The Top 5 Myths Surrounding ISO 9001:2015

Bringing you information about SQA, Quality Management, and more.

April 26, 2019



For those who are new to ISO 9001:2015, or who have never been certified to an ISO standard before, there may be some rumblings, misconceptions, and preconceived notions that exist out there in the ether. It’s possible that you may stumble across some of them while doing research, collecting information, or speaking with those who are “in the know” as you seek to put together the whole picture before reaching out to a registrar or making your final decision. Below we’ll look at 5 of the most popular myths brought up about ISO 9001:2015 certification and what the reality is for each.

First, let’s begin by defining, briefly, what ISO 9001:2015 is. Since 1987, the ISO 9000 series of standards has provided companies with a set of requirements to base a quality management system (QMS) around. When designed and implemented properly, ISO 9001:2015 certification can help organizations reduce waste, improve efficiencies, and grow customer satisfaction, all through a finely tuned and well-structured QMS. However, you may find some nay-sayers that make statements like:

1. ISO 9001:2015 is too complicated. – MYTH

At first glance, ISO 9001:2015 can appear to be complex, but the ideas behind the standard are actually quite simple. These concepts can mostly be broiled down into seven quality management principles that include: Customer focus, leadership, engagement, process approach, improvement, evidence-based decision making, and relationship management – and this is really where you’ll build the foundation of your quality management system.  Additionally, there are a wealth of support and information-based documents that are available to help you answer any lingering questions, through certification bodies and the ISO website itself.

2. ISO 9001 is outdated, it was designed for the way business worked in the late '80s and '90s. – MYTH

While it is accurate that ISO 9001 was first published in 1987, the standard is regularly updated to ensure its relevancy to the modern business climate. There’s a big clue in the title of the latest version “ISO 9001:2015”, with 2015 referring to the year in which the last revision took place. With each update the standard is designed to be flexible enough to be used by many different types of organizations, the most recent edition requires the organizations themselves to define what their objectives should be, as well as how to continually improve each of their processes to attain them.

3. The real benefits of ISO 9001 only apply to big businesses. – MYTH

Not true. As mentioned in the myth prior, ISO 9001:2015 has been revised to be more flexible to allow different types of organizations, including small businesses, to reap the benefits that come along with the proper implementation of the standard. In fact, ISO.org has a dedicated publication titled: ISO 9001 for Small Enterprises. What to Do available through the ISO store – in it, the guide presents “…how SMEs could get (the)maximum benefit from the standard. It provides a clear understanding of what a Quality Management System is and what the requirements are before guiding you through the implementation process.”

4. ISO 9001:2015 is too expensive. – MTYH

A copy of the actual standard in document form is reasonable when it comes to purchasing price, but as it pertains to getting your organization officially certified, costs vary depending on which certification body you choose to partner with. However, as we mention in an earlier post, Great Expectations: What to Expect from Your Registrar -  It’s important to know there is no universal pricing for certification. There are many factors that go into pricing, such as employee count, the maturity of the management system, and how many outsourced processes the company has.” In this sense “expensive” is a relative term, but in order to get the most value out of your investment one thing that your company should look for when it comes to pricing is transparency.

5. ISO 9001 is just for manufacturers. – MYTH

This is just not true. There is a multitude of examples of ISO 9001:2015 delivering real world value for service providers such as hospitals, banks, government applications, and educational institutions. This diversity in specific industries is likely to continue to grow as the latest revision has only made parts of the standard more flexible to open it up to organizations of different size and applications.

There are many reasons for implementing a quality management system based around ISO 9001:2015, but just like anything there are two sides to every story, and it’s possible that your organization may just not be ready yet or may be in the process of building your QMS and putting in place. Don’t let one of these myths be the reason for slowing you down or preventing your company from seeking certification.

To learn more about ISO 9001:2015 certification, please visit our ISO 9001 Services Page.