Interested Parties

An “interested party”, according to ISO 9000:2015, 3.2.3, is a person or organization that can affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by, a decision or activity.

ISO 9001:2015, 4.2, states that an organization must determine the interested parties that are relevant to its quality management system, along with the relevant requirements of those interested parties.

The reason for doing this is that an interested party may affect an organization’s ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable legal requirements.

The Six Markets Model can be used to help an organization identify the markets that are central to their relationship marketing. It can also be used to help you identify the different types of interested parties:

  • Customer, e.g., buyers, consumers
  • Supplier, e.g., vendors, contractors
  • Internal, e.g., employees, business units
  • Intermediary, e.g., distributors, retailers
  • Alliance, e.g., joint ventures
  • Influencer, e.g., reviewers, media

ISO/TS 9002:2016, a guidelines standard for applying ISO 9001:2015, says to develop your list of relevant interested parties by considering their:

  • possible influence or impact on your performance or decisions;
  • ability to create risks and opportunities;
  • possible influences or impact on your industry;
  • ability to affect you through their decisions or activities.

Examples of interested parties are:

  • customers
  • end users
  • business partners
  • franchisors
  • intellectual property owners
  • parent company
  • subsidiaries
  • owners
  • shareholders
  • bankers
  • insurers
  • utility companies
  • emergency services
  • unions
  • news media
  • external providers
  • employees
  • contractors
  • regulators
  • trade associations
  • professional societies
  • community groups
  • neighboring firms
  • competitors

To understand the requirements of the relevant interested parties, you can use the following methods to gather information:

  • review of orders received
  • review of legal requirements with compliance department
  • involvement in lobbying and networking
  • participation in relevant associations
  • evaluation of benchmarking
  • analysis of market surveillance
  • review of supply chain relationships
  • analysis of customer and user surveys
  • monitoring of customer requirements and satisfaction

Examples of requirements of the relevant interested parties are:

  • customer requirements on quality, price, availability, and delivery
  • contracts with customers and external providers
  • industry codes and standards
  • agreements with community and government groups
  • statutory and regulatory product requirements
  • memoranda of understanding
  • permits and licenses
  • order issued by regulatory bodies
  • treaties, conventions, and protocols
  • voluntary principles or codes of practice
  • labeling and environmental commitments
  • policies for employees

Be aware that the relevant interested parties, and their relevant requirements, can be different for your different products and services, and can change due to unforeseen circumstances or intentional reactions to markets.

According to ISO/TS 9002:2015, you should have robust systems in place to monitor and review the relevant requirements of your interested parties. Monitoring and reviewing can be done by using your processes related to customer requirements, design and development of products and services, and (at a more strategic level) during management review.

Interested parties are covered in our 1.5 day onsite ISO 9001:2015 Requirements course and addressed by a related team activity.