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Structure of the ISO 9001 standard

The Principles of Quality Management and ISO 9001

ISO 9001 is based on EIGHT principles of quality management, and these in effect underpin the standard and help to define its purpose and direction. They are:

Customer focus

For any forward thinking business concerned about quality improvement, customers and their requirements should dictate much of their strategy. Without customer satisfaction the the business will ultimately fail, or at best tread water. Organisations should understand their customers' needs and strive to meet or even exceed them.


The strategy, direction and ultimate success of any business is to a great degree dependent upon its leadership, along with the environment and even the culture that they encourage within the organisation. A clearly communicated vision and constancy of purpose on the part of management is key to business improvement.

Involvement of people

It is an organisation's people that will actually provide the front line customer service and follow the vision of the leadership, but they need to be encouraged and involved.

Process approach

Some businesses are seemingly more process oriented than others (e.g. car manufacturing), however it is possible to see virtually all business activities and resources in terms of process. Managing in this way will enable greater efficiencies through a clearer view of what is happening.

System approach to management

Management should view all business activities and interrelated processes as an integrated system. This will then encourage greater efficiency and effectiveness throughout the organisation.

Continual improvement

This should be a permanent objective of any organisation that really wishes to succeed and excel within its marketplace. Whatever the organisation does to improve quality and performance should be subject to a continuing cycle of review, and this should result in the further raising of targets and goals to new levels. This is simply necessary to keep ahead of the competition.

Factual approach to decision making

Any key decisions made about direction or strategy should be based on sound data that has been gathered via predetermined business measures.

Mutually beneficial supplier relationships

Traditionally, smaller firms supplied parts or materials to larger manufacturers to meet a specified order. More however can be derived from this kind of relationship by seeing it instead as an interdependent partnership that provides mutual benefits to both sides.

If you want to enquire further how using the quality management principles that underpin ISO 9001 can really help improve your business, then do

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