What is your pat answer when a co-worker asks about ISO 9001?



ISO personification questions like "what does ISO want us to do" or "what do we have to do for ISO"?

Thank you


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ISO personification questions like "what does ISO want us to do" or "what do we have to do for ISO"?

Thank you

In my opinion as long as they think we are doing things for ISO, then it will never be "our" system. Instead of answering their question directly, I usually try to answer the question they should be asking first (what do we need to do to succeed), and then answer their question.

For example if someone asks "what does ISO require us to do for design inputs?" I might say something like "the intent of design inputs is to ensure that we understand what our customers need, how they will use the products, and any legal requirements or codes so that we can design and build products to meet their expectations and get repeat business. This is pretty much what ISO invites us to do, along with asking us to make sure that we learn from past experiences, ensure there are no conflicting requirements, and identify and mitigate any risks that could come back to bite us."

The short story is that I like to explain to them the intent and benefits of the requirement while I describe what's required.


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Most successful companies meet the requirements of ISO already. Where a company like that might "fail" an audit is in demonstration (a.k.a. documented information).

Implementation makes sure you have the information required for evidence-based decision making.


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[Cari Spears], that's a comprehensive document, thank you.

Less comprehensive, but this is the text from our new hire orientation document regarding ISO 9001:

ISO 9001 is part of a series of international regulatory standards intended to ensure that a company has processes in place to consistently provide products and services that meet customer requirements.

A company’s certification to ISO 9001 demonstrates that those processes are in place.

What our customers really care about is how effectively we perform these processes.

One of the many requirements of ISO 9001 is that we always work to improve our processes.

Employees participate in internal reviews (referred to as audits) of how well we are performing those processes.

In conducting an audit, we look at our successes and our weaknesses, and find ways to improve the processes. This is not about finding fault with people or their work – this is about finding weaknesses in the systems people participate in as they do their work.

The organization that issues our ISO 9001 certificate comes in and conducts yearly audits, and does the same thing – they look at our successes and our weaknesses, and we find ways to improve the processes. Existing customers may also come in and audit our processes; potential customers audit our processes to find out if we are a supplier they can rely on.

You will learn how your work contributes to our compliance with the ISO 9001 standard. You may be asked to participate in audits, either by providing information about the processes you use to do your work, or by assisting with conducting audits of other processes.


Quite Involved in Discussions
Usually something like:

"I'm not sure, but our procedures state we will do 'this' like 'that', sooooooo......"

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