ISO 9004:2009 – a review
ISO 9004:2009 has been published.
Bob Alisic, leader of the task group responsible for the ISO 9004:2009 comments:
“While the goal is initially to ensure the production of ‘good’ products and services, leading to the achievement of customer satisfaction, the longer-term purpose is to ensure the economic survival of the organization. The new edition gives guidance on how an organization should adopt a systematic approach to achieve this.”
ISO 9004:2009 provides guidance for the continual improvement of an organization’s overall performance, efficiency and effectiveness based on a process-based approach. It focuses on meeting the needs and expectations of customers and other relevant parties, over the long term, and in a balanced way.
Compared to ISO 9001:2008 which ensures quality management of products and services, while enhancing customer satisfaction, ISO 9004:2009 provides a broader perspective of quality management, particularly for performanceimprovement. It will prove useful to organizations whose top management wishes to move beyond ISO 9001, in pursuit of ongoing improvement, measured through the satisfaction of customers and other stakeholders.
Shaun over at Capable People has allowed me to re-post his excellent summary:It’s here. A year after the publication of ISO 9001:2008, the companion document ISO 9004 has been updated. And whilst the most recent changes to ISO 9001 have been minimal and to all intents and purposes largely cosmetic, the changes to ISO 9004 have not. The changes are big. In fact, the revised standard is barely recognisable from its predecessor. It’s different.So what are the changes? Where do we start?OK, gone is the old title “Guidelines for Performance Improvement”. The new title for ISO 9004:2009 is “Managing for the sustained success of an organisation – a quality management approach”. Gone is the old familiar format that mirrored ISO 9001, where we had the ISO 9001 requirements as “boxed text” accompanied by some general hints and tips outside the boxed text, there to help us understand and apply the various requirements of ISO 9001. That is goneIn fact, ISO 9004 no longer follows the structure and requirements of ISO 9001 in any real way. It no longer goes through the ISO 9001 requirements and offers specific clause by clause advice. It actually does more or less what the title implies, it offers guidance on a more general “quality management approach”This calls into question what the intended application of ISO 9004 actually is. It can no longer really function as an implementation guide to ISO 9001, firstly because it no longer tries to, but secondly because the scope of its content is now fundamentally different. It contains, for example, guidance on such matters as:Strategy and policy formulationStrategy and policy deploymentFinancial resourcesKnowledge, information and technologyNatural resourcesInnovation & learningWow. That’s different. Good topics though these might be, they are arguably outwith the current scope of ISO 9001:2008. What is more, it appears that ISO 9004 is starting to use some established terms in a different way to ISO 9001. Policy for instance. If we look at the way ISO 9001 uses the term “Policy” (with reference to clause 5.3) it deals very much solely with the one page “statement of intent” that we all know and (maybe) love. ISO 9004 appears to be using the term in a broader sense, that is something more detailed, meaningful and less neutral. And strategy? Well, ISO 9001 currently does not even go thereThe most obvious “hit you in the face” feature of ISO 9004:2009, however, is that it borrows very heavily from the EFQM Excellence ModelAll of those new topics listed above feature heavily in that best practice model, and have done for a couple of decades. We saw a small movement to an “excellence model approach” in 2000 when the “8 Principles” were introduced. These principles were lifted, more or less, from the principles that underpinned the EFQM model at the time. Some of them (Continual Improvement, Customer Focus) even generated some significant new requirements. Many people expected ISO 9001:2008 to move a little further in that general “excellence” direction. It did not, of course. Some of us were pleased, some of us were disappointed. Maybe ISO 9004:2009 is a kind of half-way house? Maybe it has been developed this way as a means of placating those of us that maintain ISO 9001 standards are old fashioned or not challenging enough? Maybe ISO is saying, “OK you want something more challenging? There you are. Next time be careful what you wish for!”Either way, as a general observation I have to say that I am seeing an initial period of confusion. Not that the contents are in any way badly written or irrelevant, just that practitioners are simply confused as to what the intent of ISO 9004:2009 actually is. How are we to use it? Will certification bodies develop a certification scheme for it? (there’s a thought), how are ISO 9001 auditors meant to use it? All these questions remain for the moment, so far as I can see, unansweredSo, yes, it appears to be a “quality” document, but will it be used in a “quality” way? Only time will tell.What do you think about ISO9004:2009? Post your comments below.Related Reading:Bog-Standard Britain: How Mediocrity Ruined This Great Nation