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ISO 9000 Standard: Benefits, How to Achieve

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summary of iso 9000

What Is ISO 9000?

ISO 9000 is a set of standards for quality management, developed as an internationally-acceptable baseline for performance by businesses and other organizations. It was created by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) with input from standards professionals from many nations.

Quality management is the act of overseeing all of the processes that go into achieving and maintaining the desired level of excellence in the creation and delivery of a product or service. This includes the determination of a quality policy, creating and implementing quality planning and assurance, and quality control and improvement. It is also referred to as  total quality management  (TQM).

  • ISO 9000 is a set of internationally recognized standards for quality assurance and management.
  • Published by the International Organization for Standardization, it aims to encourage the production of goods and services that meet a globally-acceptable level of quality.

ISO 9000 lays out best practices, guidelines, and a standard vocabulary for quality management systems.

  • ISO 9001 is the portion of ISO 9000 that consists of action items for a business or other organization that seeks ISO certification.

Understanding ISO 9000

ISO 9000 standards were developed to help manufacturers effectively document the quality system elements that need to be implemented to maintain an efficient quality system. They are increasingly being applied to any organization or industry.

ISO 9001 is now being used as a basis for quality management—in the service sector, education, and government—to help organizations satisfy their customers, meet regulatory requirements, and achieve continual improvement.

The ISO 9000 series, or family of standards, was originally published in 1987 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). They first gained popularity in Europe, and then spread to the U.S. in the 1990s. As the world’s view of quality assurance has evolved, the standards have been revised.

Current versions of ISO 9000 and ISO 9001 were published in September 2015.

ISO 9000 Standards

ISO 9000 lays out in detail the fundamentals and vocabulary of quality management systems.

The actionable portion of ISO 9000 is ISO 9001. Organizations that receive certification are being recognized as meeting ISO 9001. Obtaining that certification is a process that takes over a year and requires substantial documentation to demonstrate conformity with the standards.

The ISO 9000 family contains these standards:

  • ISO 9001:2015: Quality Management Systems—Requirements
  • ISO 9000:2015: Quality Management Systems—Fundamentals and Vocabulary (definitions)
  • ISO 9004:2009: Quality Management Systems—Managing for the Sustained Success of an Organization (continuous improvement)
  • ISO 19011:2011: Guidelines for Auditing Management Systems

How to Become ISO 9001 Certified

ISO certification is provided by third-party organizations, not by the ISO itself.

A company or other organization seeking certification would first implement the quality management recommendations contained in ISO 9000. It would then conduct an internal audit or obtain the services of an external auditor to evaluate its compliance with the standards. It would then call in an organization that is authorized to review its compliance and issue certification.

The ISO website has information on selecting a certification body.

In the U.S., the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) provides information about companies that it has accredited to conduct certification services for compliance with ISO and other quality standards.

About one million organizations around the world have received ISO 9001 certification.

Benefits of ISO 9000

Adoption of ISO standards is strictly voluntary. Gaining certification can be a time-consuming and expensive undertaking. Nevertheless, there are a number of benefits to meeting ISO standards.

The organization cites several benefits to gaining certification, including increased confidence from consumers and stakeholders, holding a competitive edge, and obtaining greater ease in meeting government-mandated regulations in any jurisdiction in which the company does business.

For example, the Toro Company has a section on its website devoted to the ISO 9001 certification it has received for the management practices used to produce its commercial products and irrigation systems.

It is among about one million companies globally that have been certified as meeting ISO 9000 standards. An online database offers access to most certified organizations.

History of ISO 9000

ISO 9000 is perhaps the best known and most widely adopted set of standards produced by the International Organization for Standardization.

Established in 1947, ISO is an independent, non-governmental body that develops and publishes technical, industrial, and commercial standards based on input from 160 member nations.

Its standards aim to establish management practices that produce safe, reliable, and high-quality products and services at a globally acceptable level.

The organization has published more than 24,000 standards that it recommends. Most notably, it publishes a set of environmental standards, ISO 14001 , for companies and organizations that want to adopt an effective environmental management system.

Other standards fall into a number of categories, including health and safety, energy management, food safety, and information technology security.

What Is Quality Management?

In general, quality management focuses on long-term goals through the implementation of short-term initiatives.

