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Quality Standards Beyond ISO 9001

Published: November 11, 2021
Shot of a young businessman using his laptop while working from home.

Over 1 million organisations in more than 170 countries are certified to ISO 9001 [1]  Established in 1987,  it has undergone revisions in 1994, 2000, and 2008, with the most recent version released in September 2015 [2] ISO 9001 is the only standard in the 9000 family that organisations can be certified to, and it can be applied to organisations of any size, outlining what they should consistently do to meet statutory and regulatory requirements and customer expectations.

At RTP, we firmly believe that quality sits at the heart of any organisation. When an organisation chooses to align their processes to a Quality Management Systems standard such as ISO 9001, they are demonstrating their commitment to quality to their stakeholders. ISO 9001 may be the most well-known of the Quality standards, but did you know that there are others?

The ISO 9000 family (including ISO 9001) is a series of non-industry specific process standards. It comprises four standards and one we will refer to as an “honorary family member”:

  • ISO 9000:2015: Quality Management Systems – Fundamentals and Vocabulary
  • ISO 9001:2015: Quality Management Systems – Requirements
  • ISO 9002:2016 Quality Management Systems – Guidelines for the application of ISO 9001:2015 
  • ISO 9004:2018: Quality of an Organisation – Guidance to Achieve Sustained Success

And honorary family member:

  • ISO 19011:2018: Guidelines for Auditing Management Systems 

ISO 9000 itself outlines the fundamental terms and principles used across the ISO 9000 family of standards. It aids in understanding the basic elements of quality management, outlines the seven quality management principles and the process approach used to achieve continual improvement [3] Like ISO 9001, it was established in 1987 and has undergone revisions in 2000, 2008 and 2015 [4]

ISO 9001 includes requirements for creating and implementing a quality management system based on continual improvement. It specifies the requirements against which an organisation’s quality management system can be certified to [5] As noted earlier, it is the only standard in the 9000 family that organisations can be certified to and defines processes that should be consistently done in order to meet customer and regulatory requirements. 

ISO 9002 is a technical specification that provides examples and descriptions of steps an organisation may take to meet the requirements of ISO 9001. It gives an organisation guidance regarding the intent of ISO 9001 [6] Organisations seeking some additional guidance and support on the implementation of ISO 9001 may find benefit in reviewing ISO 9002.

ISO 9004 provides guidance to organisations on ways they can achieve sustained success. It is used to extend the benefits from ISO 9001 to all stakeholders associated with an organisations’ operations including employees, owners, suppliers, and society overall. It places a wider focus on quality to improve efficiencies and competitive performance [7] ISO 9004 employs a self assessment tool, allowing the organisation to review their maturity, leadership, strategy, management system, resources, and processes to identify areas for improvement. 

We consider ISO 19011 an honorary member of the ISO 9000 family as it outlines the auditing requirements used to audit a management system, be it quality or one of ISO’s many other management system standards. This standard applies to any organisation that needs to conduct or plan internal or external management systems audits or manage an audit programme.

What about the ISO 10000 family?

There are other ISO Quality standards that have been developed to support or be used in conjunction with the ISO 9000 family. Many of these standards are within the supplementary quality management family of standards, the ISO 10000 series, and include:

  • ISO 10001 Quality Management – Customer Satisfaction – Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Organisations
  • ISO 10002 Quality Management – Customer Satisfaction – Guidelines for Complaints Handling in Organisations
  • ISO 10003 Quality Management – Customer Satisfaction – Guidelines for Dispute Resolution External to Organisations
  • ISO 10004 Quality Management – Customer Satisfaction – Guidelines for Monitoring and Measuring
  • ISO 10013 Guidelines for Quality management systems – Guidance for documented information
  • ISO 10019 Guidelines for the Selection of Quality Management System Consultants and Use of Their Services

The intention for these standards is to provide guidelines to improve a quality management system. ISO 10001 – 10004  relates to topics around customer satisfaction. 

ISO 10001:2018 relates to the promises an organisation makes to its customers about their behaviour to improve customer satisfaction. It provides guidelines for planning, designing, developing, implementing, maintaining and improving customer satisfaction codes of conduct [8]

ISO 10002:2018 provides guidelines for the process of complaints handling. It addresses areas of complaints handling including having a customer-focused environment that is open to feedback, adequate personnel training, needs and expectations of complainants, the complaints process, improving customer service and product quality, auditing the complaints process and reviewing the effectiveness of the complaints handling process [9] We are increasingly seeing organisations benchmark their complaints handling processes to this standard.

ISO 10003:2018 relates to complaints that have not been resolved by the organisation. It provides guidelines on how to plan, design, develop, operate, maintain and improve an effective and efficient dispute resolution process. It allows the organisation to build customer confidence by using a standardised, transparent dispute resolution process [10]

ISO 10004:2012 provides guidance in defining and implementing processes to monitor and measure customer satisfaction. Under this standard, customer expectations are identified, data on customer satisfaction is collected and analysed and customer satisfaction is monitored and improved [11]

ISO 10013:2021 relates to the development and maintenance of the documented information that is required to support an effective quality management system that is tailored to the specific needs of the organisation [12]

ISO 10018:2005 assists organisations when choosing a quality management systems consultant. It provides guidance on the evaluation of the competence of a quality management systems consultant and gives the organisation confidence in the use of their services [13]

Additional standards in the ISO 10000 family include those for Quality Plans, Quality Management in Projects, Configuration Management, Business to Consumer Electronic Commerce Transactions, among others.

The ISO 9001 Auditing Practices Group

In addition to the many quality-related standards, information on quality best practice can be found via the ISO 9001 Auditing Practices Group (APG). The APG is an informal, diverse group of quality management system experts, auditors, and practitioners drawn internationally from the ISO Technical Committee 176 Quality Management and Quality Assurance (ISO/TC 176) and the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) who develop guidance papers and presentations with reflections about the auditing of quality management systems [14]

The papers published by the APG are aimed at quality management auditors, consultants and practitioners. They reflect differing views of quality management systems auditing and are written by authors from a diverse range of industries so their content may not always be consistent [15] The information they provide is for educational purposes and is not intended to be used as specified requirements or criteria quality management systems professionals should follow. 

ISO 9001 has become one of the most successful of ISO’s standards. The popularity of the ISO 9000 family has allowed other management systems standards including ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems, ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Systems, ISO 27001 Information Security Management Systems, and more to grow in prevalence. 

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