ISO revise their Standards every 6 to 8 years. The Standards for Quality and Environment Management Systems have been revised recently by 2015 versions and replace their previous versions of 2008 and 2004 respectively. All organisations bearing ISO certification are required to upgrade their certificates to comply with the updated requirements. ISO allow 3 years for all companies to upgrade their management systems to the new standard, meaning thereby that the Standards ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 will come into full force by September 2018.
Apart from quite a few normative definition changes, the new Standards bring the processes that are critical to businesses in their survival and growth into focus with a greater emphasis on strategic planning and risk-based thinking. Both Standards besides introducing dramatic changes in the structure and outlook are standardised with 10 clauses each. The Standard ISO 9001:2015 has also deleted the provision of “exclusions” and made clauses like design and development a comprehensive part of the Standard. Salient changes incorporated in the proposed new Standard ISO 9001:2015 include:
- Feature 10 clauses postulating common terminology applicable to all Management Systems such as ISO 14001 or OHSAS 18001.
- Greater emphasis on understanding the organisation and its context together with needs and expectations of interested parties.
- Greater emphasis on top management engagement.
- Greater emphasis on Performance and evaluation
- Increased emphasis on ‘determining’ – organisations would have to consider how they can provide evidence that a process of determination took place resulting in the achieved output.
- Nil exclusions unlike the previous Standards.
- Introduced clause based on knowledge.
- Introduced actions to address Risks and opportunities in several clauses including operational planning, input for design and development, post delivery, customer focus, etc.. This would lead to the Company policies and objectives and assure the Quality Management System can achieve intended results.
- Introduced control of externally provided products and services.
On the whole there is a major departure in the structure, content and expectations of the standard from previous versions and appears yet another reason for businesses to seek services of mature and business oriented personnel/consultants to steer their Quality Management Systems.