Quality control (QC) is a key part of quality management and assurance, through which a business seeks to ensure that product quality is maintained or improved with reduced or zero errors.

Quality control requires the business to create an environment in which both management and employees strive for perfection. This is done by training personnel, creating benchmarks for product quality, and testing products to check for statistically significant variations.

A major aspect of quality control is the establishment of well-defined controls. These controls help standardize both production and reactions to quality issues. Limiting room for error by specifying which production activities are to be completed by which personnel reduces the chance that employees will be involved in tasks for which they do not have adequate training.

What Are the ISO 9000 Requirements?

The ISO 9000 requirements address the fundamentals of quality management in any organization. They specify in detail the standards that must be met throughout the process of planning, producing, and delivering a product or service.

Major subject areas included in ISO 9000 include manufacturing processes, equipment maintenance, record-keeping, employee training, and customer relations.

The organization behind ISO 9000 was formed to meet the demands of international commerce and the standards are based on input from regulators from many countries. The intent is to encourage the production of products and services that meet the standards of any country in which they may be purchased.

What Is the Difference Between ISO 9000 and ISO 9001?

The titles are often used interchangeably. ISO 9001 is a section of ISO 9000 and consists of the primary action items for reaching ISO 9000 compliance.

What Is the Difference Between ISO 9000 and ISO 14000?

ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 are both sets of standards created and published by the International Organization for Standardization.

  • ISO 9000 is devoted to quality management. It is designed to help companies and other organizations ensure that the products and services they create and the processes they use to create them meet a high standard of quality and integrity.
  • IDO 14000 is a set of standards for companies and other organizations that want the processes they use and the products they create to have a minimal adverse impact on the environment.

What Are the Costs of ISO 9000?

A small organization seeking ISO 9000 certification might spend $10,000 to $15,000 preparing for and obtaining certification. The costs include the ISO 9000 manual (about $240) and auditor fees (about $1,300 per day).

The costs depend on the size and complexity of the organization and the degree to which they already have a quality management system in place.

California's Manufacturing Network. " ISO 9000 vs. ISO 9001: What's the Difference? " Accessed Jan. 23, 2022.

International Organization for Standardization. " Choosing a Certification Body ." Accessed Jan. 23, 2022.

ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB). " Accreditation for Management System Certification Bodies ." Accessed Jan. 23, 2022.

Standards Store. " ISO Registrars ." Accessed Jan. 23, 2022.

International Organization for Standardization. " Certification and Conformity ." Accessed Jan. 23, 2022.

The Toro Company. " ISO 9000 ." Accessed Jan. 23. 2022.

International Organization for Standardization. " The ISO Story ." Accessed Jan. 23, 2022.

International Organization for Standardization. " Standards ." Accessed Jan. 23, 2022.

Smart Sheet. " Comprehensive Guide to ISO 9000 Certification and ISO 9000 Training ." Accessed Jan. 23, 2022.

summary of iso 9000

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What Is ISO 9000?

Last updated on October 3, 2018

What is ISO 9000

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental organization made up of members from the national standards bodies of over 160 countries that set international standards related to products and services. ISO has published over 13,000 standards. The ISO 9000 series of standards, related to quality management, is perhaps the most widely known and impactful of any standards issued by ISO.

The ISO 9000 definition is a description of a quality management system. The object of the ISO 9000 family of standards is to provide organizations with the guidance and tools needed to ensure that their products and services meet external requirements and drive consistent quality improvement.

What is the ISO 9001 Standard?

The ISO 9001 standard is a document that describes all of the requirements needed in order to create and maintain a quality management system as described in ISO 9000. This is a subtle difference between ISO 9000 and ISO 9001 that some fail to recognize. So, to explicitly point it out, the difference between the two (ISO 9000 vs 9001) is summarized as the definition of quality management system (ISO 9000) and requirements needed to meet that definition (ISO 9001).

Both the ISO 9000 and 9001 standards are based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation, and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement. The seven quality management principles include the following as described by the ISO :

  • Customer focus – Quality management primarily focuses on meeting customer requirements and striving to exceed customer expectations.
  • Leadership – Helping leaders to establish unity of purpose and direction at all levels and to create conditions to engage members of the organization in achieving the organization’s quality objectives.
  • Engagement of people – Obtaining and maintaining (at all levels throughout the organization) competent, empowered, and engaged people to enhance the organization’s capability to create and deliver value.
  • Process approach – Delivering consistent and predictable results through the use of effective and efficient activities that are understood and managed as interrelated processes that function as a coherent system.
  • Improvement – Maintaining an ongoing, organization-wide focus on improvement.
  • Evidence-based decision making – Using the analysis and evaluation of data and information in the decision making process to produce desired results.
  • Relationship management – Managing the organization’s relationships with related parties, such as partners or vendors, for sustained success.

