5 things you need to know about the ISO9001:2015 update

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Late 2015 the standards committee introduced to the world a quality standard that is designed to fit any type and size of business. Our clients have asked us many questions about the new standard. What does it all mean? How do I apply this to my business and drive quality change for the better?

Let’s look at 5 key points we are asked about the most.

#1. Risk based approach – no more ‘preventive’

In ISO9001:2015 risk-based thinking has replaced preventive action. This is great for many reasons:

i. Most people didn’t ‘get’ what preventive action meant.
ii. Risk-based thinking applies at every level of your business activities. From over taking a car on the highway to taking over the world.
iii. It’s not all negative! Risk-based thinking can help you to discover opportunities that you didn’t know existed.

Think about driving a car. Preventive action would be to not drive at all, taking this action would prevent an accident. Risk-based thinking would allow you to consider the risks of the car, conditions, driver, distance, etc. to take the best course of action while still getting to the destination.

#2. Context of your Organisation – Huh?

In very basic terms, context of your organisation is:

i. What you do?
ii. Where you do it?
iii. How you do it?
iv. When you do it?
v. Who you do it with?
vi. What you need to use to do it?

The outcome of answering these questions may be extensive or simple. It will depend on the size of your business, your people, market and the complexity of your processes.

To give you a simple example:

What we do? – We race cars.
Where we do it? – On Australian race tracks
How we do it? – Ship the race cars in trucks to the race track
When we do it? – When there is a race to enter.
Who we do it with? – Experienced race car drivers
What we need to use to do it? – Cars, drivers, fuel, mechanics, entry fee, etc.

Of course, there would be much more to these answers. This is just to get your thinking on the right track.

#3. Demonstrated leadership

Leadership should display behaviours aligned with the organisations values, objectives and vision. This includes:

i. Providing needed resources
ii. Giving your people trust and freedom to act with responsibility and accountability
iii. Setting meaningful and challenging objectives- no more ‘just’ keeping the auditor happy.

Demonstrating leadership is displaying integrity, it is how top management ‘show up’ in their organisation. Who are your team leaders?

#4. Interested parties

Interested parties are people, businesses or departments who have a need of your organisation.

Remember in context we asked, ‘who we do it with’? In the example, we said it was the race car drivers. They are an interested party. Others may include:

i. Customers
ii. Suppliers
iii. Employees
iv. Regulatory or Government Departments
Now you don’t need to meet the need of every interested party, that would be impossible. What you do need to know is what those needs are and check them for changes so you can act if required.

#5. Objectives

The non-official definition of an objective is a ‘Big Hairy Goal’. The 2015 standard requires organisations to and start getting real on what they want to achieve through their quality objectives.

Take driving to a destination. We are at point A and we want to get to point B, we need to understand:

i. Where we want to go & why?
ii. How do we know when we get there, what does it look like?
iii. When do we expect to get there?
iv. What route are we going to take?
v. How do we know if we are on the correct route, what signs we need to look for?
vi. When and how will we check the signs along the way?
vii. Who is the driver & what vehicle do they need?

When we arrive, we check to see if we got there as planned, what did we do well on the trip, were there any detours, could we have avoided them and what lessons did we learn.

If you want to be quality certified or need to transition from ISO9001:2008 get into gear now as time is running out.

For more information on what you need to know about implementing or transitioning to the ISO9001:2015 Quality Management System enquire below.

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