ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work. ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of electrotechnical standardization.
The ISO 9000 family of standards listed below has been developed to assist organizations, of all types and sizes, to implement and operate effective quality management systems.
- ISO 9000:2000 describes fundamentals of quality management systems and specifies the terminology for quality management systems.
- ISO 9001:2000 specifies requirements for a quality management system where an organization needs to demonstrate its ability to provide products that fulfil customer and applicable regulatory requirements and aims to enhance customer satisfaction.
- ISO 9004:2000 provides guidelines that consider both the effectiveness and efficiency of the quality management system. The aim of this standard is improvement of the performance of the organization and satisfaction of customers and other interested parties.
- ISO 19011:2002 provides guidance on auditing quality and environmental management systems.
Together they form a coherent set of quality management system standards facilitating mutual understanding in national and international trade.
Quality management principles
To lead and operate an organization successfully, it is necessary to direct and control it in a systematic and transparent manner. Success can result from implementing and maintaining a management system that is designed to continually improve performance while addressing the needs of all interested parties. Managing an organization encompasses quality management amongst other management disciplines.
Eight quality management principles have been identified that can be used by top management in order to lead the organization towards improved performance.
1. Customer focus
Organizations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, should meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations.
Leaders establish unity of purpose and direction of the organization. They should create and maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organization's objectives.
3. Involvement of people
People at all levels are the essence of an organization and their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organization's benefit.
4. Process approach
A desired result is achieved more efficiently when activities and related resources are managed as a process.
5. System approach to management
Identifying, understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to the organization's effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its objectives.
6. Continual improvement
Continual improvement of the organization's overall performance should be a permanent objective of the organization.
7. Factual approach to decision making
Effective decisions are based on the analysis of data and information.
8. Mutually beneficial supplier relationships
An organization and its suppliers are interdependent and a mutually beneficial relationship enhances the ability of both to create value.
These eight quality management principles form the basis for the quality management system standards within the ISO 9000 family.