You can learn more about the quality management principles from the ISO’s 2015 publication . Also, a copy of ISO 9001:2015 can be purchased at the ISO online store .

Why ISO 9000 or 9001

Why ISO 9000 or 9001?

One misconception is that ISO 9000 or 9001 is only for manufactures or large organizations. As a principles-based standard, ISO 9001 can be applied to any organization regardless of what type or size it may be. The standard defines the requirements, but it does not dictate the method of application. The latest version of the standard has been specifically designed to be more accessible to organizations outside the manufacturing sector.

As with anything, there are ISO 9000/9001 pros and cons. The application of ISO 9001 when implementing a quality management system can provide the following benefits the organizations:

  • Clear understanding of your objectives and new business opportunities.
  • Identifying and addressing the risks associated with your organization.
  • Renewed emphasis on putting your customers first.
  • Meeting the necessary statutory and regulatory requirements.
  • Organizational and process alignment to increase productivity and efficiency.

What is an ISO 9000 certification?

What is an ISO 9000 Certification?

If you are researching the ISO 9000 requirements or how to become ISO 9000 certified, you should really be focused on ISO 9001. You see an organization cannot become ISO 9000 certified. First issued in 1987 and last updated in 2015, ISO 9001 is the standard that sets out the criteria for a quality management system and is also the only standard within ISO 9000 that an organization can certify to. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that an organization is ISO 9000 compliant. However, a business can be ISO 9001 certified or compliant. While an ISO 9001 certification is not regulatory requirement, ISO reports that “over one million companies and organizations in over 170 countries have certified to ISO 9001.”

An organization must demonstrate the following in order to be ISO 9001 certified:

  • The company follows the guidelines within the ISO 9001 standard;
  • The company meets its own requirements;
  • The company meets its customer requirements and statutory and regulatory requirements; and
  • The company maintains documentation of its performance.

An ISO 9001 certification can enhance an organization’s credibility as it shows customers that the organization’s products and services meet quality expectations. Additionally, there are some instances where an ISO 9001 certification is required or legally mandated for businesses in some industries.

How to become ISO 9000 certified?

How to Become ISO 9001 Certified?

The ISO 9001 certification process requires an organization to implement ISO 9001:2015 requirements. Once implemented, an organization must successfully complete registrar’s audit to confirm that the organization system meets those requirements.

The auditor will interview management and staff within the organization to determine whether or not they understand their role and responsibilities in complying with the ISO 9001 standards. The auditor will also examine the organization’s documentation to validate compliance with the ISO 9001 requirements. The auditor will then prepare a detailed report that details the parts of the standard that the organization did not meet.

The organization will need to agree to correct any problems within a specified time frame. The organization executes remedial activities to ensure that all problems are corrected. Once these gaps are addressed and confirmed by the auditor, the organization can then be certified.

In order to maintain the ISO 9001 certification, the organization must continue with regular surveillance and recertification audits.

So, what is ISO 9000? In short, it is a principle-based international standard that describes a quality management system that organizations can use to be more efficient and improve customer satisfaction. ISO 9001 is a standard, against which one may be certified, that specifies the requirements an entity needs to meet in order to achieve a quality management system within their organization.

While we do not provide ISO 9001 assessments, Linford & Company can assist you with a number of your compliance needs. If you are interested in getting additional information about the other services we provide, please click on the following links: SOC 1 , SOC 2 , HIPAA audits , Royalty Audits , FedRAMP , Processing Integrity .

summary of iso 9000

Isaac Clarke is a partner at Linford & Co., LLP. He began his career with Ernst & Young in 2003 where he developed his audit expertise over a number of years. Isaac specializes in and has conducted numerous SOC 1 and SOC 2 examinations for a variety of companies —from startups to Fortune 100 companies. Isaac enjoys helping his clients understand and simplify their compliance activities. He is attentive to his clients’ needs and works meticulously to ensure that each examination and report meets professional standards.

