Part of building a management system is defining requirements and processes according to the needs of a particular organization. That’s where ISO Standards come in. These standards lay out the framework for creating a management system to address needed controls and requirements in areas such as:
- Product or Service Quality (ISO 9001 Quality Management System)
- Environmental Management (ISO 14001 Environmental Management System)
- Information Security (ISO 27001 Information Security Management System)
Guidelines, Not Detailed Instructions
ISO Standards don’t typically lay out specific requirements or detailed descriptions (except for the very basics of the management system that can address Total Quality Management (TQM); they only provide a framework for creating, for example, a Quality Management System or an Information Security Management System.
Some parts of the standards simply act as milestones on the path to management system creation, such as “clearly define and then execute processes.” Other sections are intended to be after-care instructions, such as ones that encourage measurement and continual process improvement.
ISO Standard Basics
There are commonalities, however, that most ISO Standards share:
Plan-Do-Check-Act Process Approach: After policies are created and processes are implemented, the creation of a continual improvement plan that requires measurement and review follows.
Management Responsibility: Top management must be involved in and take responsibility for the organization’s approach to meeting requirements from external (regulations, customers) and internal (product specs, policies, and procedures) sources.
Improvement of the Management System: Not only do organizational processes need to be continually reviewed and improved upon, but the management system itself needs to be evaluated as part of the defined system.
The Advantage of a Generic Approach
The generic nature of the standards makes them universally applicable to a wide range of organizations, regardless of size or business model. With a framework as a reference, organizations can design and implement systems in a way that best meets their particular needs. Each organization can focus on meeting its unique goals, not complying with ill-matching requirements.
Additional Articles on ISO Standards
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ISO 27001 Sets Information Security Processes
The purpose of ISO 27001 is to protect information and prioritize efforts. ISO 27001 uses a management philosophy based on Plan-Do-Check-Act.
An Overview of the ISO 9001 Certification Process
The ISO 9001 Certification Process means certifying to ISO 9000 standards and complying with the requirements set forth in ISO 9001:2008, the latest version of the standard.
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