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ISO 9001 Celebrates Its 20th Birthday


New York, Sep 13, 2007

2007 marks the twentieth anniversary of ISO 9001, the International Standard for quality management systems from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

ISO 9001:2000 is the principal standard in the ISO 9000 family—a suite of sixteen standards that provide guidance on topics such as performance improvement, auditing and training.

Now used in more than 160 countries around the globe, ISO 9001 has become an international reference for quality management requirements, and a benchmark for improving customer satisfaction and achieving continual improvement of an organization’s performance in pursuit of these objectives. ISO 9001 can be applied to any organization, in any sector of activity, whether it is a business enterprise, public administration, or government department.

“One can hardly enter a city, drive a major highway or surf the Internet without seeing ‘ISO 9001 registered’ on bill boards, on company vehicles, buildings and Web sites,” states Trevor Smith, chair of ISO TC 176 since 2002. “The standard has transformed business partnerships along the supply chain . . . and is used by organizations of all sizes as a solid platform. . . . on which to build a system that ensures customer requirements are met and that continual improvement is built into the organizations’ culture.”

ISO 9000 Facts

  • The ISO 9000 standards originated as quality assurance standards in the military, nuclear and construction fields. They grew through civilian use into national standards before being submitted to ISO in 1979.
  • Today, there are more than 800,000 ISO 9001 certifications worldwide.
  • Manufacturing, services, governments, and healthcare facilities are among the kinds of organizations that use the standard to meet the ever-changing needs of customers today.

The September-October issue of ISO Management Systems examines the global impact of ISO 9001 during the last two decades, with the chairs of ISO technical committee (TC) 176, Quality management and quality assurance, and its subcommittee 2, Quality systems weighing in with their perspectives.

ISO has also published standards in other management systems fields, including food safety, information technology security, and the ISO 14000 family for environmental management. Development efforts are coordinated between the relevant technical committees to ensure compatibility and alignment between ISO 9001 and other management system standards.

“The inauguration of ISO 9000 twenty years ago charted the beginning of a new era,” Mr. Smith said. “The next 20 years will, I am sure, spawn new changes.”

A video clip celebrating the twentieth anniversary of ISO 9001 is expected to be released by year’s end.

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