ISO 9001 checklist

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What is the ISO 9000 standard?

What is the iso 9000 standard.

ISO 9000 is a family of internationally accepted standards that are used to measure the quality management system (QMS) followed by an organization.

What is the Purpose of the ISO 9000 Standard?

The main purpose of the ISO 9000 standard is to provide a time-tested framework to help companies establish and follow a systematic approach for managing organizational processes for rendering consistent quality.

Before you begin implementing your quality management system, purchase a copy of ISO 9000 and ISO 9001 Standards. Read them both and make yourself familiar with their language and concepts. Although it is written in a dense, formal language the clause titles in ISO 9001:2015 are fairly self-explanatory.

How is ISO 9000 Related to ISO 9001?

ISO 9000 is often used to refer to a family of three standards:

  • ISO 9000:2005 - Fundamentals and vocabulary
  • ISO 9001:2015 - Requirements
  • ISO 9004:2000 - Guidelines for performance improvement  

ISO 9000 explains the principles of the quality management system while ISO 9001 defines the requirements that an organization has to meet to gain certification.

ISO 9000 contains various definitions and terminologies that are integral to developing a proper understanding of the quality management concepts used by ISO 9001. ISO 9001:2015 has five main sections:

  • Quality Management System
  • Management Responsibility
  • Resource Management
  • Product Realization
  • Measurement Analysis and Improvement  

The 2008 revision introduces a concept known as the process model. This means that you need to define what your organization does by:

  • Developing a process model of your organization’s activities
  • Understanding how those processes inter-relate
  • Deciding who owns these processes and ensure they are trained and competent
  • Monitoring and improving the system by auditing and measuring customer satisfaction, etc.

ISO 9000 Principles

The principles of ISO 9000 are integral to almost every business. They include:

  • Ensuring a focus on customer satisfaction
  • Developing leadership that drives the purpose of the organization
  • Involving all people within the organization
  • Adopting the process approach to managing activities and resources
  • Applying a system based approach to manage interrelated processes
  • Continual improvement (to meet customer expectations and ISO 9001 requirements)
  • Using data to drive decision making

These principles are not elements against which an organization can be directly assessed or certified but their influence will impact upon the implementation of the requirements.

What are the Advantages of Implementing ISO 9000?

Benefits include the creation and continual improvement of effective and efficient operating process, reducing waste, increasing productivity, better marketing, and above all else — increasing customer satisfaction and retention.

Commercial Benefits of ISO 9000 and ISO 9001

Certification is often a prerequisite when bidding for contracts. It widens the scope of business opportunities — enabling you to increase market share and overall competitiveness.

ISO represents an accepted minimum management standard for a well managed organization. Whether you operate internationally or want to expand locally, ISO approval will demonstrate your commitment to quality.

5 Ways ISO 9001 Improves Quality

Useful external links

  • ISO 9000 Essentials - www.iso.org
  • Contents of ISO 9000 - wikipedia.org
  • ISO 9000 and Other Standards - http://asq.org
ISO 9001 & Other Standards ISO 9000 Vs ISO 9001 - What's the difference? What is the ISO 9000 standard? Does ISO 9001 require First Article inspection? 5 Real Differences between ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 Is ISO 9001 GFSI Recognized?

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summary of iso 9000

What is ISO 9000? The Beginner’s Guide to Quality Management System Standards (Free ISO 9001 QMS Template)

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In 2018, Apple rolled out their brand new iPad Pro; top-of-the-line, cutting-edge, very slightly bent- wait, slightly bent ?

Customers on social media and several on the MacRumors forums have discovered their iPad Pros exhibited this slight bend straight out of the box.

Of course, Apple’s response was that this was completely normal, and absolutely not a defect.

Despite the publicity Apple gives its “ultra precise” quality manufacturing process, more and more issues like these are appearing. The bendy iPad Pro is looking less like an exception, and more like an increasingly problematic trend.

Here’s a comprehensive quality breakdown (quite literally) of the iPad Pro in question:

It’s interesting to note that while Apple is bragging about premium materials such as the sapphire camera lens cover, tests like the scratch durability test done in the video above pose glaring questions to Apple’s quality standards.

