Suitability, Adequacy, and Effectiveness

One of our readers asked for an explanation of the words suitabilityadequacy, and effectiveness as used in ISO 9001:2000 clause 5.6.1: “Top management shall review the organization’s quality management system, at planned intervals, to ensure its continuing suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness.”

Suitability is the fitness of the quality management system for its defined purpose. For example, is the system suitable to direct and control activities of the organization to achieve its quality policy and quality objectives?

Adequacy is the sufficiency of the quality management system to meet requirements. For example, is the system adequate to satisfy the applicable ISO 9001, contractual, organizational, and regulatory requirements?

Effectiveness is the extent to which planned activities are accomplished and the planned results are achieved. For example, to what degree is the system achieving process compliance, product conformity, and customer satisfaction?