What is ISO 9001:2015 Compliant? | Symmetry Electronics

Oct 30, 2018


Finding the right partner for your engineering needs requires trust. When dealing with unknown companies that offer hard-to-believe prices, it may be important to check and make sure they follow proper standards when handling their inventory. It doesn’t do any good to save money on parts if those parts can’t be trusted.

For this reason, in 1947 the International Organization for Standardization first set forth a series of common standards among compliant companies across the globe. This turns out to be a win-win for both sides of the business: it ensures that customers are receiving the best service in the industry and also helps organizations improve their own work processes.


“Symmetry’s compliance to the ISO 9001: 2015 standard is essential to our ongoing efforts to continuously improve our organization,” said Symmetry Electronics Credit Supervisor Megan McCaw. “We choose to adhere to such quality standards to ensure we are providing exceptional services, while delivering high quality product to our customers. Symmetry uses the ISO 9001:2015 as a guideline to operate and perform efficiently and effectively, in addition to identifying areas requiring improvements. It gives customers reassurance that the products and services we supply are of high quality. Ultimately, the ISO 9001: 2015 standard aligns Symmetry’s business goals with its Quality Management System’s objectives to strengthen core competencies and promote higher levels of customer satisfaction.”


Keep reading to find out what is ISO and the standard ISO 9001.


What is ISO 9001?

There are over 21,000 different ISO standards available to meet the needs of many different industries. For businesses, one ISO standard stands out among the rest, and that one is ISO 9001.

A precursor of ISO 9001, ISO 9000 was first published in 1987 by the International Organization for Standardization. However, its history can be traced back some twenty years before that, to the publication of government procurement standards, such as the United States Department of Defense MIL-Q-9858 standard in 1959, and the U.K's Def Stan 05-21 and 05-24. Large organizations which supplied government procurement agencies often had to comply with a variety of quality assurance requirements for each contract awarded which led the defense industry to adopt mutual recognition of NATO AQAP, MIL-Q and Def Stan standards. Eventually, ISO 9000 was adopted as a suitable option, instead of forcing contractors to adopt multiple - and often similar - requirements.

The global adoption of ISO 9001 may be attributable to a number of factors. In the early days, the ISO 9001 (9002 and 9003) requirements were intended to be used by procuring organizations, as the basis of contractual arrangements with their suppliers. This helped reduce the need for "supplier development" by establishing basic requirements for a supplier to assure product quality. The ISO 9001 requirements could be tailored to meet specific contractual situations, depending on the complexity of product, business type (design responsibility, manufacture only, distribution, servicing etc.) and risk to the procurer. If a chosen supplier was weak on the controls of their measurement equipment (calibration), and hence QC/inspection results, that specific requirement would be invoked in the contract. The adoption of a single Quality Assurance requirement also led to cost savings throughout the supply chain by reducing the administrative burden of maintaining multiple sets of quality manuals and procedures.


What’s new in ISO 9001:2015?

In 2012, ISO TC 176 - responsible for ISO 9001 development - celebrated 25 years of implementing ISO 9001, and concluded that it was necessary to create a new QMS model for the next 25 years. They subsequently commenced the official work on creating a revision of ISO 9001, starting with the new QM principles. This moment was considered by important specialists in the field as "beginning of a new era in the development of quality management systems. As a result of the intensive work from this technical committee, the revised standard ISO 9001:2015 was published by ISO on 23 September 2015. The scope of the standard has not changed; however, the structure and core terms were modified to allow the standard to integrate more easily with other international management systems standard.

The 2015 version is also less prescriptive than its predecessors and focuses on performance. This was achieved by combining the process approach with risk-based thinking, employing the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle at all levels in the organization.

Some of the key changes include:

  • High-Level Structure of 10 clauses is implemented. Now all new standards released by ISO will have this high-level structure
  • Greater emphasis on building a management system suited to each organization's particular needs
  • A requirement that those at the top of an organization be involved and accountable, aligning quality with wider business strategy
  • Risk-based thinking throughout the standard makes the whole management system a preventive tool and encourages continuous improvement
  • Less prescriptive requirements for documentation: the organization can now decide what documented information it needs and what format it should be in
  • Alignment with other key management system standards through the use of a common structure and core text
  • Inclusion of Knowledge Management principles
  • Quality Manual & Management representative (MR) are no longer mandatory


Essentially the layout of the standard is similar to the previous ISO 9001:2008 standard in that it follows the Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle in a process-based approach, but is now further encouraging this to have risk-based thinking. The purpose of the quality objectives is to determine the conformity of the requirements (customers and organizations), facilitate effective deployment and improve the quality management system.

ISO 9001:2015 requires the organization to document any procedures required for its effective operation. The standard requires the organization to issue and communicate a documented quality policy, a quality management system scope, and quality objectives. The standard requires retention of numerous records, as specified throughout the standard. New for the 2015 release is a requirement for an organization to assess risks and opportunities, and to determine internal and external issues relevant to its purpose and strategic direction. The organization must demonstrate how the standard’s requirements are being met, while the external auditor’s role is to determine the quality management system's effectiveness. More detailed interpretation and implementation examples are often sought by organizations seeking more information.


Symmetry is proud to be a ISO 9001:2015 compliant company headquartered in Los Angeles, California.


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