Post 20 -by Gautam Shah


ISO (International Standards Organization), since its inception in 1947, has been busy in formulating and equalizing standards for products, processes and services. These have served their conceived functions well. Somewhere during this period it was realized that individual products, processes and services often go far beyond the specified requirements of standards. Such feats are ever evolving, and so it was necessary to develop a system whereby such information is available to all stack holders, in a free and transparent manner. This new thinking recognized that if an organization is rational and transparent, its offerings are reliable. ISO therefore formulated a framework with which to rationalize the goals and working of the organization. The new framework offered ways of documentation and assessment. It also created a method of auditing and recognition of agencies for it. This system was called Quality Management System or QMS 900x series.

ISO 9001 certified Vadapalani Murugan Temple of Chennai India > Wikipedia image by L.vivian.richard at En Wikipedia

Concepts of Consistent and All-inclusive care : For all human endeavours, a citizen (or a being) is a natural stakeholder. So one has to be conscious and conscientious of all our actions. It is now accepted that for a consistent and all-inclusive care, an attitude at personal level, and a culture at organizational level is essential. It is very necessary to institutionalize the individual attitudes and organizational culture for ‘good management’ with support of right policies, procedures, records, technologies, resources, and structures.

Bangalore Metro station India structure by Kirby Building Systems which complies with ISO 9001:2008 for design, fabrication, supply of pre-engineered steel buildings > Wikipedia image by Pbhattiprolu

Assuring the Processes and the Systems of an Organization for Consistent and All-inclusive care : To achieve a Quality System of consistency, a Quality Conscience is required. In this direction ISO created a series of Quality Management Standards (QMS), designated as ISO 9000 series. The Quality Management Systems created by ISO were not meant to certify the products or services, but to assure the processes and the systems of an organization. ISO 9000 series provisions, how one conducts own work rather then the quality of the end product, because if the process is rational, it will naturally affect the end product. ISO 9000 series was to ensure that products not only meet just the customers’ requirements but also satisfy all ‘stakeholders’ expectations’.

Nicco Corp Ltd -cable division, Shyamnagar, W Bengal, India, An ISO 9001:2008 & ISO 14001:2004 certified unit > Wikipedia image by Binodkumars

Origins of Quality Management Standards : QMS or Quality Management Standards have their origin in the Product Liability Directives of European Community (EC) of July 1985. These were also known as the single market directives, and state what manufacturers exporting to the EC and, eventually, to the European Free Trade Association, would need. EC expected a well documented and Quality Assurance System for certain regulated products. ISO realized such a need to improve quality of products and services.


ISO 9000 series Quality Management System Standards (QMS) are now among the most widely known standards. It is a generic title for a Quality Management family consisting of Standards, Guidelines, other supporting standards on terminology and auditing tools. The standards can be applied to manufacturing, service or administrative organizations in any sector. ISO itself does not certify quality of any product or service, or register a quality management compliant organization. ISO has recognized certification bodies that check and certify an organization’s conformity for QMS. ISO, therefore maintains no official database of ISO 9000 certificate holders.

ISO 9001 certified signage over Janesville GM assembly plant, Image from photos/28567825@No3/3549915451 by Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA

Some famous International Registrars for QMS

  • ABS Quality Evaluations. Inc.
  • American Association for Laboratory Accreditation
  • AT & T Quality Registrar
  • British Standards Institution (BSI) Quality Assurance
  • Bureau Veritas Quality International (BVQI) #
  • Canadian General Standards Board
  • Det Norske Veritas Industry (DNV) # etc.

Of these # BVQI and # DNV are operative auditors in India.

Wikipedia image by HernandoJoseAJ

Preparing for ISO 9000 : An organization desiring to follow ISO 9000 system must carry out certain reforms within the organization before calling in a recognized auditor for validation process. The prime requirement is to frame the goals of the organization. Many times this are informal ideologies with the top level of a management team. This must therefore be formally documented and every single participant in the organization is made aware of it.

Goals or Policy of the Organization for ISO Quality Management System:

The goals or the policy of the organization will cover:

  • Nature of business being conducted
  • Future changes as envisaged in the business model
  • Define clear roles and responsibilities for policy determination, implementation, preview and reporting
  • Define external ‘clients’ who sustain the organization in return for the benefit gained or beneficiaries of the offerings of the organization for whom the entity functions
  • Let each department define the internal ‘clients’ for products and services (such as intra-department demands)
  • Define products, services and other inputs required to serve external and internal clients, or designated beneficiaries. (Including validation of the providers, quality parameters for the offerings, compliance with ‘accepted’ standards and Governmental requirements)
  • Define processes that occur within each of the departments and necessary conditions for them to flourish (including human resources, health & safety requirements, environmental concerns)
  • Define likely scale of affectations to ‘third parties’ (non user beings) due to the endeavour
  • Form and place where these data (as listed above) will be available, frequency of revision, and process of accepting feedback on it.


