus
  • Leadership
  • Involvement of People
  • Process Approach
  • System Approach to Management
  • Continual Improvement
  • Factual Approach to Decision Making
  • Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationships

History of ISO 9001

ISO 9001 was first published in 1987 and has undergone several revisions, with the most current version being ISO 9001:2015. The ISO 9001:2015 version includes a focus on risk-based thinking, improved applicability for service industries, and a greater emphasis on leadership and engagement of people.

ISO 9001 FAQ

Please chck out the following page for a list of FAQ questions.


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