Deconstructing ISO 9001:2015 Part 1: Understanding ISO 9001:2015 and the Role of Interested Parties (4.2)

Although not new to those familiar with ISO 14001, Interested Parties is new to the ISO 9001:2015 Standard.  Because of the emphasis placed upon Interested Parties, it’s important to understand the concept of ISO’s definition and how to use this information once identified.

Understanding who the various Interested Parties are that influence your organization’s product will you help ensure it is meeting client expectations and project requirements.  Engaged management teams naturally consider the people that are interested in the business and its activities and outputs when planning and implementing their processes.  Like many of the requirements in the Standard, these activities have historically been done quietly and casually, almost without knowing, rather than strategically and methodically.

Industry recognizes that being very careful and having defined processes to identify Interested Parties increases the likelihood that management are actively evaluating and planning for these existing, and potentially changing, interests to set the course for their business’ success, which is why we now see this emphasized in the Standard.

You will also see that the evaluation of the data for Interested Parties is strategically used in the determination of the management system’s scope (4.3) and the communication of the quality policy (5.2.2).  It is also used when developing production controls like measurement traceability (7.1.6) and product and service requirements (8.2.3), as well as design requirements (8.3).  Management Review considers relevant Interested Parties’ satisfaction and feedback as well. (9.3)

Who are these interested parties, anyway?

This varies from organization to organization, depending on the products and services offered, but some examples include:

  • Shareholders
  • Owners
  • Management
  • Employees
  • Trade unions
  • Suppliers
  • Partners
  • Clients
  • Government agencies
  • Non-government organizations
  • Certification bodies
  • Media
  • Society
  • Any other person or organization.

Should management give all Interested Parties equal interest in the organization or will every organization have the same list of Interested Parties?  

No. Only those parties that management determines to be relevant to the quality management system need to be considered.  Some parties will have a very high interest in the organization, while others will have relatively little interest.  Management needs a process for determining this relevance and needs to be able to demonstrate the method used to determine relevance during an audit.

Platinum Registration will have strong expectations for documented information that is maintained for controlling this process.

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