Structured Perception of the Organization : These exercises help define various processes operative in the organization and the nature of dependency among it. The organization is seen here as a large complex system consisting of several sub systems few of which are fairly independent, but most others are interpolating subsystems. The structured perception of the organization helps in developing a sharper quality control regime.

On completion of the ground work (as listed above) a request is made to any of the recognized registrar to specific requirements to be ISO compliance worthy. The requirements are defined in various standards of the series. One may also remain in compliance without being registered by an accredited Auditor, but cannot have the benefit of declaring itself to be an ISO 9000 accredited organization.


Gibraltar’s water is obtained from sloping rock catchment area > Wikipedia image by Jim Linwood

ISO 14000 Environmental Management System Standards : ISO 14000 EMS series is a generic management standard, similar to the ISO 9000. Main thrust for the development of this series was the Environment summit held at Rio in 1992. Its focus is a systematic approach for defining objectives and targets for environmental concerns and compliance with applicable legislative and other regulatory requirements.

It does not specify levels of environmental performance, and so not designed to be specific to any particular set of activities. It helps organizations evolve EMS (Environmental Management System) to minimize harmful effects on the environment caused by commercial and other activities, and continually improve the environmental performance.

ISO 14001 > Wikipedia image by Luugiaphu94

Working of ISO 14000 Processes : ISO 14000 series of standards have two distinct facets for reporting on Environmental Performance. Internal objectives are issues within the processes and activities and so substantially in control of the organization. The internal objectives are intended to assure all immediate stack holders including employees that the organization is an environmentally responsible entity. External objectives are larger issues between the organization and universe. The external objectives provide assurance on environmental issues, to external stakeholders such as customers, the community and regulatory agencies. It also provides for a system for inclusion of suppliers’ declaration of their conformity to ISO 14000.

Environmental degradation of Industrial age which initiated debate on conservation of environment  > Art work by D.O. Hill of St Rollox Chemical works at Garnkirk and Glasgow railway in 1831

Benefits and Implications of ISO 14000 EMS : The EMS facilitates compliance with environmental regulations, supports the organization’s claims about its own environmental policies, plans and actions. A certification of EMS conformity by an independent certification body furthers the work on QMS (ISO 9000). ISO 14001 compliance can improve the Environmental Management, and enable easy access to a growing ‘Green-Market’.

ISO 14000 Improves operational efficiency, Cost savings, Energy conservation, Rational use of raw materials and other resource, Better recycling processes, Reduced waste generation and disposal costs, Pollution prevention, Reduces environmental liability and risks, Improves community goodwill and societal images, compliance with legislative and regulatory requirements, Improved Industry Government relations, and provides Competitive advantage for `Green’ products.

The EMS offers a range of approaches for Environmental Labels and Declarations, including self declared environmental claims, Eco-labels (seals of approval), and Quantified Environmental Information about Products and Services. ISO has developed more than 350 Environment related International Standards.


Other Management Standards : In the last two decades ISO has concerned itself with Management Standards for Quality, Safety, Security, Environment, Food, Health, etc. These standards refer to what an organization must do to manage its processes or activities.

ISO Management standards are broadly of two classes. Generic Standards mean that these can be applied to any organization such as business enterprise, public project, administration or government department, whatever the product or service may be. Other Management Standards are Sector specific Standards.

Bandra-Worli sea link cable-stay bridge at Mumbai by Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) was first construction organization to be certified ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 > Flickr image by ShashiBellamkonda

Select List of Other Management Standards : Some Management Standards have been formed and published for implementation, whereas a large number of them are in formative process and will appear soon. The standards are listed in order of their number, which does not reflect their order of formation or year of publication. The numbers represent the series.

  • ISO 18000 OHSMS Standard on Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems,
  • ISO 20000 IT Service Management,
  • ISO 22000 Food safety Standards,
  • ISO 24000 Security and Continuity Management Standards,
  • ISO 26000 Social Responsibility,
  • ISO 27000 Information Security,
  • ISO 31000 Risk Management Standard,
  • ISO 50000 series is for Energy Management Standards,
  • ISO 55000 Asset Management Standard.

Certifiable Standards and Requirement Standards : ISO Management standards can also be categorized as Certifiable Standards and Requirement Standards. An organization may get a conformity Certification by a recognized agency after an audit process as specified in series of standards. ISO 9000, ISO 14000, ISO 18000 and ISO 22000 are management standards that allow certification. There are several other Management Standards that have no certification process, and so-called Requirement Standards. The Requirements standards, only provide guidance for implementing a management system (such as ISO 26000 and ISO 31000).



Published by

Gautam Shah

Former adjunct faculty, Faculty of Design CEPT University, Ahmedabad and Consultant Designer

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