Here at EQHO we take quality management very seriously and that's why we were delighted to secure our ISO 9001:2008 certification last year.
The world's most popular standard for quality management, we feel being armed with this knowledge and accreditation means we can consistently meet customer requirements.
But, we don't believe in standing still either and so that's why we're excited about the latest revision – ISO 9001:2015 – which is being made available next year and will introduce a new high-level structure based on the most up-to-date management systems standards.
This represents another step in the right direction to improving the quality management system, something we are always keen to push.
What does the new standard hope to achieve?
The focus of ISO 9001:2015 should be on maintaining effective process management, while it also has to take account of technological changes since the last revision was made. The standard hopes to reflect alterations in the complex environments that organizations are now operating in.
At the heart of the scheme will be the ability to facilitate effective organizational implementation and conformity assessment by first, second and third parties.
A major difference is the requirement for firms to understand an organization and its context, so simplified language and core text should be used at all times. As part of the process, the organization must determine the external and internal issues that are relevant to its purpose and affect its ability to achieve the internal outcome(s) of its quality management system (QMS).
In order to understand the needs and expectations of interested parties, the organization must determine who are the interested parties relevant to the QMS and what are the requirements of these interested parties. Previously, only the needs of customers were considered, whereas this has been expanded to include end users and any other relevant interested parties.
Management has to demonstrate real leadership and commitment with respect to the QMSs. This can be done by promoting awareness of the process approach and supporting other relevant management roles to demonstrate their leadership as applies to their areas of responsibility.
So why is certification important? It can help gain access to new markets, allows companies to differentiate themselves from others in the marketplace and allows a localization firm to demonstrate that it maintains its quality processes through audits.
Existing clients have until September 2018 to complete their transition, so there will be plenty of time to familiarize ourselves with the changes to the standard and implement them.