ISO 9001 is an ISO number that many people the world over are familiar with. It refers to a specific standard that outlines the requirements for certifying a quality management system within an organization. But even if you know what ISO 9001 refers to you may be wondering what the significance of the number 9001 is.
What is the meaning of 9001 in ISO 9001? The 9001 in the title is simply the identification number of the standard. ISO 9001 is part of the ISO 9000 family of standards and follows the same line of numbering so it is obvious they are related.
Every document published by the International Organization for Standardization has a unique number assigned to it so that it can be easily located by anyone that needs it. Most times, these numbers are randomly generated with no true logic behind them. It's important that no two documents share the same number.
There are a number of standards related to ISO 9001, a lot of which don't share similar numbers with it (such as ISO 14001 or ISO 45001). Continue reading to learn more about ISO 9001 and the standards surrounding it.
The International Organization for Standardization has many different standards, of which ISO 9001 is one of the most recognizable. It is part of the ISO 9000 family of quality standards and is the only standard that you must be certified for.
The 9001 in the title is simply the identification number of the specific document. It is followed by a revision number that shows what version is the most recent. ISO 9001:2015 is the most up to date version of the standard currently.
When it comes to the numbering of documents, no number can be used more than once. There isn't truly any rhyme or reason for why 9001 was used for this specific document. It correlates to being part of the ISO 9000 series of standards for quality management systems.
The ISO 9000 series is a group of quality management standards that were first established in 1987. They set out certain guidelines and requirements for how a quality management system should be run. The standards apply to a company's process of production and not the products themselves.
ISO 9001 is the main structure for the ISO 9000 series of documents with the other standards providing further information and guidelines. These standards are not specific to a certain industry. They can apply to any manufacturing, distribution, or service organization.
There were once three different quality management system standards that were separated by what their function was. These three standards were eventually combined into the ISO 9001 standard that we know today.
There have been different standards based upon ISO 9001 that are geared toward certain industries. These standards were developed so that the ISO 9001 quality standards would be better tailored to their specific requirements.
These different interpretations are incredibly useful in making sure auditors are trained to look for the requirements that apply only to that industry. It keeps every single organization within that field from having to modify the ISO 9001 standard themselves.
Depending on the nature of each of these documents, they may contain all of the same standards of ISO 9001 with additional requirements on top or they may be integrated along with ISO 9001.
There are a number of other standards that were created in order to support the ISO 9000 series and provide even more information for anyone pursuing certification. These standards don't share in the same numbering process for their documents.
These standards were developed to further aid in the understanding of ISO 9000 and the requirements put forth by ISO 9001. They give a clearer picture to certain areas of the certification process for anyone that wants to know more.
If your organization is interested in registering to certify your quality management system, ISO 9001 is where you should turn. It is the standard that outlines all of the requirements your system will have to meet to receive certification.
Sections 4-10 are the sections that specify what requirements an organization must comply with in order to be certified.
It is vital to the certification process for anyone involved in it to understand all of the requirements in the ISO 9001 standard. It pays off to buy and thoroughly read all of the clauses within the standard to get a good grasp on them.
Organizations become certified in ISO 9001 to prove to their customers that they are committed to consistently provide products and services that meet satisfactory requirements. ISO 9001 is a support system for your organization in keeping up with your quality management system.
Transitioning to an entirely new system or even adapting an existing system to meet requirements can seem a daunting task. In the end, the process is extremely worth it and provides your organization with greater efficiency in getting things done. Once everything is set into motion your quality management system will flow seamlessly together.
With defined responsibilities, there will be an increase in the overall morale of your employees. Following the standard requirements ensures that consistency and dedicated quality which makes customers happier as well.
Being required to keep certain records and documentation up to date holds everyone accountable and makes the process of record-keeping much easier. Having a solid paper trail provides stability within your organization.
An important part of the ISO 9001 requirements is that there is evidence that your quality management system is continually improving. Emphasis on audits, reviews, and data collection make identifying room and need for improvement easy to pick out and implement. This ensures only the best decisions are made on behalf of your organization.
There are plenty of reasons why ISO 9001 could benefit your organization. Even if it seems like a large undertaking at first, it will be worth it once that certification is in hand.
Regardless of the meaning of the number within its title, ISO 9001 remains to be the highest standard in providing quality throughout the globe. The requirements it sets in place within an organization ensures everything is kept in balance.
ISO 9001 is just one part of the larger ISO 9000 family, and its number is its identification. The 9001 makes the standard easy to find and relates it to the series its part of. Not all related documents share similar numbers though. No one number can be reused as that would create confusion.
Now you can see the expansive scope of ISO 9001 and the standards that help support it and make it more easily understood. All of these things together will aid you in implementing ISO 9001 in your organization.
Written: 30th July 2019
Author: Richard Keen
Richard is our Compliance Director, responsible for content & product development.
But most importantly he is ISO's biggest fanboy and a true evangelist of the standards.
Learn more about Richard