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Starting the Journey to ISO 9001 Certification Part 2

By Chris Anderson on 30 October 2016

In Part 2 of this series, Chris continues with the Foundation Phase of the setting up your ISO 9001 quality management system. What does “context mean in ISO 9001, why must the requirements of interested parties be defined, how should communication be addressed? These requirements of ISO 9001 are explained in detail. 

Phase 1 – Start with Clause 4 of the ISO 9001 Standard

The QMS really starts where the ISO 9001 General Requirements begin – in Clause 4, and that is where the efforts of phase one are focused. Start by defining the context of the organization. Define who the interested parties are. Build a table that lists their needs, expectations, and objectives. Prioritize them. And give them a power and interest rank.

QMS context and interested parties

Interested Party Need or
Interest Rank
Objectives Priority
Customers, distributors, resellers Quality, price & delivery of goods and services Keep Satisfied Achieve revenue targets
Retain contracts
Increase repeat orders
Shareholders Repeat profitability
Keep Satisfied Grow profitability Medium
Employees &

Job security
Work environment

Keep Informed Increase job skills
Increase opportunities
Recognition Bonus Manage Closely Increase Budget High
External Providers Mutual benefit continuity Keep informed

Decreased defects

The Local
Environment protection
Ethical behavior
Monitor Increase community support Low
Bankers Meeting covenants Keep informed Increased credit lines Low
Regulatory Bodies Compliance Monitor Improved finding value Low
Unions Job Security Keep satisfied Increased productivity Medium

This may not be an exhaustive list, but it’s got you thinking!

Communications Plan

Develop a communications plan addressing each interested party’s needs. Consider what part of the quality system should be communicated and when. There are many ways to accomplish this and we list an example chart below. Be creative and this of your own communication methods. Then practice the communication plan.

Note: meetings are a default communications method not listed here.

Process Performance  Non-Conformances Corrective
  Customers   IW   MN  MN     
  Shareholders   AR   AR   AR, FS    
  Employees & Contractors  PS, MN    MN  PD     MN, RE
  External Providers  CT, EP EP CT, EP RE, EP EP
  The Local Community IW, SM        
  Bankers CT, AP AP  CT, AP, FS    
  Partners CT, SM   CT, PR   PR
  Unions CT, SM   CT    

Communication Methods

  • AP    Annual Report summarizes the annual results shareholders.
  • FS     Financial Statements summarize financial results.
  • MN  Monthly Newsletter highlights performance and improvements.
  • PS     Posted Signage.
  • IW    Internet Website.
  • SM   Social Media.
  • RE    Regular Email sent as needed to alert interested parties.
  • EP    Provider Scorecard compiled monthly for external providers.
  • PD   Process Dashboard summarizes QMS status.
  • PR    Periodic Reports provides summaries and details.
  • CT    Contracts define requirements for doing business.

Editor’s note: Some additional ideas:

Add these requirements to your communication table – the arms and legs that will make it happen!

  • WHO communicates in each case, who has the primary responsibility
  • WHEN does communication take place if frequency is important
  • WHERE are the records kept of this communication

A special note regarding email, we are all slave to this medium of communication but records should be accessible so filing of emails should be considered to ensure there is information available to the company when you and your in-box are not around.

Once we understand who is interested in our quality management system and what their needs are, we can ensure our business processes in part 3 take these requirements into account.

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