Achieving ISO 9001:2015 with Business Process Management (BPM)

Emma Harris
Posted: 06/15/2017

Achieving ISO 9001:2015 is proving to be a real challenge for many organisations and the deadline for transition is September 2018 - which will be here before we know it. With that in mind, in this article I cover an overview of ISO 9001:2015, signpost an Expert Guide to Achieving ISO 9001:2015 and set out a checklist for the type of quality management system that you will need to get you there.

Firstly who is ISO?

ISO is the International Organisation for Standardisation. It is an independent, non-governmental international organisation with a membership of 161 national standards bodies. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards to support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

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What are International Standards?

International Standards set out specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. Their aim is to facilitate international trade.

ISO 9000 Standards

The ISO 9000 family addresses various aspects of quality management and contains some of ISO’s best known standards. The standards provide guidance and tools for organisations who want to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customers' requirements, and that quality is consistently improved.

Standards in the ISO 9000 family include:

  • ISO 9001:2015 - sets out the requirements of a quality management system
  • ISO 9000:2015 - covers the basic concepts and language
  • ISO 9004:2009 - focuses on how to make a quality management system more efficient and effective
  • ISO 19011:2011 - sets out guidance on internal and external audits of quality management systems


ISO 9001:2015

ISO 9001 is the standard that sets out the requirements for a quality management system. It helps organisations to be more efficient and improve customer satisfaction.

It has been updated fairly recently and the latest version is version ISO 9001:2015. The deadline for transition to ISO 9001:2015 is September 2018.

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This standard is based on seven quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement.

Quality Management Principles (QMP)

The seven quality management principles are:

QMP 1 – Customer focus: Meeting – and exceeding – your customers’ current and future needs is the primary focus of quality management.

QMP 2 – Leadership: Having a unified direction and mission that comes from strong leadership is essential in promoting the right culture.

QMP 3 – Engagement of people: Competent, empowered and engaged people at all levels of your organisation.

QMP 4 – Process approach: Understanding activities as processes that link together and function as a system to yield more effective and efficient results.

QMP 5 – Improvement: Successful organisations have an ongoing improvement focus.

QMP 6 – Evidence-based decision making: Ensuring your decisions are based on the analysis and evaluation of data is more likely to produce the desired result.

QMP 7 – Relationship management: Identifying the important relationships you have with interested parties such as your suppliers – and setting out a plan to manage them – will drive sustained success.


Certification to ISO 9001:2015

Certification to ISO 9001:2015 requires passing an audit to check that your quality management system delivers on the requirements of the Standard as underpinned by these seven QMPs.


How do I get started?

ISO starts to answers this question in its brochure, ‘ISO 9001:2015 How to use it’ with the following:

“There are many ways an organisation can implement a quality management system…but here are a few tips to get you started.

Tip 1 – Define your objectives. Why do you want to implement the standard?

Tip 2 – Make sure senior management is on board. It is crucial that everyone – from the top down – is supportive of the initiative and its objectives.

Tip 3 – Identify your organisation’s key processes for meeting your objectives as well as your customers’ needs. Within each of these processes, make sure you understand your customers’ requirements and can guarantee that these are met – each and every time. This will form the basis of your quality management system.”

For a more detailed answer, download the white paper: An Expert Guide to Achieving ISO 9001:2015, written by Mark Braham, CQP, FCQI, Head of Business Assurance at The AA and (amongst other things) a CQI category A liaison at ISO/TC176, the international working committee responsible for writing ISO 9001:2015.

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Business Process Management (BPM)

To my mind the only way to achieve a quality management system which delivers on these seven quality management principles is by extending the system well beyond the quality department and taking it organisation-wide with a Business Process Management approach.

The requirements of ISO 9001:2015 are such that the quality management system needed for certification must deliver real benefit to the organisation and not just ticks in boxes to deliver the ISO badge.

This aligns with the Chartered Quality Institute’s (CQI) belief in the ‘need to create a world with quality at the heart of every organisation’ - and is a very positive step forward.

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How to choose a BPM system to achieve ISO 9001:2015

There are a great number of quality systems which deliver a Business Process Management approach and which one your organisation chooses will depend on your objectives for ISO 9001:2015 (remember Tip 1 above). However a checklist against the following is essential:

  • Delivers an end-to-end process model of how your organisation/supply chain currently works
  • Is easily accessible and easily searchable by everyone in your organisation/supply chain
  • Identifies responsibility and accountability as a minimum
  • Allows data capture against the processes to enable evidence-based decision making
  • Is designed and structured to engage your specific end users
  • Offer the capability to model differing options for process improvement

If you would like more detail on this, have a look at the article: The Top 10 things your Quality Management System (QMS) must deliver

Are you confident that your organisation is on track to transition to ISO 9001:2015 by September 2018?

If you aren’t sure and would like to have a look at a Quality Management System which supports the seven quality management principles, please click on the GO HERE button below.

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Emma Harris
Posted: 06/15/2017

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