The early bird catches on swiftly

The early bird catches on swiftly

Poor quality could be detrimental to a business … luckily there are some international quality standards to regulate almost everything. We feature two that are being revised – ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2015

These standards are developed by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), an independent, non-governmental membership organisation, which is the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards.

“We are made up of our 163 member countries, which are the bodies for national standards around the world.
A central secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland,” the ISO’s website relates.

“International standards make things work. They give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. ISO has published more than 19 500 international standards covering almost every industry; from technology, food safety and agriculture to healthcare.” These standards are revised from time to time …

First is ISO 9001, Quality Management Systems. “The ISO 9000 family addresses various aspects of quality management and contains some of the best-known standards,” the Organisation points out.

It notes that ISO 14001, Environmental Management Systems, is currently under review. “The ISO 14000 family of standards provides practical tools for companies and organisations that are looking to manage their environmental responsibilities.”

Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance Limited (LRQA) Southern Africa is a leading provider of independent assessment services including: certification, validation, verification and training – across a broad spectrum of standards and schemes. It points out that the Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) for ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2015 were both expected to be issued in July.

“When they are published later in the year, it will signify the first time that specific activities undertaken by organisations will start counting towards their transition to the final standards,” says Steve Williams, LRQA’s system and governance manager.

Williams and other LRQA technical experts have confirmed the approach that they believe organisations should take to ready themselves for a transition to the new standards.

“The common management system framework (introduced by Annex SL) means that both ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 will contain a number of changes throughout; including terms and definitions being standardised. Based on this, and in line with all new and revised ISO Standards, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 will be structured into ten standard clauses,” explains Williams.

“By purchasing the FDIS versions of the standards, organisations will help those responsible for managing the transition process to have a full understanding of the new and changing requirements in each standard. It will also enable them to think about the necessary steps they have to take to facilitate a smooth transition.

“Organisations should ensure that they understand the specific areas that contain new, explicit requirements (which include organisational context, knowledge and risk-based thinking) as well as the areas of the standard that have been revised or contain more specific information (such as the importance of senior management engagement in both ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015).

“ISO 9001:2015 is also expected to contain more focus on process and change management, while it is anticipated that ISO 14001:2015 will have an emphasis on policy and the need for processes,” explains Williams.

For any organisation, the degree of change required depends on a range of factors, with the majority of these being unique to the context of the organisation and its own management systems.

With all the major ISO standards being revised, LRQA aims to communicate the changes. “We offer a range of assessment services as well public and in-house training courses – all aimed at helping to ensure that organisations worldwide have a smooth transition to the new standards.”

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