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    The ISO 9001:2015 Replacement of the 2008 Version and the Implications for Business

    The ISO 9001:2015 Replacement of the 2008 Version and the Implications for Business

    ISO 9001:2015 was released in September last year. The International Organisation for Standardization, consisting of well over 159 member states, published the ISO 9001 standard for the first time in 1987 with the revised edition even less prescriptive than the previous version.

    ISO 9001:2015 focuses on the development of quality management systems within organisations, and the ISO 9001 is still the most popular of ISO standards throughout the world. It is also the only standard in the ISO 9000 family of standards against which certification can be obtained.


    With its generic characteristics, ISO 9001:2015 has a universal applicability. It can be applied to any type of business, any sized organisation and within any type of industry. Well over one million businesses worldwide have already implemented the standard and comply with the requirements for setting up and managing organisation quality management systems.

    How the Standard Helps Companies

    The enterprises that already use the standard benefit from improved business processes, better organisation of their business processes, improved overall quality and better customer satisfaction. They also benefit from ongoing improvement in their processes and because of such improvements, gain a competitive edge in the market place, realising more profits, less wastage and improved customer loyalty.

    Companies that have already implemented ISO 9001 should take the necessary steps to migrate to the new version. This is applicable to companies that have been certified against the 2008 version and those overseeing training in various aspects of ISO 9001.

    Businesses that have adopted ISO 9001 generally experience improved growth rates, in addition to better success rates, as well as improved productivity, better overall health of employees, improved safety and a reduction in waste. The employees benefit from training and better wages, safer work environments and better customer relations.

    Important Elements of the ISO 9001 of 2015

    The standard is similar to many other ISO standards and works on the principle of plan-do-check-act. This enables an organised approach to the documentation and assessment of the accountability, procedures, policies and structures of the organisation, as related to quality management. Important topics covered include, but are not limited to:

    • Management role, accountability and responsibilities.
    • Resource allocation and management, including HR and the general operation environment.
    • Documentation of the processes, the setting up and control of the quality management manual and the control over documents.
    • The product creation quality, from production right through to delivery of the product.
    • Ongoing assessment and improvement of the quality management system through internal and external audits.
    • Assessments of corrective steps taken.
    • Assessments of preventative actions to eliminate the repeat of not conforming to quality requirements.

    Why the Changes?

    The ISO 9001:2008 has been replaced with the ISO 9001:2015 to ensure that the standard can still be relevant to organisations operating in the current business environment and future business environments where quality and sustainability will be important. New terms have been introduced and it now also includes more focus on risk-based assessments to improve the process approach implementation, as well as ensure wider applicability to businesses operating in the service sectors. It also focuses more on the requirements for optimal leadership in QMS.

    The standard provides the requirement guidelines for the implementation of relevant and highly effective quality management systems, which can be operated alongside other management systems in accordance with ISO standards. The new version helps companies to effectively organise their quality management and to improve customer satisfaction, in addition to improving employee morale.

    The ISO 9001:2015 standard has taken over three years to complete, with over 94 countries that have participated in the process, making it a truly universally accepted standard in line with modern business requirements. Companies that have yet to comply with ISO 9001 requirements and those who still need to do the transition to ISO 9001:2015 should do so as soon as possible, in order to help them improve and ensure consistency in quality.

    The standard is an effective business management tool for the improvement of processes, helping companies to become more efficient in all their operations. With consistency in quality, from production to delivery of the products, a given when complying with the requirements of the standard, companies can provide customers with a guarantee. As such, improved customer satisfaction is inevitable, which in turn, translates into customer loyalty, improvement in brand strength and building of long-term customer relations.

    The 2015 version has important changes to reflect the quality management needs of businesses operating in the 21st century. The standard provides enterprises, irrespective of their sizes, with the ability to respond and adapt to changes in the operation environment. The new standard, although described by some experts as revolutionary, is rather a reflection of the overall movement towards sustainable practices throughout the world. The standard focuses on business performance, which has been made possible with the combination of risk-based assessment with the process approach and the implementation of the plan-do-check-act principle, throughout the entire enterprise.

    With companies already having various management systems in place, it has become extremely important to ensure that the new ISO 9001 can be integrated with existing management systems. It is now also applicable to sector-related standards, giving it a more universal character. The change was essential because so many things have changed over the past few years. With customers expecting more from organisations, quality improvements should form an integral part of business management.

    In addition to the above, advances in technology have made it necessary to change the standard in order to reflect the modern business environment requirements. Along with technology advances, trade agreements and the movement from national boundaries to trade regions have made it essential to adopt a standard that can be applied across supply chains throughout the global business environment.

    Certification bodies must migrate from the 2008 standard to the 2015 version within three years and companies will also be required to meet the new requirements. This means that companies will benefit from our expertise regarding transition requirements, training, internal and external auditing, and preparation for certification, in addition to following the maintenance programme for ongoing compliance.

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