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Transition to ISO 9001:2015: Starting the Journey

The official introduction of ISO 9001: 2015 in September provides an opportunity for a completely fresh look at Quality Management Systems (QMS). While at first it may appear that there are many changes within the detail of the standard, it is important to remember that the key management principle of CUSTOMER FOCUS remains unchanged.

The most visible change from the 2008 standard is the adoption of the High Level Structure. This will form the basis of all ISO management systems going forward to give them all the same look and feel along with identical core text and common definitions. This will greatly aid organizations in integrating multiple management system standards effectively and efficiently. For example, their management systems for quality (ISO 9001), environment (ISO 14001) and safety (ISO 45001), which will replace OSHAS 18001 next year) will all have the same structure and definitions, thus avoiding conflicts, duplication, and potential misunderstanding across standards.

Within the standard and the guiding principles, there is now much more emphasis on LEADERSHIP (section 5) and ENGAGEMENT rather than management and involvement. This is consistent with other organizational development processes that move from a basic implementation of the management principles to one that is embraced and ‘lived’ by the whole organization.

This engaged activity needs to both reflect and support the CONTEXT OF THE ORGANIZATION (section 4). This is a new section that defines the external and internal issues that can impact what the organization does not only in its current activities but also in its strategic direction. This allows for the management system to not only cover legal, regulatory, or contractual requirements, but also more forward-looking market assurance and governance goals. The scope of the management system needs careful definition to ensure it is meeting the needs and expectations of all interested parties.

This more forward-looking and proactive approach is also reflected in PLANNING (section 6) and IMPROVEMENT (section 10) where there is a new focus on RISK and OPPORTUNITY management all within the context of the organization. This provides greater emphasis on improving processes to not just prevent non-conformities, but also on improving products and services to meet known and predicted requirements. For the electronics industries in particular, this last requirement is critical. Together we face demanding customer needs to meet advanced technology node requirements in terms of purity and process control; the revised ISO 9001 quality management system provides guidelines to help materials providers work toward these requirements in a structured and consistent manner.

We know our customers’ requirements continually evolve and our management systems need to reflect this. This new ISO standard provides impetus to once again revise and update our quality and other management systems to ensure customer needs are met both now and in the future. Our teams are actively planning for the ISO 9001: 2015 changes and we are happy to discuss our high-level planning with our partners.

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This blog post was contributed by Greg Shuttleworth, Technical Quality Manager, Linde Electronics. For more information, contact Francesca Brava at francesca.brava@linde.com.

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