ISO 9000 Explained
ISO 9000 family of standards is a system of numbers used to document quality effectiveness in a system. It was established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1987. These international standards can be used as a base line for quality management systems and assurance of quality.
A Little More on ISO 9000
The ISO 9000 family of standards is based on several quality management principles (QMPs). It was established with the main objective of helping manufacturers in effectively documenting the elements in a quality control system. These principles can be applied for improvement of organization by the senior management. The seven principles include:
• Customer focus: The organizations should be able to understand the needs of their customers and the organization’s goals should be aligned with the needs and expectations of customers. They should focus on customer experience and satisfaction.
• Leadership: The leadership should be able to setup a goal and direction for the organization. They should help in creating an organizational environment where people are dedicated to accomplish the goals set by the organization. The leadership should have certain organizational values in place so that they can develop trust amongst employees and empower them.
• Engagement of people: As people at all levels of the organization are important and if they are using their abilities to the fullest extent, it can be beneficial for the organization. Organization should involve employees and encourage them for continual improvement, learning and information sharing.
• Process approach: When the required activities and available resources are managed as a process, the results are achieved more efficiently. In this way, the resources are allocated effectively and opportunities are prioritized.
• Improvement: An organization’s permanent goal should be improving organizational performance and capabilities. By empowering people, measuring improvement and celebrating any success in improvements will help in overall performance improvement.
• Evidence-based decision making: When the decisions are made on the basis of data collected and its analysis, they are more effective. This data analysis should also be balanced with practical experiences.
• Relationship management: A mutually beneficial relationship between an organization and its external providers is important to achieve more. Both of them are interdependent so they should maintain a relationship so that they can both benefit.
History of ISO 9000
After their initial publication in 1987, they gained popularity in Europe first and which spread to the U.S. in 1990s. These standards have been revised over time as the global view point towards quality assurance is evolving. At present, quality management is about proper process management which includes both technical aspects as well as in terms of human resources. Major revisions made in 2000 and then again in year 2008. The latest versions of ISO 9000 and ISO 9001 were published in September 2015.
Certification Under ISO 9001
ISO 9001 is the only standard in the ISO 9000 family which can be used by organizations for certification. The certification process takes over a year and a significant amount of documentation is needed to show conformity with ISO standards. Individuals and organizations cannot be ISO 9000 certified.