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ISO 9001 - So where are you in your transition?

By Linda Jackson on 01 February 2017

We have had the new version of ISO 9001 for over a year. I think that means it is no longer new?

So where are you in the transition process – hopefully you have a plan? If not this article gives you some suggestions for 2017. Bottom line: You have a three-year transition period from the date of publication (September 2015) to move to the 2015 version. This means that, after the end of September 2018, a certificate to ISO 9001:2008 will no longer be valid.


So where are you in your transition?


In previous articles we have discussed the major changes to the standard.


STEP 1: Get yourself onto some transition training

There are some fundamental differences in the approach to quality management systems. The first is leadership and the role top management should play in the effective implementation of the QMS. You need to understand this to train senior management if they are already not involved in the correct way.

A better suggestion would be an executive presentation to give the news directly to the top team – that way they can’t shoot you as the messenger?

Another training need that you should consider is risk management principles. According to ISO, a further major difference is the focus on risk-based thinking. While this has always been part of the standard, the new version gives it increased prominence. Although the standard does not call for a full blown quality risk assessment, organizational risks and opportunities will need to be addressed in a structured manner.

Familiarize yourself with the new document. While some things have indeed changed, many remain the same. ISO suggest the use of the correlation matrix, available from ISO/TC 176/SC 2, as this will help you identify if parts of the standard have been moved to other sections.

STEP 2: Identify any organizational gaps which need to be addressed to meet the new requirements.

You should conduct a full audit or enlist the services of a competent consultant to identify the gaps in your current system. You may be surprised by the information you already have as a company that confirms you are implementing the best practice of the standard although this has never formally been a part of your QMS.


STEP 3: Identify how you will close the gaps with top management

As many of the fundamental changes involve input from top management, the plans to change the system must involve them. The additional focus on change management in the new standard must also ensure this process of changing your management system takes place in a controlled way. Previously the QMS was largely the domain of the quality management representative. A multi disciplinary team approach is the way you should go now. Remember you will have to train them.


STEP 4: Review documentation

The standard is far less prescriptive is style but that does not mean all your documented procedures will be put out to pasture. The change in the standard is a good opportunity to have a good long look at what you have in place and critically review its value add. Review all the documents you have and identify those that really add value. The emphasis should be one process management and the documentation you use to manage your processes is likely to stay just as it is. Many of the processes such as internal audits, management review and corrective action are unchanged so why change your system – if its working effectively to enhance customer satisfaction.


STEP 5: Develop an implementation plan with definite time frames

A year has already flown past. Concrete planning is essential to ensure you meet the timeframe and experience the benefits intended by the new standard. Rushing through at the last minute will mean all the boxes are ticked but not provide you with the quality improvement you are intended to achieve.

Discuss the re-certification options with your certification body as the time line you choose may have cost benefits and competitive advantages. Leaving it to the last minute may give you the most time but you may lose out on other advantages.


And lastly

Lastly do not underestimate the amount of time it will take to train everyone to the new standard. Any significant changes in the system will also require training of staff. Your final audit will need to demonstrate the new changes are implemented and effective so leave enough time for the paint to dry.