Review of ISO Standards

Debate is raging regarding the upcoming release of ISO 9001:2015. The CD is available for scrutiny and comment. Whilst the CD may be messy, the debate is even messier and leaves me wondering whether anyone has a clear idea about what the intended outcome is.

Previously I have blogged about the purpose of certification. Certification is a system attestation that is designed to give potential customers useful information about a supplier’s management system. It IS about the badge in other words. The idea that an ISO standard and the associated certification is designed to put the company on the “right path” is a distraction and just plain wrong. Nobody needs to pay a CB to do that, even if we agreed they were competent at doing that. Unfortunately right now I think the tail is completely wagging the dog. I have tried to stay out of the current ISO 9001:2015 debates simply because they embarrass me and I don’t want to be associated with them. Generally speaking it is a load of unfocussed, self-indulgent opinion by people who value their own wants, needs and preferences way above the needs of those that will be the primary users of the standard – CUSTOMER ORGANISATIONS.

Has anyone ever stopped to think what management system attributes customer organisations actually care about? Is this a key design input? It is even a criteria? An afterthought?

The result is a bit of a mess. I was rather hoping that ISO 9001 would follow the infinitely more effective structure of ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. But it hasn’t. Currently it is a jumble of fuzzy thinking and things that, frankly, just don’t make sense. As an example it defines risk as “the effect of uncertainty”. THAT IS NOT A DEFINITION OF RISK! Why would anyone think it a good idea to depart from the established convention of combination of likelihood and severity? It is just plain nuts, but sadly symptomatic of the way of things. Throughout all the debate, I have never seen ANYONE trying to revert back to a design objective to calibrate ideas and to ensure initial objectives would be met. It’s just more ideas. One on top of another, presumably working on the principle that all opinions are equally valid.

I never ever thought I would find myself praying for the stifling intervention of the certification bodies, but I am tempted. Fortunately I have high confidence they’ll all hate this draft and will soon mobilise their efforts against it. Let’s hope




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