One of the difficulties to be faced in the next version is the increase in the number of “management system standards”. ISO 9001 was the first but was followed by others such as ISO 14001 for environment management systems. ISO has stated that all management system standards need to be aligned to the extent that they have as far as possible identical clause titles, sequence of clauses, definitions and as much identical text as feasible.
This drive for commonality amongst the management system standards may detract from the need to include new ideas in ISO 9001. One of the criteria for developing ISO 9001:2000 was that no “new” requirements were added – it was more of a structural change. So many of the concepts in ISO 9001:2000 and the 2008 edition are unchanged from the 1994 version and if the next version doesn’t appear until 2015, and no new concepts are introduced it will contain concepts that are over 20 years old!
In the post about David Hoyle’s ISO 9000 Quality Systems Handbook, I mentioned that the book is openly critical of ISO 9001’s inconsistencies. So, despite the fact that ISO 9001 has become a worldwide baseline for quality management, there are lots of improvements that could be made.
For example, the purpose of ISO 9001 is still largely misunderstood. It is not a “model quality management system”. Many organisations and the consultants that advise them seem to think that paraphrasing the ISO 9001 standard is the correct way to document a quality management system. ISO 9001 is a list of the requirements that a quality management system shall meet to enable it to be assessed. It is not a documented quality management system (that’s just one of the requirements to be met).
Another improvement would be to deal with the challenge that ISO 9001 stifles innovation by placing a greater emphasis on compliance that on improvement.
The Committee Draft of the new ISO 9001 is now available from BSI in the UK.