Other quality management blunders from Apple’s recent track record include:

  • iPhone X : Major factory defect on phone screen making it unresponsive to touch;
  • iPhone XS/XS Max : A repeat of antennagate , except this one might be un-fixable with software ;
  • Apple Watch : Batteries will swell and crack or detach the screen.
  • iPad Pro 2017 : An older iPad model sold until November 2018 reportedly develops strange screen glitches ;
  • MacBook Pro : Users have reported and Apple has admitted to serious defects (resulting in data loss and failure) with the solid-state drives inside 13-inch models, as well as severe performance issues with i9 CPUs and sound distortion at low volume;
  • Macbook/Macbook Pro : Defective keyboards in models from 2015 to 2017.

That’s a lot of issues for a company that continues to charge top dollar, push prices up, and boast a reputation as a pioneer in quality assurance.

Obviously, and for whatever reason, there is a problem somewhere in Apple’s quality management process.

Quality control and management is important to ensure the customer gets the value they deserve, and quality management standards like those defined by the ISO 9000 family exist to make quality management work better.

Although Apple has received certification for ISO 27001 (an information security management standard), it doesn’t appear that they have any ISO 9000 certification for quality management. Who knows, if they had, perhaps they wouldn’t have so many QC issues?

In this article, I’ll be looking at the ISO 9000 family of quality management standards, breaking down the basics and giving you a few free checklist templates to get you started with your own quality management system.

Here’s exactly what I’ll be covering:

What is ISO 9000?

  • What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9000 for quality management systems

Why is iso 9000 important, benefits of iso 9000, iso 9000 certification.

  • Implementing ISO 9000 with Process Street

Free ISO 9000 templates

Relevant iso/sop articles.

what is iso 9000

A quick introduction to ISO

The International Organization for Standardization (also known as ISO ) is a standard-setting body with headquarters in Switzerland. It is formed of a number of different representatives from many standards organizations of all types.

ISO is the organization responsible for creating and maintaining standards like those found in ISO 9000.

What is the difference between ISO 9000 and ISO 9001?

Confusingly, ISO 9000 refers to both a single standard (ISO 9000) as well as the entire 9000 family of standards. They are all designed for quality management and quality assurance. The ISO 9001 standard is one of many in the 9000 family.

What about ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is a specific standard, perhaps the most famous of all of the ISO standards. It is specifically designed to help companies implement and maintain quality management systems.

It’s basically a standard that is supposed to help organizations be more efficient and successfully meet the needs of their customers.

At least one million companies and organizations in 170+ countries are certified to ISO 9001, and even more will informally utilize the standard in one way or another.

Quality management is the process of making sure products or services are up to scratch, and that the recipient of those products or services are satisfied.

Simply put, the goal of quality management is to achieve and maintain a desired level of quality. That’s what ISO 9000 is all about – putting a system in place that ensures a consistent level of quality.

What is a QMS?

This is perhaps the most important concept of ISO 9000. A QMS, or quality management system , can be understood as a set of best practice principles for standard operating procedures.

The goal of this kind of system is to ensure reliable, predictable outputs for a given input. With a QMS in place, it’s possible to quantifiably measure the quality of the various aspects of a business with techniques such as auditing.

A QMS at its core is a collection of documented policies and procedures that clearly define the ideal way you want the product or service delivered to your customers. Think of it like a business process management system with a focus on quality control.

No two quality management systems will be the same, and all companies will want to implement ISO 9000 standards in their own way, according to their own needs and goals .

Despite this, there are unifying principles that ISO 9000 quality management systems are designed around, such as the PDCA/PDSA framework.


PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) or PDSA (Plan, Do, Study, Act) are both variants of the Deming cycle , which is a methodology of continuous improvement .

Certain standards in the ISO 9000 family, such as ISO 9001:2015 were updated to be more readily functional alongside the PDSA framework.

These changes come alongside other similar structural changes designed to simplify ISO 9000 implementation.

Annex SL and the management system standard (MSS) structure

Another change to ISO standards has been the introduction of a new, commonly shared structure known as Annex L (previously known as Annex SL).

Made up of 10 clauses, Annex L is shared by many ISO management system standards, such as ISO 9001:2015 , ISO 14001:2015 , and ISO 45001:2018 .

It replaces ISO’s previous Guide 83 standard, which provided base structure and format for management system standards. What this means is, now many different ISO management system standards can be cross-implemented and integrated together very easily, as they all share the same core structure.

