Important Differences Between ISO 9001:2015 and 2008

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While you are no doubt aware that ISO 9001 is the most popular standard for quality management systems in the world, the organization is constantly updating its standards to keep up with industry changes. Today we’re going to review the key differences between ISO 9001:2015 and 2008 to help you keep on top of the increasing expectations for businesses worldwide.

A Focus on Risk-Based Thinking

When it comes to comparing ISO 9001:2008 with the 2015 QMS guidelines, the main difference you’ll notice is the new methodology for reducing the chance of error. 2015’s standards place a large emphasis on risk-based thinking, whereas 2008 took a more process-based approach. The 2015 standards encourage companies to take preventative action, with risk analysis and improvement strategies helping businesses to stay one step ahead of the competition.

As a result of these changes, there were some reductions to the documentation mandates in 2015. Instead of forcing businesses to use specific documentation, this new approach encourages you to assess the areas of risk for your business and then develop plans to reduce this risk in the future. These new quality management standard work practices encourage you to think ahead instead of simply reacting to issues as they appear.

A More Dynamic Role for Documentation

Individual risk assessments are now the driving force behind documentation, as opposed to simply undertaking paperwork exercises for no reason. This helps to minimize the amount of unnecessary paperwork for companies, which encourages them to use their time to focus on QMS processes within the organization. These changes in 2015 came about as a result of acknowledging that paperwork was often used to check boxes, as opposed to offering value to businesses. In the 9001:2015 standards, paperwork is now used for continual improvement, offering companies the chance to regularly assess the changes they need to make to improve safety and efficiency.

Standardize Knowledge Within Your Organization

Within the ISO 9001: 2015 standards, there’s a new emphasis on organizational knowledge. This refers to encouraging everyone in your business to understand the key processes which need to be followed, as opposed to select business leaders keeping this knowledge to themselves. This is a huge issue within companies of all shapes and sizes, but clause 7.1.6 dictates that companies need to acquire and standardize their knowledge. For managers and business owners, this will help to minimize issues during periods of high staff turnover and reduce the chance of incorrect information being shared. Quality management is all about planning ahead for the future. By putting these standard work policies into place, you’ll ensure you protect yourself from any challenges that come your way.

Making Information Accessible to Everyone

In many businesses today, finding information can often be a huge challenge to employees. ISO 9001: 2015 encourages greater accessibility of documentation. No matter what type of business you own and operate, employees now need to have access to the knowledge that’s required to do their job to the best of their ability. This could mean keeping documents on the shop floor or within a manager’s office so that it can be accessed by anyone and at any time. As well as documentation being present in workplaces, it needs to also be accessible within global businesses. Work to find ways to offer documentation in different languages and within every country you operate in.

While making this information more accessible is a huge part of ISO 9001: 2015, the documentation must also be controlled. Ensure your business has regulations in place about who can edit documentation, and always ensure you keep it up to date. This will help to share relevant and correct information with everyone in your organization. By using QMS practices to encourage standard work processes within your organization, you’ll notice higher levels of consistency and efficiency in the future.

Although ISO 9001: 2008 and 2015 were only published seven years apart, we’ve seen a huge shift in the way businesses operate during this time. With advancements in technology and further globalization within most industries, it was certainly time for ISO 9001 to enter into the 21st century with the new updates. For businesses around the world, it’s critical to have a strong quality management system in place. With this risk-based thinking approach, you can ensure that you stay on top of potential issues and create documentation that will be useful to everyone in your organization in the future.

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