What is an ISO standard?April 17th, 2023 By Amywright
ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization – ISO is a non-governmental organisation made up of members from 165 countries, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. They are the creators of ISO standards, and their main aim is to provide guidelines and specifications for organisations to adhere to, thus ensuring businesses products, processes, and procedures are fit for purpose.
Is ISO certification suitable for my organisation?
Firstly, ask yourself the following questions:
- Would you like to resolve reoccurring issues in the first instance and save money and time?
- Would you like to tender for contracts within your industry?
- Would you like to see an improvement with client relationships and customer satisfaction?
- Would you like to utilise your time better through improved resource management?
- Would you like to see an improvement in internal procedures?
- If you have answered yes to any of the aforementioned questions, ISO certification may certainly be suitable for you. ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) is one of the most widely used management tools in the world, with over 1 million businesses certified.
How are ISO standards developed?
In order to remain popular, ISO standards need to be relevant to the industries that they cover. ISO standards are reviewed every 5 years, and are performed by National Standards Bodies to ensure that each country tailors the standard in question to its needs. With more than three quarters of ISO members coming from developing countries, this ensures that standards apply equally to developed and developing countries alike.
Standards are developed by Technical Committees (TCs) made up of independent technical experts nominated by ISO’s members. These TCs are then divided into Sub Committees (SCs). Whereas TCs manage rather broad subjects, such as ‘language and terminology’, SCs manage far more specific subjects within those broader domains.
What is the process?
Now, despite having already developed over 22,000 standards, ISO is still creating more. The development process of a new standard is as follows:
- The first step in creating a new standard is identifying a specific market need, and justifying the need for a new international standard in that subject area.
- Once that has been done, the parent committee usually sets up a working group (WG) – made up of experts and a convenor (convenors have a deep understanding of the subject field and market needs).
- The working draft is then shared with the members of the parent committee. If the committee uses the draft as it is, then the newly-named Committee Draft (CD) is circulated to the members of the committee who then comment and vote on it. Otherwise, successive modified CDs may be circulated until consensus is reached.
- Once consensus has been reached, the Draft International Standard (DIS) is submitted to the ISO Central Secretariat by the Committee Secretary. It is then circulated to all ISO members who then have 12 weeks to vote and comment on it.
- If the DIS has been approved without any technical changes, then the project goes straight to publication. If, however, changes has been made, the DIS becomes a FDIS (Final Draft International Standard), which is then submitted to ISO/Central Secretariat (ISO/CS) by the Committee Secretary. The FDIS is then circulated to all ISO members, who then have 8 weeks to vote on it.
- At this stage, the secretary submits the final document for publication through the Submission Interface. If the standard has passed through the approval stage (step 5), the secretary may submit the project leader’s responses to member body comments on the FDIS.
- The only changes made to the final text at this point are editorial corrections. It is then published by the ISO Central Secretariat as an international standard. Committee secretaries and project leaders get a two week sign off period before the standard is published.
From start to finish, developing a standard from scratch usually takes around three years.
How can IMSM help?
The role of IMSM is to provide support and guidance towards certification. Our experienced assessors work with existing systems and processes in your organisation and offer training where necessary.
For a free Quotation or On-Site presentation by an ISO Specialist, contact us today!
IMSM Philippines Corporation
28th Floor, Tower 2,
The Enterprise Center, 6766 Ayala Ave.,
cor Paseo de Roxas,