Understanding ISO’s management system standards is an important step towards improving efficiency in your organization, especially if you’re already using an ISO standard.

But why else would you consider implementing any of the ISO 9000 standards?

ISO 9000 is a family of quality management standards, and quality management, in the form of a properly enforced QMS, can help an organization to:

  • Market their business more effectively
  • Exploit new markets
  • Streamline onboarding processes
  • Manage growth more efficiently
  • Implement and reap the rewards of continuous improvement
  • Reduce error in production processes
  • Improve product or service efficiency
  • Reduce waste
  • Improve customer and stakeholder satisfaction

Why do I need ISO 9000?

Apart from being an internationally recognized symbol of prestige , a quality management system implemented with ISO 9000 standards for quality assurance can be assumed to have reached a consistently high level of customer satisfaction and product quality.

ISO 9000, specifically standards like ISO 9001, should be seen as ways to systematically and reliably implement functional quality management systems.

As well as being reliable and proven standards for the general purpose of implementing a QMS, there are a number of specific benefits that come with using ISO 9000.

As a guide, a recent study undertaken through the American Society for Quality (ASQ) showed that for every $1 spent on your QMS, you could expect to see an additional $6 in revenue, a $16 reduction in costs, and a $3 increase in profits. On average, they saw that quality management reduced costs by 4.8%.

Benefits of ISO 9000 standards hit all sectors of an organization, and I’ve outlined the main benefits below.

How ISO 9000 can benefit your business

  • For all recurring processes, you ISO 9000 will help to reduce the rate of error.
  • By utilizing a respected international standard, your brand image and credibility will increase.
  • Manual work is reduced with process integration and process automation.
  • By using data and evidence from auditing and detailed records, you will improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness.
  • You will save more time from more efficient management of resources.
  • You will increase profit potential and market share overall as a result of the cumulative effects of implementing ISO 9000 standards.

How ISO 9000 can benefit your customers

  • Customer satisfaction will rise as you will be equipped to quickly and efficiently act on feedback.
  • ISO 9000 standards for quality management encourage preventative thinking and planning, meaning you will address issues before they have a chance to arise and cause problems for customers, or any other sector of business.
  • Customers will see ISO 9000 certification as a badge of a high-quality, reliable vendor.
  • Customer satisfaction is a core focus of ISO 9000 standards, so any effective implementation should see improvements to customer satisfaction.

How ISO 9000 can benefit your employees

  • When done right, ISO 9000 standards will help to foster a company culture of continuous improvement.
  • Process ownership and accountability is an important concept of ISO 9000 standards, and as such employees will become more engaged with and feel responsible for their processes. This in turn improves process quality.
  • Improved business performance means more secure jobs.
  • Higher workplace happiness and job satisfaction due to roles being clearly defined and streamlined.
  • Onboarding and training becomes more streamlined thanks to improved planning and organizational structuring for ISO 9000 requirements.

iso 9000 certification timeline diagram

However, certification carries some exclusive benefits, some of which have been mentioned above. You may also require ISO certification for specific situations, such as when a client or government body requests it.

To be clear, you can only achieve ISO certification as the result of a successful 3rd party audit. To succeed in a 3rd party audit, you need to have:

  • Built and implemented a quality management system in accordance with the principles of the relevant standard.
  • Have an audit performed by a Certified Body (CB or Registrar) to assess the performance of your QMS against the relevant standard.
  • If you are successful, the certificate will need to be recertified after three years (and every subsequent three years) to make sure you’re still up to standard (as well as any new changes to the standard).

That said, there are other reasons you may want to perform an ISO audit .

ISO 9000 audit process

iso 9000 audits diagram

ISO audits are generally made up of these stages:

  • Audit management
  • Audit preparation
  • Audit process
  • Gathering evidence
  • Evaluation of audit evidence against audit criteria
  • Closing the audit
  • Following up
  • Competence and evaluation of auditors

Each stage will involve sub-tasks and requirements of its own, depending on the specific standard being audited to.

Different types of ISO audit

Different types of ISO audit

There are three main types of ISO audit, split into two distinct categories:

Internal audits

  • First-party

External audits

  • Second-party
  • Third-party

The important distinctions are between first, second, and third-party audits.

First-party These are simply internal audits.

