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What is ISO 9000?

Background - what is ISO 9000?

What is ISO 9000? ISO 9000 is a set of international standards for operational systems which was conceived by the International Standards Organization in 1986.  The ISO 9000 standards were subsequently published in 1987.  The ISO 9000 standards from 1987 were further revised in 1994.  For manufacturers which desire to import from China or export to China, having a full understanding of ISO 9000 and receiving ISO 9000 certification will accelerate product acceptance.

The ISO 9000: 1994 Changes

The update of the ISO standards in 1994 included the streamlining of the numbering system.  There are about 250 changes.  Most of the changes were done to make the standards easier to read.  The ISO 9000 standards from 1994 did not change significantly from the 1987 version.  So what are the ISO 9000 key changes in 1994?

The ISO 9000: 2005 Changes and Impact

The ISO 9000 standards were again updated in 2005.  The words and definitions within the ISO 9000: 2005 became the source for the ISO 9001: 2008.  ISO 9001 is the international standard that identifies the requirements for establishing a system to manage your organization and processes to better serve your customers.

The ISO 9000: 2005 Definitions

Here are some examples of ISO 9000: 2005 definitions:


The ISO 9000: 2005 Quality Management Principles

There are eight quality management principles with the ISO 9000: 2005. These became the key input for ISO 9001: 2008.

  1. Customer Focus.  Understand and meet customer requirements and exceed customer expectations.
  2. Leadership.  Leaders within the organization create an environment to involve the employees in achieving company objectives.
  3. Employee Involvement.  All levels of the company are involved for the organization's benefit.
  4. Process Management.  All activities and tasks are managed as a process to achieve efficiency.
  5. Systems Approach.   Understand and manage the interactions between different processes.
  6. Continuous Improvement.  Constantly improving the company's overall performance.
  7. Fact Based Decision Making. Data and information are used to make company decisions.
  8. Supplier Relations. Suppliers are an integral part of an organization's ability to create customer value.

The ISO 9000: 2005 General Requirements

The following are the general requirements of ISO 9000: 2005:

Benefits of ISO 9000: 2005

Once the ISO 9000 standards have been implemented, there are a number of benefits to the organization:

By now, you should have a full understanding of what is ISO 9000.

Steps to Implementing ISO 9000

If your company is interested in exporting to China or importing from China, below are the key steps to implementing the ISO 9000 standards:

  1. Processes are identified.
  2. Inputs and outputs are clearly identified for each process.
  3. Decide how to measure inputs and outputs.
  4. Utilize process maps for key processes.
  5. Relationship diagrams are used to show process interactions.
  6. Flowcharts are used to show the processes.
  7. Process measures are tied to quality objectives.