ISO 9004 Approved

A completely revised ISO 9004 standard has been approved and is in the publication stage. It will be available soon with the new title, “Managing for the Sustained Success of an Organization – A Quality Management Approach”.

ISO 9004:2009 provides guidance to organizations to support the achievement of sustained success through a quality management approach. It is applicable to any organization, regardless of size, type, and activity, but it is not intended for certification, regulatory, or contractual use.

Do you recall the major revision of the ISO 9000 family of standards back in 2000? The revised ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 standards were referred to as the “consistent pair” because they used the same clause structure. ISO 9004 was to be the guide to developing and improving a quality management system, while ISO 9001 remained the requirements standard for assessments.

Organizations seeking certification based on customer demand have typically implemented a quality management system meeting the requirements of ISO 9001, but have seldom improved that system using the recommendations in ISO 9004. They have their certificate and don’t go beyond the basics.

An alternate approach was for organizations to develop their quality management system using ISO 9004 to focus on meeting their business needs, and then have it assessed against ISO 9001. This management-led focus was on the system, not the certificate. Unfortunately, this path has seldom been taken. As a result, it was felt that a complete revision to ISO 9004 was in order.

New Structure 

As indicated by its new title, ISO 9004 has a different scope and a revised structure. No longer will ISO 9004 be directly tied to ISO 9001. By removing the constraints imposed by the ISO 9001 clause structure, and expanding its scope, ISO 9004:2009 is expected to be an improvement over its predecessor.

The new ISO 9004:2009 structure is shown below:

Section 4 on managing for sustained success addresses the operating environment and interested parties.

Section 5 on strategy and policy covers mission, vision, values, strategy, and policy. Its equivalent in ISO 9001 is Management Responsibility, but this section is wider in scope and more representative of best practice.

Section 6 on resource management covers a wider scope than the related clause in ISO 9001 and addresses additional resources, including finance, knowledge, information, technology, and natural resources.

Section 7 on process management is more generic than Product Realization in ISO 9001, and much wider in scope since it applies to all the organization’s processes, including those that are outsourced.

Section 8 on monitoring, measurement, analysis, and review covers similar topics to clause 8 in ISO 9001, except that improvement is addressed in a separate section 9. Additional topics include self-assessment, key performance indicators, and benchmarking.

Section 9 on improvement, innovation, and learning goes beyond the improvement provisions of ISO 9001 and addresses innovation and learning, two important concepts for any organization aiming to sustain success.

This article used information from an article by David Hoyle in Issue 23 of the IRCA Inform.