ISO 9000/9001: Quality management

The basics:

The ISO 9000 family of standards represents an international consensus on good quality management practices. It consists of standards and guidelines relating to quality management systems and related supporting standards.

Summary:

ISO 9000/9001, owned and maintained by the International Standards Organization (ISO) was first published in 1987, based on BS5750 series. ISO 9001:2000 combined the three standards—9001, 9002, and 9003—into one, called 9001. The current version is ISO 9001:2008, which updated ISO 9001:2000 with no new requirements.The ISO 9000 family addresses ‘Quality management’. 
This means what the organization does to fulfil the customer's quality requirements, 
and applicable regulatory requirements, 
while aiming to enhance customer satisfaction, 
and achieve continual improvement of its performance in pursuit 
of these objectives.ISO 9000:2000 has four major generic business processes covering:·
  • The management of resources·
  • The quality of the product·
  • The maintenance of quality records·
  • The requirement for continual improvement.
ISO 9001:2008 is the standard that provides a set of standardized requirements for a quality management system, regardless of what the user organization does, its size, or whether it is in the private, or public sector. It is the only standard in the family against which organizations can be certified – although certification is not a compulsory requirement of the standard. ISO 9001:2008 lays down what requirements a quality system must meet, but does not dictate how they should be met in any particular organization. This leaves great scope and flexibility for implementation in different business sectors and business cultures, as well as in different national cultures.The other standards in the family cover specific aspects such as fundamentals and vocabulary, performance improvements, documentation, training, and financial and economic aspects.The quality management system standards of the ISO 9000:2000 and ISO 9000:2008 series are based on eight quality management principles: customer focus, leadership, involvement of people, process approach, system approach to management, continual improvement, factual approach to decision making and mutually beneficial supplier relationships. These principles can be used by senior management as a framework to guide their organizations towards improved performance.

Target group:

Managers in any organization that needs to demonstrate that it has consistent quality processes in place to meet customer expectations; auditors

Scope:

ISO 9000 deals with the fundamentals of quality management systems. ISO 9001 deals with the requirements that organizations wishing to meet the standard have to fulfill.The ISO 9001 standard is generalized and abstract; its parts must be carefully interpreted to make sense within a particular organization. Because they are business management guidelines, the ISO 9001 guidelines can be applied to a very diverse range of organizations.

Strengths and pitfalls:

StrengthsISO 9001:2000 provides a single quality management ‘requirements’ standard that is applicable to all organizations, products and services. It is the only standard that can be used for the certification of a quality management system .Pitfalls·         The process is costly and gaining accreditation is time-consuming·         Adhering to ISO 9000 makes processes more consistent; however, it also makes it more difficult to improve and adapt processes·
It may not be appropriate to apply a process such as ISO 9000 to a field requiring creativity, such as software engineering. The standard is especially prone to failure when a company is interested in certification before quality (many companies only register to ISO 9000 because they are forced to do so by the marketplace regardless of whether the standard is appropriate to their business)

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