Most organizations don’t conduct their business in such a way as to ensure their premature demise. But many times they fail to pay attention to trends in the market, to fluctuations in raw material availability, to amendments to laws and statutes, to the emergence of new technologies, or even to changes within their own organization. They don’t notice that lead times from suppliers are getting longer or that customers may be giving them repeat orders but aren't inviting them to bid on new projects. They don’t take the time to periodically assess their organization’s status and performance.
That’s what the ISO 9004:2009 standard is all about. It moves an organization beyond simple conformance to a management system to a level of maturity that facilitates its ability to anticipate and respond to change. Anyone who’s been around for a while remembers the older version of ISO 9004 that was released in 2000. It had the entire embedded text of ISO 9001:2000 and followed the same structure for each clause.
Unfortunately, the structure with embedded text led to ISO 9004’s use as a guide to implementing ISO 9001, rather than as a tool for improvement—as it was originally intended. The technical experts charged with revising ISO 9004 made a commitment to ensure that the revised document would provide the guidance organizations needed to sustain and improve their quality management system (QMS). To that end, a deliberate decision was made to create a structure that was markedly different from ISO 9001 and that would illuminate an organization’s path to sustained success.
In short, while ISO 9001 outlines the requirements to establish a QMS, it doesn't provide enough information on how to maintain it over time or how to deal with the challenges of ever-evolving factors such as customer needs, supplier capabilities, economic downturns, regulatory mandates, and a whole cadre of variables that challenge organizations every day. ISO 9004 fills that gap by providing the guidance organizations need to keep their systems efficient, effective, and robust over time.
The title of ISO 9004:2009 reflects its focus: Managing for the sustained success of an organization—A quality management approach.
This book casts light on five great ideas that emerged from the 2009 version of ISO 9004:
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