Internal audits are conducted by, or on behalf of the organization itself. They’re typically used for assessing conformity, evaluating effectiveness, analyzing processes , and identifying areas for improvement .

They can also be done as part of requirements for certain ISO standards, where it is specified that internal audits need to be carried out.

First party audits can never result in an ISO certification , but they can be used to prepare for a third-party audit.

Second-party “External audits” refers to both second and third-party audits.

Second-party audits are done by, or at the request of any organization or interested party outside of the organization being audited. For example, a customer or a contractor might request a second-party ISO audit.

They will usually be more formal than first-party audits, because the outcome will more directly impact the relationship between the organization and the relevant interested party requesting the audit.

Third-party Third-party audits are done by external organizations that don’t have any vested or conflicting interests in the organization being audited.

For example, a third-party audit will typically be done by a certified body or registered government agency.

The important factor is the independence of the audit organization. They must be separate from the organization being audited.

Customers can also request third-party audits, usually to make sure certain requirements are adhered to.

Third-party audits are the only way to get ISO certified. Just so, failing a third-party audit may lead to a fine or a citation being issued.

ISO has never been easier

Recent changes to ISO standards across the board mean it’s easier than it’s ever been to get started with implementing ISO in your business.

These changes mean you can use Process Street to build and maintain your ISO management systems like those using ISO 9000 standards.

Using Process Street to implement ISO 9000 standards

If you want to practically implement ISO 9000 standards, you will save yourself time and money by choosing a BPM software tool to keep everything organized and streamlined.

Process Street is one such tool, and you can use it to get started with a quality management system using ISO 9000, as well as managing all of your other workflows and business processes.

Since 2015 revisions of ISO standards, Process Street has been an ideal solution for building, managing, implementing, and optimizing standard operating procedures and ISO standards.

Features like form fields , conditional logic , and task assignments make building out your management system a breeze.

Check out this video for a quick rundown on how to get started with Process Street:

If you’re still wondering how to get started with ISO 9000, you could do worse than to take a look at some example templates for a better understanding of how these kinds of quality management systems might look in practice.

Here are some ISO 9000-related checklist templates for you to browse and use at your leisure.

If you want any of them for yourself, all you have to do is sign up for a free Process Street account and add them to your account.

ISO 9001 Internal Audit Checklist for Quality Management Systems

ISO 9001 Internal Audit Checklist for Quality Management Systems

Arguably ISO’s most popular standard, ISO 9001 defines the requirements for implementing, maintaining, and improving quality management systems.

This template is for performing internal audits on ISO 9001 quality management systems, and is based on the auditing principles laid out in ISO 19011 .

Click here to get the ISO 9001:2015 Audit Checklist for Quality Management Systems .

ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 Integrated Management System (IMS) Checklist

ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 Integrated Management System (IMS) Checklist

Integrating multiple different management system standards (MSS) can help save you time and money while reaping the rewards of both systems.

For example, two of the most common ISO management systems are quality management (ISO 9001) and environmental management (ISO 14001).

With this integrated management system (IMS) checklist, you can streamline the whole process of integrating the two systems and save yourself tons of effort in the long run.

Click here to get the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 Integrated Management System (IMS) Checklist .

ISO 9004:2018 Self-Audit Checklist

ISO 9004 is a set of guidelines (as opposed to requirements) for achieving sustained success in quality management systems.

It’s basically a supplementary standard to go alongside ISO 9001, to help organizations implement better quality management systems.

Below you’ll find a self-audit checklist you can use in accordance to the 2018 revision of the ISO 9004 standard.

Click here to get the ISO 9004:2018 Self-Audit Checklist .

ISO 9001 QMS Mini-Manual Structure Template

The Process Street template below provides you with a framework for building your own Quality Management System mini-manual (essentially a process and procedures library) to supplement an ISO 9001:2015 QMS.

Click here to get the ISO 9001 QMS Mini-Manual Structure Template .

ISO 9001 Marketing Procedures (Mini-Manual Example)

This template is a fully filled-out version of the structure template above. You can use it as a reference for how you might want to build out your own mini-manual.

Click here to get the ISO 9001 Marketing Procedures (Mini-Manual Example) .

