ISO is a confederation that brings together experts to develop common technologies and practices. This voluntary, consensus-based development breeds innovation and provides solutions to global challenges. ISO standards provide a world-class specification for products, services, and systems to ensure they work globally – essentially facilitating international trade.
The union of two organizations resulted in the formation of ISO. The organizations were ISO (International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations) and the UNSCC (United Nations Standard Coordinating Committee). In a bid to unify international standards, over 25 countries met at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London in 1946 and formed the international organization.
The organization has grown significantly since then with more than 161 countries now actively participating in developing new and existing standards. There are over 21,180 international standards developed by the ISO as of today, covering industries such as technology, food safety, agriculture, and healthcare.
Many designated ISO standards cover a variety of areas. ISO 9000, for example, is an international standard for quality management to help organizations be more efficient and meet the needs of customers and the stakeholders.
Why Revisions in ISO are needed
As we mentioned before, one of the primary reasons for the existence of ISO is to update existing standards. Every five years, all ISO standards are reviewed to determine whether a revision is required, by highlighting its relevancy by comparing it to the needs of the marketplace.
The organization reviewed ISO 9000:2008 after five years and it was deemed necessary to transition to ISO 9001:2015.
A three-year window serves as the transition period for organizations who are already ISO 9001:2008 certified so they can migrate their current quality management system to the new updated standard.
Revisions in the ISO 9001 standard
One of the primary reasons why the revision came to be is because globalization has increased since the last ISO 9001 review. It has changed the way organizations do business and they now often operate more complex supply chains than they did in the past. ISO 9001:2015 follows the same overall structure found in other ISO management system standards. The High-Level Structure makes it easy for organizations using multiple management systems.
When compared to the previous ISO 9001 standard, the new version of the standard brings some benefits:
- The new version puts a greater emphasis on leadership engagement
- It will help organizations address risks and opportunities
- The use of simplified language and a common structure and terms will be helpful to organizations using multiple management systems. These management systems can vary from the environment, health, and safety, or businesses continuity.
- More effectively address the supply chain management
- It appears as more user-friendly for organizations such as service and knowledge-based organizations
Organizations have followed the practice of certifying themselves through ISO-certification. It allows them to prove their credibility to prospective clients, while also improving internal efficiency and reduce costs. There are more than one million companies and organizations in over 170 countries who have benefited from the ISO 9001 certification. It is flexible regarding the number of fields it supports, regardless of the organization size.
For organizations who are currently on the ISO 9001:2008 version, they are recommended to update their quality management system according to the requirements outlined in the new version. Each organization is different regarding their operation. Below are some of the tips such organizations can follow to ensure a smooth transition to ISO 9001:2015.
- Go through the published document to get familiarized with the changes. Some of the requirements from the old version may still be present.
- Analyze your organizational and identify the gaps which need to be addressed to meet the new requirements.
- Work to develop an implementation plan.
- The organization must provide training and awareness of the new requirements to all such parties that carry an impact on the effectiveness of the organization.
- Meet the revised requirements by updating the existing quality management system.
- Communicate with the certification body about transitioning to the new version if the organization is ISO-certified.
If an organization does not update to the new ISO 90001 quality management systems under the three-year transition period, its ISO 9001:2008 will no longer be valid. It is crucial for organizations to update their existing certification to continue meeting customer expectations.