The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a non-governmental agency focused on setting standards for countries worldwide. It is made up of 164 member countries and is the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards. Each member country is represented in ISO by a standards body; the United States, for example, is represented by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Member organizations collaborate to research and develop standards for services, goods, and processes.
The first standard was developed was title ISO/R1:1951 Standard Reference Temperature for Industrial Length Measurements in 1951. Since then, ISO has been responsible for publishing more than twenty thousand international standards that addresses technology, working conditions, scientific testing, societal issues, quality, and more.
What is ISO 9000?
The ISO 9000 series of standards is a family of quality management standards for supply chains and operations. Within that series is ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems (QMS) – Requirements. This specific standard was first composed in 1987 and has under gone major changes over the years with the latest update released in 2015. This specific standard is the only standard within its series that organizations are able to get certified. It employs existing Lean principles, Kaizen concepts, and standardized processes to improve efficiency and foster a culture of continuous improvement.
ISO 9000 is rooted in seven quality management principles: customer focus, leadership, engagement of people, process approach, improvement, evidence-based decision making, and relationship management; ISO 9001:2015 is the requirements and organization must meet to fulfill the standard. Organizations who are applying for ISO 9001 certification are audited based on a sample of sites, functions, products, processes, etc. Problems (or nonconformities) are identified and a certificate will be issued to organizations with no major issues.
ISO 9001:2015 is considered to be the most successful standard in the organization’s history. This series of standards has been so popular that is has paved the way for the development of other management system standards:
- ISO 1400: Environmental Management Systems
- ISO 26000: Guidance on Social Responsibility
- ISO: 31000: Risk Management Principles and Guidelines