Three Reasons to Be An ISO 9001:2015 Early Adopter

by Matt Leiphart

Beat the Competition While Writing the New Rule Book

ISO 9001:2015 ChangesThe new version of ISO 9001 is on the cusp of release. All organizations registered to the current version of the standard will transition to the new requirements at some point in the next few years. Some will choose to wait until they are facing the final deadline, figuring bumps in the road will be worked out and understood by then, making their lives easier.

We believe waiting equates to missed opportunity. We’ve been through these transitions before. Being among the first organizations to transition provides market advantages with customers, while providing more control over how the requirements are implemented within the management system.

Reason 1 – Outshine the Field

I have heard the way you handle one thing is the way you handle everything. If you are disciplined with money, you are probably disciplined in how you approach work assignments. If you are brave and honest in relationships, you are probably brave and honest in negotiations. Well, the way your organization handles the ISO 9001:2015 transition is the way it handles everything else. If you convert early you can show customers your quality management system is mature, well-planned, and consistently executed, and get them thinking the rest of your organization probably is too.

Show your customers you are the cutting edge of quality management system maturity. The whole purpose of ISO 9001 is to “enhance customer satisfaction.” Point out that you are leading the field. Don’t they want suppliers who are in the lead? Doesn’t that reflect upon them?

Make the transition early, and bring this dialogue to your customers. Make the argument that your early transition is a reason why customers should choose your organization.

Reason 2 – Be the Model, Lead the Auditor’s Education

Registrar auditors will never admit it, but if you are one of the first to show them how the new requirements are implemented, you will be the model they use as a comparison while auditing other companies. That can only mean good things for you, as next year’s visit is not an audit so much as a chance for the auditor to see how the model has changed or improved. Make the logical connections, document your approach well, and show your auditor how it is done.

If you transition early, registrar auditors will be learning the standard along with you. If the auditor thinks he found a nonconformity, politely yet firmly ask them to show you the requirement in question in black and white. It will help you both understand the new requirements and aid the retention of the knowledge. And who knows, it may turn out the auditor reached for a requirement that no longer exists.

Reason 3 – The Sooner You Sow, The Sooner You Will Reap

A close reading of the new version of ISO 9001 reveals the dynamic nature of the management system that results from the practices documented in the requirements. The risk-based thinking approach is not a one-and-done deal. The benefits to an organization will become most apparent after the management system has been operating for a while. The power comes from monitoring the system, evaluating results, changing risk and opportunity assessments, revising plans to reduce risk and enhance opportunities, and honing the management system to do better each and every time through the cycle.

Those of us who have dived deeply into the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle have experienced this. The first time through the process provides insight, visibility, and a disciplined approach. Then comes the heavy lifting of the first, “Do,” and all the attendant disciplines and reminders and audits and are-we-there-yet? The fun really begins with the Check-Act-Plan portion. That’s when creativity really comes into play. Defining something the first time is pretty easy, comparably. When faced with real-life feedback, what can be done to get a better result? “Do” is now focused on improvement, not consistency. “Check” is not just a number, but a comparison to the last time, with “Act” information on how to make the “Plan” even more bulletproof. This is where the superstars make their livings.

The longer you take to transition your management system to the risk-based approach of ISO 9001:2015, the longer your road to the Check-Act-Plan portion of management system evolution. Don’t hesitate in the starting blocks. Start the journey now, get to the good stuff sooner.


The draft standard is currently available. There is plenty of information (and opinions) about ISO 9001:2015 available on the internet. Local ASQ groups are holding information sessions. If you agree early adoption is the way to go, get started today. There is no good reason to delay.

Cavendish Scott, Inc. has been consulting, training, and auditing in ISO 9001 and related standards for over 30 years.  We are always accurate and professional and generate meaningful management system solutions.  We guarantee successful certification in a non-bureaucratic, value-added way.  We are excitedly preparing for the ISO 9001:2015 transition with training opportunities, consulting solutions, and auditing/gap analysis/project planning packages. For more information contact us at

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