ISO 9001 is an international standard that sets criteria for quality management systems, or QMS, in organizations. This standard can be used by any company, regardless of size or field of expertise, to demonstrate its ability to implement and sustain quality operational performance. ISO 9001 is certifiable, and over a million organizations all around the world have reaped the benefits of this certification.

The ISO 9001 standard evaluates a company’s quality management system to test the effectiveness and pushes the organization to continuously and consistently implement improvements. This process has an overwhelmingly positive outcome for every aspect of an organization.

The Seven Principles

The ISO 9001 standard is built upon seven core principles. These principles are the foundation that helps guide companies through the process of improving their quality management systems.

The seven principles are the fundamental building blocks for the basis of the ISO 9000 family. Understanding these principles will aid in the understanding of what this standard is and how it works.

ISO 9001 seven principles for QMS are as follows:

1. Engagement of People

Everyone within the organization is essential to the success of reaching objectives. Employees should understand initiatives and be equipped with the knowledge to do their jobs well and feel like engaged members of the organization.

2. Customer Focus

Customer satisfaction is the most essential component to success. When an organization tunes in to client feedback, it shows commitment to quality that strengthens overall performance. Companies must discern customers’ current and future needs.

3. Leadership

A strong management team is a trustworthy and motivating leader for all employees in an organization. The top management has the responsibility of outlining a future for the company and communicating that vision to employees. This builds a productive team with a sense of purpose.

4. Process Approach

Creating, monitoring, and improving processes to achieve the desired outcome is the most efficient way to reach objectives. The PDCA (plan, do, check, adapt) principle promotes a culture of continual improvement within an organization. Implementing processes into quality management gets companies consistent results.

5. Improvement

Every organization’s core goal should be continuous improvement. Identifying and correcting non-conformities, and reevaluating QMS processes will strengthen the company’s longevity. Measuring improvement and adapting based on results is the key to a successful organization.

6. Evidence-Based Decision Making

Beneficial decision-making comes from relevant data and information being analyzed beforehand. Accurate information must be openly communicated, it is immensely important that every decision being made is a well-informed one. If data analysis exposes areas that are not performing well, action must be taken to improve them.

7. Relationship Management

Relationships with suppliers must be built on trust and the mindset of continual improvement. Having mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers and other interested parties will be a competitive advantage for an organization. Creating strategies on how to manage relationships will greatly benefit any company in its pursuit of objectives.

Final Thoughts

The ISO 9001 standard is a great tool for organizations looking to optimize quality management systems to increase customer satisfaction, employee productivity, and overall success. ISO 9001 is an essential guide for any company that is devoted to enhancing its products or services and strives to exceed its customers’ expectations. This standard is a detailed process that offers companies the ability to implement a continually improving, highly efficient QMS. Organizations in over 170 countries have implemented this standard into their business and are ISO 9001 certified.

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