Presentation Highlights from the 2016 ISO 9000 Conference World Conference

golden sunset over field with barley

This week saw the 24th ISO 9000 World Conference in Orlando.  The focus was the new 2015 version of the ISO 9001 standard and over 400 delegates heard presentations covering both feedback and experience from early adopters, and some explanation and interpretation from the US delegation representatives.  There was also coverage to catch everyone up on progress with other standards such as AS9100 and TS 16949 and also the certification and accreditation environment.

Cavendish Scott’s Colin Gray provided an important presentation outlining a simple solution to the new strategic requirements in ISO 9001:2015.  His presentation, Getting the Context Right: Using SWOT to Address ISO 9001:2015, touched on the ISO requirements for context, covered the basics of SWOT, emphasized the need for a process and also provided some basis for breaking down the SWOT elements to make everything easier.

Also well received was Matt Leiphart’s presentation on Struggling Against Nature – Preventing Human Error in the new ISO 9001 2015 Standard.  Matt identified some common sources of error and some of the different techniques and categories for identifying when and how human error occurs.  He explained how these techniques link to the requirements of ISO 9001 and how in addressing them, real benefit can be realized.

Overall, there were some great discussions during the conference regarding the increased user flexibility of the standard.  It was emphasized that the standard demands very few procedures and records but leaves it to the user/organization to identify how conformance with the requirements is demonstrated.  “While the flexibility is welcome, the danger of not recognizing that evidence still has to be clearly presented to auditors, is very real,” says Gray. “It was good to see that Cavendish Scott’s interpretations and approaches align with what the industry is expecting.  In fact our ideas and solutions seem more consistent and precise than many presented,” he concluded.

Perhaps the biggest questions remaining from the conference came from the certification and accreditation industry. The US accreditation agency, ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB), felt that with just a little extra “padding” that certification bodies could transition organizations to the new standard.  There really wasn’t any explanation of how significant new additions to the standard for context, interested parties, risk, opportunities, communication, knowledge, etc. were to be verified without any more audit time.  ANAB also seemed to be pushing for support for an international mandatory database for ISO certifications.  They acknowledged current certification industry concerns about poaching of clients but really didn’t justify any unique benefits the cost and bureaucracy of a database would bring.  Verification of legitimate accreditation seemed to be their concern although again, no explanation of benefits for the user.  ANAB was also challenged on the effectiveness of their accreditation of certification bodies.  Some general discussion about competency didn’t really answer the question which remained unanswered

Cavendish Scott is looking forward to next year’s 25th ISO 9000 World Conference.