Why Quality May Be Much Closer Than You Think

ISO 9001, the queen mother of all ISO standards, lays out what your business needs to be compliant. It requires you to have, at a minimum:

  • 6 documented procedures;
  • 21 records;
  • A quality policy;
  • Quality objectives; and
  • A quality manual.

Let’s talk about the procedures. The quality standard requires that your company have a documented procedure for:

  1. Document control;
  2. Record control;
  3. Conducting quality audits;
  4. Controlling nonconforming products;
  5. Corrective actions; and
  6. Preventive actions.

However, ISO 9001 does not require that you document any other procedure in your Quality Management System. The standard refers in general terms to the processes needed for the Quality Management System — whatever they might be — as well as their sequence and interaction. It leaves the door wide open.

You could pretty much decide what’s important to your organization. Isn’t that how it ought to be? You know better than anyone — save for your customers — what functions are essential to your company’s well-being.

Believe it or not, that’s the point of writing ISO 9001 so generally. If you want quality in your products and processes, you use the quality standard as a guide. You tailor the standard to your particular requirements and goals.

So…what is most important to your organization?


We help small businesses improve their efficiency and effectiveness. Whether you're selling a product or a service, we'll show you how you can improve product and service quality, effectively and affordably. If you need quality, environmental, or health & safety management but can't afford a full-time manager or staff, call on Q9C and we'll pick up the slack. For information or a quote, call or write. Subscribe to the Q9C blog while you're at it.

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Posted in Policies and Procedures, Quality management

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