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Quality knowledge base - article QA-0008
Updated on 05-01-2017

ISO 9000 - Quality Management

The ISO 9000 family of standards defines the substance and the key elements of Quality Management (QM). The series of ISO 9000 standards not only help companies, organizations and other entities to elaborate and maintain their quality focused operation, but also support them to improve it.
The collection of standards was created by ISO (International Organization for Standardization).
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Key Features
According to the ISO 9000 quality standard series, seven principles have been defined to effectively manage quality:
  • Customer focus
  • Leadership
  • Engagement of people
  • Process approach
  • Improvement
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Relationship management
The ISO 9000 family contains four major standards, all are in close connection to quality management:
  • ISO 9000:2015 - Quality management systems - fundamentals and vocabulary
  • ISO 9001:2015 - Quality management systems - requirements
  • ISO 9004:2009 - Managing for the sustained success of an organization - A quality management approach
  • ISO 19011:2011 – Guidelines for auditing management systems
According to ISO: the ISO 9000 covers the basic concepts and language, ISO 9001 sets out the requirements of a quality management system, ISO 9004 focuses on how to make a quality management system more efficient and effective, while ISO 19011 sets out guidance on internal and external audits of quality management systems.
Several other quality or quality management related standards and technical specifications exist (e.g. ISO/TS 16949:2009, ISO 10001 – 10019, etc.), but these are not part of the ISO 9000 family. Of course it doesn’t mean there are no connections, on the contrary, for example the ISO/TS 16949 technical specification is in close conjunction with ISO 9001, as the latter serves as the basis of ISO/TS 16949.
Having an ISO certification means many benefits to companies and other business entities:
  • Credibility, increased customer satisfaction.
  • Meeting customer requirements.
  • Quality improvement.
  • Management focus, more transparent and more controllable processes.
  • Risk management.
  • Financial benefits (less scrap cost, less reactive quality cost, more and more customers require ISO certification).
  • Directly and indirectly increase the quality mindset of employees.
  • Generally accepted (World-wide), for some companies, certification is a contractual must.
ISO is developing international standards, but ISO is not a certification body, thus it does not issue ISO certificates. The entities, which are allowed to audit and certify companies and organizations are called certification bodies. Due to this fact, the term "ISO certified" is completely wrong. Instead, the "ISO 9001:2005 certified" must be used on the packaging of a product, on a website, or on paper (but not on the product!). It’s also important to note, that you can only be officially certified to ISO 9001:2015 from the ISO 9000 family.
Choosing a certification body to work with is not easy, so the right one must be considered with care. The most important factors are:
  • The certification body must be accredited (though it does not mean a non-accredited company is useless, but accreditation recognizes, that the certification body operates according to the international standards).
  • It is advisable to check if the certification body acts according to the CASCO standard.
  • It is also a positive point, if the certification body is present on the market for years, and has prestige and credibility.
  • The ISO 9000 standard family lays down the substance and the key elements of Quality Management (QM).
  • ISO 9000 was first published in 1987 (it was released as ISO 9000:1987).
  • The ISO 9000 series sets up eight quality management principles, which are the basis of quality management.
  • ISO 9001 standard is a part of the ISO 9000 family.
  • ISO develops international standards, but does not certify companies (i.e. ISO is not a certification body).
  • More than 1.5 million companies and organizations were certified according to one of the 9 quality management system standards in 2015, in more than 170 countries (source).
Relevant Topics
Quality Basics and Fundamentals
Quality Basics
Quality Basics and Fundamentals
Quality Management (QM)
Quality Basics and Fundamentals
Quality Management System (QMS)
Quality Standards and Guidelines
VDA Quality Standards
Fact sheet
General information about the family of ISO 9000 standards.

Topic / Article: ISO 9000 - Quality Management
Term Category: Quality Standards and Guidelines
Business Sector: All
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