Real World Changes to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Standards

Over the past few years we have seen a global consensus emerge on the content and vocabulary of the two basic management systems standards, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. As the final versions get to ballot by over 120 country representatives, it is important to recognize and thank the volunteer experts representing all stakeholders.  It is an impressive achievement that represents the interests of a global community.

The newly revised standards reflect the real world of businesses in their vocabulary, intent, and requirements to drive improvement in products and services.  The context in which an organization operates, or its interested parties, drives decision making in most organizations, big or small.  Evaluating the risks or opportunities under changing circumstances is the real world environment across all levels of the organization. Successful leadership takes into account the impact or the influence an organization has across its boundaries, either up or down the supply chain. Engaging people to create a culture that cares about the environment in which it operates, or the quality of its products and services, is the hallmark of successful leadership.  Sustainable profitability, reputation, and positive brand image are created by companies that drive consistent performance globally under changing circumstances while using data to drive decision making for effective processes and systemic change.  

An x-ray into the working of a globally successful company shows all the above or a combination of the above good business practices.  The revised ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards can now claim to reflect the framework for successful companies without the obtuse terminology of “standards” and clearly establish the linkages for executive leaders to drive business strategy through management systems standards. These revised standards clearly provide the right direction for companies to improve performance and be nimble in the global economy.  The impact of changes to ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 will be far more so as the impending changes to sector specific standards drive change across industries such as automotive, aerospace, chemical, telecommunications, medical, energy, and information security. Now is the time to seize the opportunity for a competitive advantage and lead your organization to a sustainable success.

Ganesh Rao

August 2015