Oct 15, 2017

ISO9001 – The Quality Management Principles underpinning it

The requirements contained in ISO 9001 have not been randomly decided on by a committee, but are based on solid Quality Management Principles. If you understand these principles, you will be able to better understand the requirements and this will lead to you implementing the requirements into your Quality Management System more successfully.

The ISO9001 requirements for a QMS are based on seven Quality Management Principles, which are all viewed as having equal importance to implementing and maintaining a good quality management system. The principles can be applied to any organizations, whether it supplies products or services, and are important ideas to use as a foundation for any quality management system.

Focus on Customers

The objective of companies is to provide services or products to customers and it is logical that customers should be the main focus of the company. You should start by knowing your customer and what their requirements are, and then ensure that there is always communicate with your customers. The final step in the process is to measure your customer’s satisfaction as a way to measure if their requirements have been fulfilled.

Importance of Leadership by Top Management

It is often noted that if the implementation of the QMS is not driven and supported by the top level of management, it is likely to fail. Although this is not always necessarily true, it is a fact that the more the senior management is involved in the QMS, the greater the possibility that it will succeed. The system will also be better implemented. Top management controls the cash flow of the business and if they realize what the benefits of a quality management system could be, it is more likely that they’ll ensure it is used to achieve maximum advantage.

People Engagement

In our ever-growing competitive world, it is increasingly important that all people within the business create value. To help in ensuring this, the QMS should pay attention to the competence of people to assist them in becoming involved in the processes, thus building value internally. If the organization employs engaged and empowered people, they will become a mobilizing force that ensures the organization meets it objectives.

Process Approach

Understanding, controlling and improving an overall system is often complicated, and this could ultimately lead to failure. Rather than focusing on the overall system, looking at smaller processes that are interrelated will drive your energy toward results that are more predictable and consistent on the individual processes of the system. The entire system can be controlled and improved easier and more effectively by controlling and improving the individual processes.


A company that becomes stagnant in a market that’s becoming increasingly competitive will ultimately be dominated by their competitors. To counter this stress, the company must always improve to bring costs down and maintain or grow their share in the market. This ensures that the company can react to any change in external or internal conditions and enables the creation of new opportunities for growth. If a quality policy has objectives that are in line with the policy, it will work towards improvement. You need to plan objectives and they need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-based (SMART). It will however not work if the company does not commit to change.

Decision making based on evidence

It is more probable that you will achieve desired results if you base your decisions by analyzing and evaluating data, rather than on instinct. This is why ISO9001 focuses on monitoring and measurement in its requirements. To know if a process is working properly or not, we need suitable data. Data becomes even more important to plan and assess improvement properly. This ultimately means that good records are crucial to enable many of the other Principles of Quality Management.

Managing relationships

The communication with interested parties including employees, customers, and suppliers has a huge impact on an organization’s performance, making is critical that you should manage those relationships. Many companies often focus exclusively on the relationships with their supplier network. Nonetheless, relationships with all parties is important so that their impact can be optimized. This will make it more likely that success can be sustained. Effective companies often view these relationships as partnerships and not simply dealings between customers and suppliers.

How to use these principles in your QMS

If you understand these overall principles and focus on them when implementing your QMS, it will be easier to implement the requirements. You will also find that the end result will be more focused on your company’s needs.

Customers understanding the Quality Management Principles have implemented their ISO 9001 quality management systems (QMS) very successfully using MyEasyISO in Kathmandu (Nepal), while ISO 14001 & OHSAS 18001 Health Safety Management Systems (HSE) have been implemented in Prague (Czech Republic).

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