New ISO 9001 standard improves risk control and creates opportunities

In January 2018, the management system of Nijman/Zeetank Poland underwent another audit. The exacting examiner was once again the auditor from Transpacific Certifications Ltd. The audit revealed that Nijman/Zeetank is fully compliant with the three certified standards: ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001:2007. Very understandably, we felt a touch of pride when we were informed of the result.

 

In due course, the ISO 9001:2008 standard will cease to exist; however this definitely does not mean that we will be distancing ourselves from a quality management system. This simply means that the standard laid down in 2008 will no longer apply as from September of this year. Effectively this means that we will have to have completed the replacement certification by that time and must comply with the requirements of the new ISO 9001 standard.

 

What does the new standard mean?

The long-awaited new version of the ISO 9001 standard was launched in September 2015 (hence the name ISO 9001:2015). The modifications made to the standard were not cursory, but actually quite radical. Because of the scope of the changes, we had to implement a number of significant changes to be able to retain our certified quality management system. The changes would not have been possible without a thorough analysis of the new regulations. Implementation of the necessary changes required extensive analysis and discussion of the new requirements and the requirements of the new standard emphasise the need for senior management to very actively contribute to risk management, to create a vision and for there to be a context for the company.

 

One major change as a result of the new ISO 9001 standard is risk-based thinking. Henceforth, risk will be seen as a whole and no longer as one element of the system. A risk-based approach makes it easier to identify and weigh up threats and to monitor the entire system. We are not only talking about risks; the new approach also enables us to look at opportunities.

 

Risks and opportunities

In the context of the new standard, risk signifies uncertainty, whether we can achieve our goal. Or, whether we are certain that we can continue to deliver our services to our customers - uninterrupted and in line with their expectations - and that we can keep them satisfied.

In that context, the term ‘opportunities’ means exceeding expectations and defined goals. Opportunities can arise under certain circumstances, such as when winning new customers, offering new services, reducing the amount of waste, improving productivity and opening up new markets.

 

The next requirement of the new ISO 9001 standard is defining the context of Nijman/Zeetank and appointing the parties that are of importance to our quality management. Their needs and expectations can be used as the basis for the new quality management system. This information is required to create the cornerstones of the quality management system: the scope of the system, the processes, the policy, the quality targets, the risk and the opportunities.

To be able to determine the context of our company, all interested parties and their requirements have to be mentioned. It is a combination of internal and external factors that can have an impact on establishing the objectives. Because those factors can change for various reasons, we regularly review them. We also have to determine which of those factors can have a positive or negative impact on achieving our goals.

 

The standard requires that all of the aforementioned tasks, that are vitally important for our new quality management system, are carried out in proportion to their potential effect on our business.

 

The question that remains is whether everything that we have done is enough to achieve our goal, i.e. to obtain the ISO 9001:2015 certificate. We hope so, but we will not know the answer to that until the next audit.

 

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