ISO 9001 Principles

What are the principles of ISO 9001?

The seven principles of quality management

As the international Standard for quality management, ISO 9001 has been developed by experts from around the world to help you put quality at the heart of your organisation.

To help you do this, ISO 9001 builds upon seven key principles. By following these principles, you will be able to reap the rewards of greater consistency, better customer satisfaction and stronger performance.

In short, the seven principles of quality management are:

  1. Engagement of people
  2. Customer focus
  3. Leadership
  4. Process approach
  5. Improvement
  6. Evidence-based decision making
  7. Relationship management
  8. These principles are the basis of the ISO 9000 suite of quality standards, including ISO 9001:2015.

Engagement of people

Getting your team involved in the management system

Management systems such as ISO 9001 are not just for senior management – everyone within your organisation contributes towards its processes. Openly discussing issues and sharing knowledge and experience with your team is therefore key if you want to fully benefit from your quality management ISO. It is essential that everyone in your company understands their role and feels valued for their contribution to its success. This will not only help you to achieve certification but will also demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to improving quality.

To help raise awareness of ISO 9001 and its benefits, you may want to consider some awareness training. Our online eLearning training platform, has a useful ISO 9001 awareness course that you may like to consider.

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Customer focus

Focus on your customers and their needs

Developing a strong customer focus is an excellent way of demonstrating your commitment to quality. Gathering customer feedback is key – whether good or bad – as this can help you to spot non-conformities and improve your processes so that your business can strengthen its performance even further.

As well as satisfying customers, your business should also consider the interests of other stakeholders, whether owners, employees, suppliers, investors or the wider community.

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Develop a strong management team

Strong leadership means you have a clear vision of your company’s future. Communicating this vision effectively will ensure your whole team works towards the same objectives, giving your organisation a shared sense of purpose. This can then help to increase employee motivation and productivity.

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Process approach

Create a process culture

The Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) principle of the ISO 9001 Standard will help you promote a process-driven culture across your organisation. This is a proven way of ensuring you plan, resource and manage your processes and their interactions effectively.

By managing the different areas in your business together as a whole, you will be able to align operations for greater efficiency, making it even easier to achieve your objectives. Measuring and evaluating these interrelated processes will also help you to identify areas for improvement.

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Drive continual improvement

Continual improvement is essential to the ISO 9001 quality management system and should be your organisation’s core objective. Implementing processes for identifying risks and opportunities, spotting and solving non-conformities, and measuring and monitoring your efforts means that you will be able to find ways to improve and make your business even stronger.

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Evidence-based decision making

Base your decisions on facts

Accurate and reliable data is essential for making informed decisions. For instance, to solve the root cause of a non-conformity you need the right evidence. Make sure information is available to those who need it and keep communication channels open.

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Relationship management

Develop mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers

Your suppliers can be a source of competitive advantage but this requires a relationship built on trust. Creating such lasting relationships with suppliers and other interested parties means balancing short-term financial gains with long-term, mutually beneficial strategies.

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Benefits of quality principles

Implementing these seven quality principles during your ISO 9001 certification process can help you to meet key requirements of the Standard. This will then help you to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, increase employee motivation and productivity, and your use of resources.

Continually strengthening your processes will also help you to improve your cost-efficiency and enable you to build market share by responding rapidly to new opportunities.

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Frequently asked questions

What are the seven principles of quality management?

Who developed the quality principles?

When were the quality management principles introduced to ISO Standards?

What are the requirements of ISO 9001?


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