annex sl

What is Annex SL and why is it important?

March 6th, 2019 By Marketing

It may seem that with each ISO update, comes heaps of complicated changes and difficult new concepts to grapple with. However, you’ll be pleased to discover  ISO 9001:2015 was designed with simplicity in mind. But how?

Annex SL is a foundational component of the new ISO standards, helping it become a lot less complex and a lot more “user friendly”- which is good news for all of us! But what is Annex SL and why is it important?

What is Annex SL?

When thinking about their standards, ISO realised they needed to develop a common, ten-rung, high-level structure to improve readability and understanding. Their finished product looks something like this:

  1. Scope
  2. Normative references
  3. Terms and definitions
  4. Context of the organisation
  5. Leadership
  6. Planning
  7. Support
  8. Operation
  9. Performance evaluation
  10. Improvement

All new ISOs – including ISO 9001:2015 – are built on this structure, and there’s work being carried out on implementing these into past and future standards. Sharing common text, terms and definitions will be the driving force for these standards.

Why was Annex SL developed?

Although you may have noticed that ISO management system structures always shared common elements, these were translated in different ways according to the ISO standard. From your experience, you may have been confused by these differences; muddled definitions often result in vagueness and obscurity at the implementation stage, leading to inconsistency at the ground level of your organisation.

Why is Annex SL important?

The ten-clause structure makes standards easier to read, follow and understand, which will lead to uniformity across your organisation, especially when you want to adhere to more than one ISO.

Annex SL harmonises structural elements and technical terminology, transforming them into something adaptable to fit around your specificities and requirements. This also ensures consistency among standards, making implementation of multiple ISOs much easier, plus you’ll save time and money.

You’ll see that the benefits of Annex SL illustrate all the advantages of maintaining watertight management systems.

What next?

Not all ISOs are harmonised with Annex SL, but this will change over the next few years as new versions of the standards – such as ISO 9001:2015 – are already using the Annex SL structure. Importantly, it provides ISO with a universal framework to create future management systems.

Are you looking to implement ISO 9001:2015 in your management system? Download the guide today and find out all you need to know.

ISO 9001

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