Understanding Clause 7: Support Functions in ISO 9001:2015

7 January 2024

One of the key clauses that play a vital role in establishing a strong quality management system is Clause 7 - Support. It encompasses a range of requirements relating to resources, competence and training, communication, and documentation. In this article, we will delve deeper into Clause 7, exploring its requirements and how they contribute to the overall success of an organization.

Determining and Providing Resources

The first aspect of Clause 7 emphasizes the importance of timely provision of necessary resources to support the quality management system processes. Whether it's through addressing human resource requirements, ensuring appropriate infrastructure, or managing the work environment, aligning resources with the organizational needs is a vital step in establishing a successful ISO 9001:2015 quality management system.

Human Resources

These resources encompass human resources, including their competence and the training required to achieve the necessary skill sets. By ensuring that the right people with the right skills are in place, organizations can enhance their ability to meet quality objectives effectively.


To achieve product or service conformity, companies must identify, provide, and maintain the necessary infrastructure. This includes everything from buildings and equipment to transportation and communications technology. By adequately addressing infrastructure requirements, organizations can create an environment conducive to producing high-quality deliverables.

Managing the Work Environment

Effectively managing the work environment is crucial for ensuring product or service conformity. This part of Clause 7 requires organizations to identify and manage both the human and physical factors of the work environment that contribute to achieving conformity.


Ensuring regular maintenance activities for equipment, machinery, and the work environment is crucial to support product or service conformity. Maintenance involves proactive measures to keep everything in optimal condition, minimizing the risk of breakdowns or performance issues.

Calibration of Measuring Devices

Accurate measurements are essential for maintaining quality standards. Accordingly, organizations must prioritize the proper care and calibration of all measuring devices. By doing so, they can ensure reliable and precise measurements throughout their operations.

Leveraging Organizational Knowledge

Organizational knowledge is a valuable resource that must be determined, maintained, and shared effectively within the company. This includes best practices, lessons learned, and insights gained over time. By taking full advantage of organizational knowledge, organizations can improve decision-making processes, optimize operations, and achieve better quality outcomes.

Competence Through Training, Hiring, and Reassignments

In addressing competence requirements, organizations must go beyond training programs alone and ensure that the training achieved its objectives. This can be achieved through a comprehensive exam as, for example, the one included in our accredited certification training. Organizations should also consider hiring and reassignment strategies to ensure the right individuals are placed in the right roles. By assessing and developing the skills of their personnel, organizations can strengthen their workforce and enhance their overall performance.

Fostering Awareness

Clause 7 emphasizes the significance of awareness among management and staff regarding the quality policy, objectives, and their roles within the ISO 9001 quality management system. By raising awareness and ensuring alignment, organizations can foster a culture of quality and continuous improvement.

Effective Communication Channels

Establishing internal and external communication channels is vital for the smooth operation of a quality management system. By ensuring effective communication flows, organizations can enhance collaboration, resolve issues promptly, and align everyone towards achieving quality objectives.

Controlled Documentation and Records

The final aspect of Clause 7 pertains to document control. Organizations must implement measures to control and manage their documents, ensuring that the right individuals have access to the most current versions when needed. Additionally, maintaining comprehensive records for various activities is crucial for demonstrating compliance and tracking performance effectively.


By implementing the support functions outlined in Clause 7 of ISO 9001:2015, organizations establish a solid foundation for achieving excellence and surpassing competitors. By prioritizing resource management, infrastructure, and the work environment, organizations ensure the delivery of high-quality products and services that meet customer expectations. This commitment to quality not only enhances customer satisfaction, but also drives efficiency, reduces waste, and positions organizations as industry leaders.

For a comprehensive overview of all the requirements and how they interconnect, please see our article on ISO 9001:2015 Requirements. Alternatively, you may consider our comprehensive ISO 9001:2015 Foundation Training online course to deepen your understanding and skills related to quality management systems.

Simon Keller

Simon Keller

Training Manager, Instructor and Lead Author

Simon is the lead author of our ISO 9001 courses, templates and instructions, and is a passionate contributor to our articles and learning resources.

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