ISO 9000 and ISO 9001 are terms that are often used interchangeably when discussing quality management at an organization, but they actually refer to separate things. While both are related to quality assurance and ISO certification, they have distinct differences in their fundamentals and approach.

Understanding the difference between the two is crucial for any organization looking to implement a process approach to quality management and to follow the quality management principles outlined by the International Organization for Standardization, commonly known as ISO.

In this article we’ll cover the basics, benefits, and differences between ISO 9000 and ISO 9001, and address whether ISO 9001 is still relevant.

What Is ISO 9000?

ISO 9000 is an internationally recognized standard for quality management. It helps organizations to assure that their products and services meet customer needs and regulatory requirements. Approved by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the standard provides a framework that helps organizations achieve customer satisfaction and continual improvement through a process-based approach.

ISO 9000 standards are not prescriptive. On the contrary, they are designed to be adaptable to different industries and organization types, promoting effective decision-making within the organization.

What Are the Benefits of ISO 9000 Compliance?

ISO 9000 compliance brings numerous benefits, including:

  1. Improved quality. ISO 9000 compliance helps organizations align their processes with international quality management standards, to improve the organization’s products and services. The standard requires organizations to maintain a customer focus and to assess customer expectations regularly through internal audits, which can lead to fewer errors and customer complaints. Organizations can improve their quality management system and achieve sustained success by taking corrective action.
  2. Increased efficiency. ISO 9000 provides guidance on process management and continuous improvement, helping organizations to align their operations with international best practices. This can reduce waste and increase efficiency, leading to cost savings and improved profitability. Internal audits help organizations to identify areas for improvement and assure compliance with the standards, while certification by an accredited body can demonstrate an organization’s commitment to excellence.
  3. Enhanced reputation. ISO 9000 certification is recognized worldwide and can enhance an organization’s reputation in the eyes of consumers and stakeholders by demonstrating the organization’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. This can attract new customers, retain existing ones, and improve the organization’s standing in the marketplace.
  4. Better risk management. ISO 9000 compliance helps organizations identify and manage risks that may affect the quality of their products or services. By implementing a systematic approach to quality management, organizations can identify potential risks and take measures to mitigate those harms.
  5. Improved supplier relationships. ISO 9000 compliance can improve an organization’s relationships with suppliers by establishing clear quality requirements and expectations. By working with ISO-certified suppliers, organizations can ensure that they receive high-quality products and services that meet their needs and expectations. This can help reduce supply chain disruptions and improve overall relationship management.

What Is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is a specific standard within the ISO 9000 family of standards. (ISO 9000 is a standard unto itself; and there are other standards in the 9000 family as well, beyond the scope of this article.) ISO 9001 outlines the requirements for a quality management system (QMS) that an organization must meet to be certified as ISO-compliant. These requirements include documentation, management commitment, process management, continuous improvement, and customer satisfaction.

The standard emphasizes the importance of meeting customer requirements and managing relationships with stakeholders. It also emphasizes the need for a process approach to quality management, which involves systematically identifying and managing business processes to ensure they meet the organization’s objectives.

Essentially, ISO 9001 is the internationally recognized standard for quality management systems. It is crucial for organizations that want to demonstrate their ability to consistently provide products and services that fulfill regulatory requirements.

Is ISO 9001 Obsolete?

No, it is not. In fact, ISO 9001 is one of the world’s most widely recognized and implemented standards. ISO standards undergo review every five years and are updated as necessary to assure their continued relevance and effectiveness for organizations of any size or type.

The latest version of ISO 9001 was released in 2015, and formally is known as ISO 9001:2015. It introduced several improvements to the standard. These changes include a greater emphasis on risk-based thinking, increased focus on organizational context, and a more flexible approach towards documentation requirements.

For example, ISO 9001:2015 employs simplified language, a common structure, and terminology that benefit organizations utilizing multiple management systems, such as those for health and safety, the environment, or business continuity. The updated standard provides better guidance for supply chain management and is more user-friendly for service and knowledge-based organizations.

ISO 9001:2015 is the current version of the standard, and it demonstrates an organization’s commitment to meeting customer and regulatory requirements, continuously improving its processes and products or services, and staying up-to-date with the latest industry best practices.

RiskOptics for ISO Compliance

Employing reliable, high-quality governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) software is recommended to attain ISO compliance. The RiskOptics ROAR Platform is a risk and compliance management solution that helps organizations identify areas where they comply with ISO standards and where gaps exist.

ROAR can provide guidance on how to fill those gaps to achieve compliance, and can also keep organizations informed about the status of their compliance programs, leading to a faster, smoother, and more efficient path to ISO compliance.

Book a demo today to see how the ROAR Platform can assist you in managing compliance.