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ISO 9000 Series Detailed Guide

by Uneeb Khan

What does ISO Stands For?

The word ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. ISO is a non-governmental organization that provides fixed international standards for commercial industries. The ISO certification standards comply with 166 national standards organizations. 

The name ISO has the ancient Greek origin, isos meaning equal. The name was thoughtfully chosen to maintain consistency, ensuring that the organization has the same name in each language. 

ISO 900 Series: Definition

9000 series is specifically concerned with quality management and deals with organizations that are aimed at maintaining their quality standards and services at a steady pace. 

The quality system of ISO is based on seven fundamental principles specifically designed to enhance the quality and performance of organizations. 

ISO 9000 Series: Fundamental Principles

Following are the seven fundamental principles of ISO 9000 Series: 

Customer-Oriented Approach: Focused on meeting customers’ expectations and maintaining quality standards and sustaining success.

Valued Services: Focused on delivering valued services via competent staff.

Consistency: Focused on delivering a consistent service to achieve goals and objectives. 

Process-focused approach: All the processes of the services are integrated efficiently into the system to increase productivity. 

Continuous Improvement: Focused on continuous improvement to ensure success. 

Empirical Decision-Making: Focused on formulating decisions that are backed by research-based evidence. 

Building Relationships: Focused on establishing long-term relationships with other interested parties. 

ISO 9001: Definition

ISO 9001 is one of the most accepted standards of quality management around the world. The ISO 9001 provides the standard criteria for quality management systems also called QMS. The quality management system is a set of standards and rules that assist organizations to meet their aims and objectives. 

The reason ISO 9001 is widely accepted is that this is the only standard in the 9000 series that can be certified by millions of organizations around the world. Still, this is not a requirement to get ISO certification. An organization can still stick to the ISO standards without seeking certification. 

Why Should You Use ISO 9001?

As discussed above, ISO 9001 is not a compulsion for organizations, but the certification brings many benefits with itself, providing reasons why an organization should still go for the ISO certification even when this is not a requirement. 

The foremost benefit of ISO 9001 certification is that it is equally suitable for many organizations regardless of their size, products, and services. The ISO 9001 certification will make sure that an organization’s customers get consistent, quality products that as a result can bring many associated benefits to the company such as: 

  • Enhanced productivity and low cost
  • Up-to-the-mark customer experience, leading to the repeated production of products 
  • The improved reputation of the company due to ISO 9001 certification

Criticism On ISO 9001

Just like everything, with its many benefits, ISO 9001 has some downsides as well. Despite its huge social desirability, the experts say the ISO 9001 is a bit outdated and needs to be updated. As the set of standards was first released in 1980, it now does not correspond to the latest business standards and practices. In response to this critique, the ISO website claims that ISO is been updated on regular basis and undergoes a review after every 5 years to keep up with modern business practices. 

The ISO website also claims that the latest ISO version was published in 2015, which too underwent a revision resulting in a “no upgradation needed” stance by the reviewers. 

Another criticism that ISO 9001 face is that it requires much additional documentation that at the end of the day becomes a burden for the organization. However, this is just an exaggeration, as although some extra documentation is required for ISO 9001 certification, that documentation is very limited in number. 

One last criticism that ISO 9001 faces are that, one standard of criteria can not be fixed by many organizations. To answer this criticism, ISO states that “ all the set of standards are generic, and can be applied to any organization regardless of their size, type, products, and services an organization is providing”. Furthermore, although the standards are generic, the ISO has also specified the standards for various sectors such as software engineering, government, petroleum, etc. 

ISO 9001 Cycle

The main focus of ISO 9001 is the cover the gap between the customer’s requirements and customer satisfaction. The gap is covered by implementing a QMS cycle as follows: 

Plan: Establish distinguished objectives and processes 

Do: Practically implement what was planned and established initially 

Check: Keep a check and track results

Act: Take actions as per the results for improvements if needed

The ISO 9001 standard consists of a total of 10 clauses, providing fundamental criteria for establishing a quality management system. The clauses are mainly concerned with the matters such as 

  • Ensuring that an organization has clear and established aims and objectives
  • Ensuring that organization knows the customer requirements and meets them accordingly 
  • Ensuring that an organization appropriately meets the customer satisfaction

How to get ISO 9001 Certification?

ISO itself is not a certification body, so if an organization needs ISO certification, the organization should look for a certification body first that is accredited wit ISO. Once the certification body is finalized, the organization needs to go through the following steps

Get Ready: The first step is to prepare yourself for the quality management system, the organization needs to ensure that it meets all the documented requirements. The certification body the organization has chosen may assist in this process. 

Assessment: After the organization has ensured that it meets the requirements, the certification body will conduct a review of the documented requirements an organization is trying to meet to ensure that they intend requirements are met. 

Certification: If the organization meets all the requirements of ISO 9001 criteria, a certificate is issued. 

After getting the certification, the organization should renew the certificate after every three years. 


The ISO is a private organization that sets out priority fixed international standards for commercial industries. ISO 9000 series is specifically concerned with quality management and deals with organizations that are aimed at maintaining their quality standards and services at a steady pace. The ISO 9001 is one of the most accepted standards of quality management around the world. ISO 9001 provides the standard criteria for quality management systems also called QMS.


What is the difference between ISO 9000 and ISO 9001?

ISO 9000 is a series of the quality management system, and ISO 9001 is a standard of the ISO 9000 series. 

Why ISO 9000 is important?

ISO 9000 is important to increase productivity, reduce cost and ensure that quality is maintained.

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