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The Next ISO 9001 Revision

19 September 2021

Contents

The ISO 9001 standard is periodically reviewed and revised in order to keep it relevant and useful. The typical update cycle of 6-8 years had us expect a new version by 2023. However, ISO recently announced its surprise decision to leave ISO 9001:2015 as is.

ISO 9001 won't be revised

The much-anticipated ISO 9001:2023 has been cancelled.

For the first time, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has decided to keep its most famous management standard – ISO 9001 – unchanged during its scheduled review and revision process.

The decision was made based on a user survey that ISO's technical subcommittee in charge of ISO 9001 conducted in 2020. Following the users' vote, an internal review, and a ballot among its members, the subcommittee approved the confirmation of ISO 9001:2015 without revision on 1 May 2021.

The Next Revision:  ISO 9001:2030

The decision to leave ISO 9001:2015 unchanged implies that the next systematic review of the standard will be starting in 5 years. Given the usual time for the completion of the review and the development and approval process of the revision, the next edition of ISO 9001 will likely be published in 2030.

ISO's technical committee ISO / TC 176 / SC 2 is responsible for the periodic review and revision of ISO 9001. The goal is to maintain or improve the standard's usability and relevance in the face of advances in technology, changes in the global business environment, and trends in society. Since its initial publication in 1987, there have been 4 revisions. The most current version – ISO 9001:2015 – was published in 2015.

ISO 9001:1987: the first edition of the ISO 9001 standard was derived from a military quality standard and focused on manufacturing. In fact, there were three variations for different scope of business activities: ISO 9001 for companies that were engaged in design, production and servicing; ISO 9002 for companies in production and servicing; and ISO 9003 for final inspection only. Without distinguishing between them, they were commonly refer to as "ISO 9000".

ISO 9001:1994: the first revision added the concept of preventive action rather than just checking conformance of the final product. Like the first edition, the 1994 revision required evidence of compliance with documented procedures, often resulting in much unnecessary documentation and bureaucracy.

ISO 9001:2000: the 2000 version combined ISO 9001, ISO 9002 and ISO 9003 into a single, universally applicable standard that allowed for exclusions of requirements that don't apply to the organization. The 2000 edition introduced numerous radical changes in addition to a new structure. For example, it introduced the concept of processes and systems, and the management of integrated processes. Other notable changes were the required participation of senior management in the new quality management system, the use of metrics to track performance, and the concept of continual improvement.

ISO 9001:2008: the 2008 revision merely introduced some new wording and clarifications but no new requirements. Organizations that had correctly interpreted and applied the previous version remained unaffected.

ISO 9001:2015: the latest version of the standard introduced the new high-level structure (Annex SL) and featured several new and modified requirements, most notably the concept of risk-based thinking.

Based on the history of previous revisions, we can confidently expect that there won't be any update to the standard prior to the year 2030. ISO 9001:2015 will remain in effect until then.

What to Expect from ISO 9001:2030

The vote to skip the revision of ISO 9001:2015 at this time was taken by a narrow margin. The survey's purpose was not only to identify users' view on the current version of the standard but also to gather ideas as to what should change. The input of users and industry associations, as well as the discussions with other influential quality professionals has lead us to expect the following changes in ISO 9001:2030:

Integration of emerging technologies, including the rapid increase in digitization and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in automated decision marking

Inclusion of ethics and integrity and alignment with company decisions, actions and interactions with stakeholders

Expansion of the concept of customer satisfaction to become the entire customer experience

Renewed focus on quality assurance (this could also lead to increased customer pressure to get ISO 9001 certified, a development that ISO would certainly appreciate)

Clarifications for service providers and strengthening service requirements (some even suggest a separate standard for services)

Further clarifications that the QMS is an integral part of the business processes

After maintaining the status-quo of ISO 9001 for 15 years, it is quite possible that the 2030 revision will contain some major changes. On the other hand, the mandated high-level structure limits the possible innovation.

Conclusion

Assuming the next ISO 9001 revision in 2030 and the usual 3-year transition period, you won't need to update your quality management system for over a decade from now. ISO 9001 integrates continual improvement so your QMS won't lose its relevance and usefulness. So, why not implement ISO 9001 right now and start reaping its numerous benefits?

We have everything you need to achieve ISO 9001 – without stress but with excellent results.

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