The countdown is underway for the new ISO, the most widely-known standard regulating Quality Management Systems, and for this reason it is being anxiously awaited by the companies. The new version of the standard will be published in September
The Year 2015 promises to be one of significant change in quality certification: the two new standards that will become valid (ISO9001, in September, and ISO14001 in November) will be an almost obligatory and decisive requisite for participation in calls for tenders, above all in the public market, and even for contracts of modest value.
In particular, the updated version of ISO9001 will place even more emphasis on the objectives of ongoing company improvement and the search for greater and greater internal and final customer satisfaction. Compared to its previous version, ISO9001:2015modernizes the approach, thanks to:
• Greater emphasis on added value for organizations and consumers. The new version is much more oriented to results and improving results.
• Greater emphasis on risk management
• The requests for the company to take feedback from all parties and processes involved (and not only from clients) into Consideration More involvement of top management.
• A revised structure that aligns the standard to all the other management standards, in this way facilitating integration.
• More immediate application in the services sector.
• Greater flexibility in the type and use of system documentation, with a simplification of documental procedure rules (the "Quality Manual" will no longer exist). ISO 14001, instead, regulates the management of the environmental aspects impacted by company processes and the need to rationalize the use of resources and optimize energy consumption.
The risk approach
As regards ISO 9001:2015, particular attention is placed on the question of company risk in its entirety, and therefore not limited to only financial risk or safety/security related risks as so frequently occurs. The needs for training in the greater awareness of the importance of "risk-based thinking" culture and the development of the professional technical skills and the soft skills required for "risk management" emerge in this context. The term Risk Based Thinking, coined by the ISO TC 176 Committee, indicates the risk management process as one of the standard's underlying requisites and represents the foundation for the management of all the other processes identified by the company. The standard's new version makes risk management an explicit requisite, inserting it in every part of the document in order to ensure that companies learn to think in this new way right from the start, even before hypothesizing the processes that will constitute their own Quality Management System. Thanks to this "new" way of seeing things, preventive actions will finally be given the right significance also in systems that adopted them solely for conformity to a given requisite and had never really made them their own. Preventive actions must be planned at a higher level than those adopted by most companies because they are part of the strategic planning of risks and opportunities. We must get used to no longer attaching a purely negative meaning to the word "risk". Risks, in fact, also represent opportunities when they are analyzed and managed within a system that permits advantages to be obtained from their early identification. Other terms, such as opportunity, probability, and consequences must also be associated with the term "risk". This is the most important innovation provided by the standards 2015 version.
An authentic conceptual revolution is involved here. In its negative sense, risk is linked to the uncertainty of accomplishing the objective of offering clients conforming products and services; but if risk is considered as the possibility of seizing an opportunity, the commitment to satisfy the client above and beyond his reasonable expectations prevails. Companies with good structures accustomed themselves long ago to assessing what might make them grow and what might cause them problems. This monitoring action is part of their daily work because it is the only "healthy" way to keep their competitors at bay, to gain shares of the market, and to win the loyalty of clients or users. Entering the game of constantly lowering prices and cutting costs arbitrarily with the constant impoverishment of anything that might represent added value (the knowhow of your human resources, the professionalism of your collaborators, active collaboration from your suppliers) serves only to keep yourself afloat until the day that someone else succeeds in making even bigger cuts in bringing their product or service to the market at a lower price. And this is what is still going on, especially in public tender contracts. The new ISO 9001:2015 demands that a new approach be taken to work based on intelligent risk management that brings enormous benefits because it leads to the management of ordinary things in the best possible way, thus permitting also extraordinary and unexpected events to be handled serenely in the best possible way and transformed into opportunities. As regards services suppliers, greater attention to risk-related aspects also permits an improvement in the quality of the services offered, a rationalization of the costs, an increase in competitiveness, higher internal efficiency, and lastly, greater and greater final customer satisfaction.