For more of our ISO and standard operating procedure resources, check out the following articles:

  • Processes, Policies and Procedures: Important Distinctions to Systemize Your Business
  • What is an ISO Audit? Free ISO 9000 Self-Audit Checklist (ISO 9004:2018)
  • How to Write an Actionable Policy and Procedure Template (ISO Compliant!)
  • 20 Free SOP Templates to Make Recording Processes Quick and Painless
  • ISO 26000 for Corporate Social Responsibility: How to Get Started
  • What is Quality Management? The Definitive QMS Guide (Free ISO 9001 Template)
  • What is ISO 9001 Certification? How to Get Certified (For Beginners)
  • Agile ISO: How to Combine Compliance with Rapid Process Improvement


Process Street is not affiliated or in partnership with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The materials on Process Street’s website are provided on an as-is basis and are for educational purposes. Process Street makes no warranties, expressed or implied, and hereby disclaims and negates all other warranties including, without limitation, implied warranties or conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement of intellectual property or other violation of rights. Further, Process Street does not warrant or make any representations concerning the accuracy, likely results, or reliability of the use of the materials on its website or otherwise relating to such materials or on any sites linked to this site.

We’re keen to learn about how you’ve successfully implemented ISO 9000 standards, or the successes (and failures) of quality management systems in general. Let us know, we might feature your comment in an article in future!

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Oliver Peterson

Oliver Peterson is a content writer for Process Street with an interest in systems and processes, attempting to use them as tools for taking apart problems and gaining insight into building robust, lasting solutions.

One Comment

ISO 9001 focuses on establishing a quality management system that emphasizes the importance of meeting the needs of customers and stakeholders linked to the client’s activity. Two keywords in ISO 9001 implementation are efficiency and customer satisfaction. This standard offers a feasible evaluation framework that helps clients to determine their organizational objectives in order to improve their organizational performance and reassess them. Here are how ISO 9001 implementation can help our clients: A thorough validation that a business is confirmed to follow ISO systems accordingly.

This can boost a positive image for the company.

Provide a clear view of business nature and involved parties. This helps the client’s business to set goals and opportunities.

Ensure customer satisfaction as a priority to increase business-customer transaction and business growth itself.

Increase staff involvement which results in better productivity and efficiency. Better risk identification.

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Take control of your workflows today

For organizations asking how to improve the quality of their products and services and consistently meet their customers’ expectations, ISO has an answer. Addressing various aspects of quality management and containing some of ISO’s best-known standards, there’s the ISO 9000 family.

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ISO's seven quality management principles

ISO 9000 on the fundamental concepts and vocabulary of quality management, ISO 9001 setting out the criteria for a quality management system (QMS), and the other standards in this family are based on a number of principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement. These principles are explained in more detail in ISO’s  quality management principles  brochure.

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Highlights from our store

Discover them all

  • ISO 9000:2015 Quality management systems Fundamentals and vocabulary
  • ISO 9001:2015 Quality management systems ISO 9001 is the world's best-known quality management standard for companies and organizations of any size. Buy from iso.org
  • ISO 9004:2018 Quality management Quality of an organization – Guidance to achieve sustained success

Sector-specific applications of ISO 9001

ISO has a range of standards for quality management systems that are based on ISO 9001 and adapted to specific sectors and industries. These include:

  • ISO 13485:2016 Medical devices — Quality management systems — Requirements for regulatory purposes
  • ISO/TS 54001:2019 Quality management systems — Particular requirements for the application of ISO 9001:2015 for electoral organizations at all levels of government
  • ISO 18091:2019 Quality management systems — Guidelines for the application of ISO 9001 in local government
  • ISO 22163:2023 Railway applications — Railway quality management system — ISO 9001:2015 and specific requirements for application in the railway sector
  • ISO 29001:2020 Petroleum, petrochemical and natural gas industries — Sector-specific quality management systems — Requirements for product and service supply organizations
  • ISO/IEC/IEEE 90003:2018 Software engineering — Guidelines for the application of ISO 9001:2015 to computer software

Cover page: ISO 9001 - Debunking the myths

The world’s favourite standard is still as relevant as ever.

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Study shows that ISO’s quality management system (QMS) is an effective support tool promoting administrative reform in state administrative agencies.

Engineers with finished steel product.

The world’s favourite standard is still as relevant as ever.

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Standards to support ISO 9001 have just been updated.

  • Popular standards
  • ISO 9000 family — Quality management


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  5. ISO 2000-9000

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