The ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) – a worldwide federation of national standards bodies – recently updated its latest edition of ISO 9001, for quality management.
It’s just the latest in a number of changes throughout the decades that the organization’s leaders call “evolutionary rather than a revolutionary” process. As manufacturers take the beneficial steps on their ISO 9001 journey, so too is the organization that created the standards.
Updated Guidelines for Today’s Work Environment
These new guidelines are less prescriptive than previous versions – an effort to adapt to the working conditions of the 21st century. ISO 9001:2015 is the result of the intensive study from experts in about 95 countries throughout a three-year period. It’s a tool to help improve efficiency while maintaining the ability to adapt to today’s quickly changing work environments.
Organizations stand to benefit from the latest ISO 9001 to the extent that leaders dedicate their team’s efforts to abiding by the evidence-based standards.
When the ISO comes out with new guidelines, the world’s manufacturers and leaders in other industries pay attention. The organization is long-established as an internationally recognized standard. Business leaders worldwide use ISO principles as the basis of their quality management systems.
International Standards are considered to be responsible for consumer and worker safety, as well as bolstering the annual growth in GDP for economies across the globe.
The ISO 9001 journey can be game-changing for your business.
Standards to Emphasize for the latest ISO 9001
ISO 9001:2015 sets out the criteria for a quality management system, which has seven major areas to focus on. They include:
- Customer focus: The end goal of excellence in management is to exceed customer expectations. When that can be achieved, everyone wins. Gaining and retaining the confidence of consumers and other interested parties (business partnerships like suppliers, etc.) ultimately goes toward the sustainability of a business.
- Leadership: It all starts at the top. When leadership fails, the lack of unity leaves a rudderless team to flounder without direction or purpose. When leadership succeeds, however, an organization is on the same page with strategies, policies, processes, and resources to meet its objectives.
- Engagement of people: For the sake of creating and delivering value to the customer, the more management can engage and improve upon the competencies of individuals within an organization, the better. This concept also extends to the ability of individuals to work effectively as a team.
- Process approach: Does everyone on the team understand the organization’s goals and priorities? Goals can be achieved predictably and consistently when management can get the entire team to work in a properly aligned process. Success here means costly waste factors are avoided while services and products meet or exceed customer expectations.
- Improvement: It’s sometimes said that if you’re not progressing then you’re regressing. That may be especially true if contentment within an organization reigns while the industry norms surpass a business. Promoting improvement objectives at all levels can help prevent a company from falling into a rut.
- Evidence-based decision making: Without reliable data, how can business leaders properly gauge the state of factors in a business or the industry? Making decisions can be extremely tough and will always involve a certain amount of uncertainty. But with more good evidence to support decisions, complexity and uncertainty can be greatly reduced.
- Relationship management: A business can do almost everything right, but the human element of relationships cannot be overlooked. Nobody and no organization is an island. If a manufacturer’s relationship with its supplier falters, the impact can be swiftly felt. The same is true of employees. Keeping people happy ensures confidence and trust now and into the future.
In addition to upholding quality control for individual businesses, the ISO and its updated criteria gives businesses across the globe common criteria upon which to relate. No matter the culture, country or continent, these standards open possibilities for growing manufacturers and can raise the floor for those that are struggling.