When considering the implemention of an ISO9001 system do you have an understanding of what it is about? What does the standard require you to do? Produce loads of documentation, procedures and red tape maybe?

This article has been designed to give you an idea of what the standard should make you do.  How you achieve this is down to you.

Let’s start from the very beginning by asking – What is a Quality System?
A Quality System is the processes of a company that ensure products and services meet customer requirements. In other words a Quality System is all the things that are done to ensure the customer gets what they expect.

All companies have a Quality System from the moment they are set up. That is, ALL companies. From the multinational corporate giant to the sandwich shop on the corner. Without a Quality System customers would not get anything. A Quality System usually develops organically to meet a company’s needs to cope with the demands of their customers and the products and services they provide.

So does this mean our company meets the requirements of ISO9001 already?
Maybe, but it is unlikely although a lot of the requirements will already have the foundations in place to be built on.

So what is ISO9001?
ISO9001 provides a model for a Quality System which if followed will continuously improve performance resulting in increased customer satisfaction. It is a tool to be used by Management to provide focus and direction on what a Quality System can look like and provide benefits to the company.

It is designed to be applicable to any organisation, whether this is a one man band or a multinational company or a training organisation or one part of a larger company or a football team, anything. As such the wording can seem a little oblique. Reading it all in one hit will leave some baffled, but reading it in small sections when applying the requirements can help to provide understanding. For instance when looking at a calibration system do this with reference to clause 7.6 Control of monitoring and measuring equipment. It can provide focus on what is necessary.


So what does the ISO9001 Quality System model look like?

The following pages are designed to give you an idea of the main themes of the standard.

Top Management Requirements

Process Approach

Quality Objectives

How to control processes

Process measurements

Customer satisfaction