Quality Management Principle 1

The Introduction section of ISO 9001:2008, Quality management systems – Requirements, notes that the standard was developed based on the eight Quality Management Principles listed below. These principles can be used by top management as a framework to guide their organizations towards improved performance.

1. Customer focus

2. Leadership
3. Involvement of people
4. Process approach
5. System approach to management
6. Continual improvement
7. Factual approach to decision making
8. Mutually beneficial supplier relationships

The eight principles are briefly defined in ISO 9000:2005, Quality management systems – Fundamentals and vocabulary, and more fully described in Annex B of ISO 9004:2009, Managing for the sustained success of an organization – A quality management approach.

Principle 1: Customer focus

Organizations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, meet customer requirements, and strive to exceed customer expectations.


A key benefit for a customer-focused organization should be increased revenue and market share obtained through flexible and fast responses to market opportunities. This customer focus should more effectively use resources to enhance customer satisfaction and improve customer loyalty, thereby leading to repeat business.


Applying the principle of customer focus typically leads to:

  • Researching and understanding customer needs and expectations
  • Ensuring that the objectives of the organization are linked to customer needs and expectations
  • Communicating customer needs and expectations throughout the organization
  • Measuring customer satisfaction and acting on the results
  • Systematically managing customer relationships
  • Ensuring a balanced approach between satisfying customers and other interested parties, e.g., owners, employees, suppliers, financiers, local communities, and society as a whole.

Three other articles in this May 2013 newsletter address principles 2, 3, and 4. The remaining quality management principles will be covered in the June 2013 newsletter.