by Anni Koubek
The future of quality - will ISO 9001 be revised soon?
The future of quality management is currently the focus of many discussions. Whether in research projects such as at the Institute for Integrated Quality Design at the JKU in Linz, or as part of the last EOQ congress. The decisive factor for many users is what comes from these trends in standardization. Because for many, ISO 9001 is the central docking point.
Image above: The representatives of the technical standardization committee of the DACH region Austria, Germany and Switzerland at the ISO TC 176 meeting in Bridgetown.
From November 3rd to 8th, the responsible ISO committees (ISO TC 176) met in Bridgetown, Barbados. Anni Koubek, Authorized Representative for Innovation, Business Development Certification Quality, Quality Austria was also there as a representative for Austria. The focus was on a possible revision, since a so-called "Systematic Review" is due every five years after the publication of a standard. That means: From October 2020, all member countries will decide whether the standard will be revised or not. Although the decision has not yet been made, preparations are already underway to have the corresponding concepts completed in the event of a “yes”.
The most important preparatory work for this is the revision of the "High Level Structure", which is understood as the common framework of all management standards. This framework, which will be shown in Annex L of the ISO directives in the future, is currently being discussed. According to Anni Koubek, the adjustments should in principle only be minor, but there is a sticking point: What exactly is the term risk? Is risk just a danger or is there a potential positive impact? There are different concepts in different disciplines and still struggle for a common image. The work should be completed in time for the start of the possible ISO 9001 revision.
From emerging technologies to agility
There is also visible progress in the development of the so-called “Future Concepts”. This working group analyzes concepts that are important for quality management and that should be included in various future standards for the work of the committee. This is about a wide range of topics from “Emerging Technologies” to “Ethics” to “Agility”. How much is ultimately taken into account in a revision of ISO 9001 remains open, because in 2015 one would have considered a minimal variant for the subsequent revision. It remains to be decided whether the dynamics have changed in the meantime and whether some screws would have to be tightened, says Koubek. In order to carefully clarify some open questions, a survey is to be started in the next few months, where the users will also be involved.
The combination of theory and practice is of special importance in the "Auditing Practice Group". For example, a new document on the scope, that is the area of application, has been completed and will be published shortly. Interested parties can download these documents free of charge from the "Auditing Practice Group".