ISO 9001:2015

LATEST: This more recent article deals with the changes in the latest version of ISO 9001:2015 – the DIS.

This may be a bit of a surprise when we’re just getting used to ISO 9001:2008 but the next version of ISO 9001 is now being considered and it’s likely to be 2015 before it’s published.

The committee responsible for ISO 9001 is in the early stages of working out what changes need to be made in the next version of the standard.

The first version of ISO 9001 (1987 version) took 7 years to develop. The 1994 edition took another seven years and the major revision ISO 9001:2000 took 6 years. The 2008 version, which had only minor changes, took another 8 years (though that was more to allow the 2000 version to settle rather than the scale of changes in ISO 9001:2008). The next version could therefore be as early as 2013 but 2015 seems more likely. 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.


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