The roots of The International Standards Organisation (ISO) can be traced all the way back to World War 2, where a demand for better safety standards within the factories that developed explosive devices grew. The ISO 9000, or BS 5750 series of standards as it was once known, was introduced in 1979, meaning businesses had to comply with strict production procedures in order to make workplaces safer. The ISO 9001 standard, built on these original outlines, was formally introduced in 1987 as many companies became increasingly frustrated with the original BS 5750 guidelines as these were specifically geared towards manufacturing businesses, resulting in them being a poor fit for a number of other companies and industries.
ISO 9001 was then created to address these issues and offer a universal framework for quality management that all businesses and industries can adhere to. Despite ISO 9001 being designed to be product and industry-friendly, the ever-changing and evolving nature of the business world meant that there was a need for further updates and revisions.
The first of these revisions came in 1994, where the ISO’s intention was to move the focus of the original standard to quality management systems (QMS) that monitored and checked products at every stage involved in creating them instead of just at the finished stage. This change focused on quality assurance using anticipatory actions, rather than correcting any created issues. QMS, in essence, moved from a ‘cure’ to ‘prevention’ state.
In 2000, ISO 9001 was once again changed. The purpose this time was to simplify the processes and documentation involved so that companies will be less burdened with quality control procedures if they didn’t actually produce new products. Another aim of this revision was to increase the involvement of upper management in order to integrate quality control throughout the entirety of the business, connecting all levels of company hierarchy. The final goal of this update was to increase effectiveness through the use of process performance metrics, where continual process improvement and the monitoring of customer satisfaction became paramount.
More Changes in 2008
The changes to ISO 9001 that were seen in 2008 were minor in comparison to previous changes. Here, clearer clarifications were made to existing standards and enhancing the consistency with other ISO standards (ISO 14001), with no new requirements.
Latest Revision in 2015
The most recent change to ISO 9001 came in 2015 after it was concluded that a new QMS model for the next 25 years had to be created. As a result of this, work on created a new version if ISO 9001 began, starting with updated quality management principles. The change came not with the scope of the standard, but rather the core terms, to allow greater integration with other international management systems. This update also made the standard less prescriptive than previous versions, focusing much more on performance. This was accomplished by incorporating a process approach with risk-based thinking, resulting in no one system being the same in every business. Communication was a made a key area with the change, with the need for a quality representative eliminated, there is much more emphasis placed on everyone within the business having an influence in the development and maintenance of the QMS.
The standard is now seen as an ever-evolving document, being continually edited and updated with input from a number of trade committees and organisations with quality management know-how from across the globe, in order to stay as relevant to worldwide business as possible.
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