The world's leading ISO standards are currently being updated, including ISO 9001, which concerns Quality Management. International standards give specifications for products, services and good practice helping to make industry more efficient and effective. They are developed through global consensus and help to break down barriers to international trade. Mike James recently spoke to Dubai TV (Emirates News) about the organisational benefits of ISO management system standards.
Interviewer: What benefits are there from using ISO 9001 quality management system standard (QMS)?
Mike James: Well there are a number benefits actually, but the first thing it does is help an organisation to control and improve the way in which it manufactures or delivers its services. That includes necessary commitment from the top management of an organisation, putting in place processes and a process for continual improvement. And in fact, given that over one million organisations in over 150 countries use the standard to manage their key value creating processes, it’s arguably the most influential piece of business literature ever written.
Interviewer: How diverse are the sectors, the areas of business covered by ISO International Standards?
Mike James: They cover all sectors; manufacturing (including high-tech manufacturing), service, construction, automotive, aerospace, food, professional services, education and we are seeing increasing use by governments.
Interviewer: Do you think it should be compulsory for companies to adopt ISO standards or do you think it should be on a voluntary basis?
Mike James: I believe it should be a voluntary process, because organisations then adopt it in the spirit in which it is meant, in that they should take it within their organisation and use it to help the management manage their organisation more effectively. I feel if it was made compulsory, then to some extent people would not take that up within the spirit in which is meant. So I think the best thing is a very strong endorsement but not necessarily a mandatory approach.
Interviewer: What should we know about ISO 9001? How is it being revised and updated?
Mike James: There's been a general change to the way in which ISO standards will be revised in that they will now adopt a common text and structure under a document called Annex SL. I appreciate that sounds a ‘bit techy’ but it's necessary for me to say that, and that means that from now on all ISO standards will use the same language, the same terminology. This development will drive a process of organisations integrating ISO 9001 (QMS) with other management system standards as well. In particular in relation to your question regarding ISO 9001, one of the big things that will change will be an emphasis on quality leadership from the top of an organisation. Also the adoption of risk and the way in which risk is managed through the management system, both of which are quite significant changes.
Interviewer: Where do you see the future of ISO standards, and is technology changing the way that they are being adopted?
Mike James: I see the future of standards being expanded a great deal. There are additional sectors and countries that will undoubtedly increase the take-up of ISO standards. As I said earlier, I expect organisations to adopt more than just the quality standard; they will include environment and health and safety. And I believe that technology will have a big factor in terms of the way in which organisations want to interact with their certification body, and also the way in which audits will be carried out in the future, which will see the increasing use of remote audits.
Mike James spoke to Dubai TV – Emirate News – during October 2013. Watch the video here. Further information about the ISO Standard Revisions is available at www.lrqa.com/isostandardsupdate.