ISO 9001 is the best known and most common certification worldwide. According to the annual ISO Survey, in 2018 878,662 companies at more than one million locations are certified to ISO 9001.
ISO 9001 regulates the establishment of a so-called “quality management system” of companies. It is a management system that enables companies to achieve a high level of customer orientation through process management, continuous improvement, knowledge management and other principles.
There is a philosophy behind ISO 9001: Companies that rely on clear processes, access to knowledge and continuous improvement are more successful in competition than those whose success is based solely on the shoulders of a few top performers.
The ISO 9001 certification was often quite complex and formalistic until 2015. With the revision of the standard, ISO 9001:2015 has given companies much more freedom in establishing a quality management system.
For example, it is no longer necessary to maintain an independent quality manual.
It is sufficient that companies document processes in accordance with ISO requirements and make the knowledge of these processes available to employees.
The growing freedom in designing a management system is ultimately also due to digitalization. In the past, quality manuals and standards used to be kept in file folders. However, the possibilities of digital collaboration and increasing networking have created new ways of transporting and communicating knowledge within the company.
Not all certification institutes have been able to achieve the freedom that ISO wants. In all probability, digitization will have further effects on ISO 9001 certifications and the certification process in the future.