A Brief History of ISO9001

A brief history of ISO9001

Originally created to ensure quality of products supplied to the defence industries, the following are some key milestones in the journey to ISO9001:2015.

  • 1971 – BSI (British Standards Institute) publish BS 9000 the first UK standard for quality assurance for use in the electronics industry
  • 1974 – BS 5179 "Guidelines for Quality Assurance" is published. Suppliers can now demonstrate quality assurance to customers through independent assessment
  • 1979 – BS5750 is published following dialogue and cooperation between BSI and industry throughout the 1970s. This replaces industry-specific standards as the recognised mark of quality management
  • 1987 – Released in 1987, ISO 9002:1987 (along with ISO9001 for design and ISO9003 for inspection and testing organisations) had the same basic structure as BS5750 and was more suited to manufacturing with emphasis on conformance to procedures rather than overall management processes.
  • 1994 – The standards undergo their first revision. Emphasis is placed on creating quality assurance by seeking to identify and prevent possible deviations before they occur. However, many companies took the requirements very literally, creating voluminous manuals, procedures and instructions.
  • 2000 – The standards are revised again to ISO 9001:2000. This time the standard aimed to focus predominantly on the concept of process management in an attempt to create 'a documented system' as opposed to 'a system of documents'. Emphasis was now on continually improving processes and monitoring customer satisfaction. This revision also saw the elimination of ISO9002 and ISO9003, with ISO9001 now being the only certifiable ISO quality management system standard.
  • 2008 – This year, we saw a low-level revision to ISO9001 with only minor changes and clarifications.
  • 2015 – The current version represents a major change in approach and structure. ISO9001:2015 now has a structure which is common with all other ISO standards meaning integration into a single system is relatively easy. In addition, the removal of mandatory procedures and a manual means that businesses are free to build a QMS that works for them, rather than one that is built to satisfy auditors.


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