ISO 9001:2015 Revised Quality Management Principles

The principles of quality management can be considered “threads” of good business practice that should focus the application and intent of the ISO 9000 series. ISO 9000:2015 provides guidance on the way that these principles should be applied:

Customer focus

“The primary focus of quality management is to meet customer requirements and to strive to exceed customer expectations”


“Leaders at all levels establish unity of purpose and direction and create conditions in which people are engaged in achieving the organization’s quality objectives”

Engagement of people

“Competent, empowered and engaged people at all levels throughout the organization are essential to enhance the organization’s capability to create and deliver value”

Process approach

“Consistent and predictable results are achieved more effectively and efficiently when activities are understood and managed as interrelated processes that function as a coherent system”


“Successful organizations have an ongoing focus on improvement”

Evidence based decision making

“Decisions based on the analysis and evaluation of data and information are more likely to produce desired results”

Relationship management

“For sustained success, organizations manage their relationships with relevant interested parties, such as providers”

The principles underpinning ISO 9001 have therefore been reduced from 8 to 7. Customer Focus, Leadership and the Process Approach remain, Continual Improvement becomes “Improvement”, a Factual Approach to Decision Making becomes “Evidence Based Decision Making”, Involvement of People becomes “Engagement of People” and finally Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationships becomes “Relationship Management” (taking into consideration more than just suppliers). The Systems Approach to Management is the casualty in the revision.

It is important that we appreciate that these principles themselves are inter-dependent of one another. A system, by definition, is a set of inter-related activities and processes. Nothing should be viewed in isolation, and an effective QMS depends on effectively managing both the little picture (the detail of the procedures) and the big picture (but are we still in business?)

Shaun Sayers

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