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Using ISO 9001:2015 to Improve Sustainability Tracks


Originally Published in Quality Progress Magazine, August 2015. Reprinted here with permission.


Using ISO 9001:2015 to Improve Sustainability Strategic Planning


By John E. "Jack" West and Charles A. Cianfrani


The fi nal draft of ISO 9001:2015, the international quality management standard, is in the balloting process and is scheduled to be issued this year. Several concepts are expected to appear in the fi nal version that can help improve organizational sustainability.


Some argue that these concepts are inherent with the management systems concept and, therefore, represent nothing new. Others see requirements that are not only new, but also intimidating.


The new version of ISO 9001 offers an opportunity to reassess the basis on which an organization’s quality management system (QMS) is founded. This column examines several of those concepts, including:


• The requirement for understanding and acting on the organization’s context (clauses 4 and 6).


• The requirement to use risk-based thinking and associated processes to consider threats and opportunities (clauses 6 and 10).


• The opportunity to reevaluate how you understand and embrace quality management principles (all clauses).


• The opportunity to review and update your mission and vision (clause 6).


• The opportunity to reconsider how you address and integrate objectives (clauses 5 and 6).


All of these concepts require attention to planning and deployment of processes that provide opportunities to not only incorporate activities into your organization’s QMS to ensure compliance with the requirements of the latest edition of ISO 9001, but also to consider how your QMS can be deployed to ensure your organization will exist in the longer term.


An essential element of long-term survival is planning for the future. The strategic part of planning is often overlooked, however, because of the emphasis on evaluating current and projected market conditions and forecasting short-term sales trends, revenues and margins. These tactical activities may be needed, but they may only scratch the surface of future market conditions.


A logical element of a management system is to ensure that an organization has processes in place to understand the future market and business conditions it will face and to compare current and projected products and processes with that picture of the future.


This applies to more than just the organization’s products and services. Organizations also must plan changes to their QMSs to meet future needs.


External Scans


An organization should fi rst consider developing a statement of the envisioned external market impacts over the next several years and the relationship of those conditions to the organization. This is what planners call an external scan of the market conditions and circumstances that can affect the business environment. It can be conducted by answering such basic questions as:


• What functions do your products provide for customers now?


• How will customers need or want those functions to be provided three to fi ve years from now?


• What products will you need in three to fi ve years to provide that functionality?


• What will customers be willing to pay to get the needed or desired functionality in three to fi ve years?


• What changes do you see coming in the legal and regulatory environment that will affect the business?


www.NATM.com November/December 2015 35


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