Frequently Asked Questions On Preparing for Transition to ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015

1) Why is the ISO 9001 standard changing again?

There are a number of objectives associated with this revision, but there are three that are considered most critical.

1) The Internal Organization for Standardization (ISO) wants to see the ISO 9001 –ISO 14001 and all of its other standards continue to grow in terms of numbers of registrations. There is a lingering perception that ISO 9001-ISO 14001 is somehow overbearing or obtrusive to service organizations.

2) There has been a targeted effort to simplify language used to aid in understanding and promote consistency between accreditation bodies, certification bodies, auditors, and clients.

3) There has been a long standing desire to simplify and streamline the process for companies that wish to achieve multiple certifications (such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.) For example, many of these companies currently feel compelled to maintain multiple sets of quality and procedures manuals. This new re-write is attempting to address these and other concerns.

2) What is the expected timeline?

The new ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 standards were published on September 15, 2015. This means that the ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 standards will become obsolete on September 14, 2018. As a result, All ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 certifications issued in late 2015 and beyond will have to bear an expiry date September 14, 2018. However, it has been emphasized that companies will be allowed to transition at their own pace, and that certification bodies will have to establish their own individual cut-off dates for ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 audits. See also the response to the next question.

3) My audits are normally due in late July, and the transition period ends in September. Why can’t my company have its transition audit in late July 2018?

While it is true that the transition period does not end until September 14, 2018, it is not just required that your audit is conducted by this date. If any non-conformities are discovered during the audit, they must be addressed with corrective action, and UNIVERSAL Certification Committee (decision-making body) must review and approve the audit package by the transition deadline. A late July 2018 audit does not provide enough time for this to happen. Thus, your organization could transition in July 2017 or chose to have an earlier audit in 2018, perhaps May, to allow adequate time for completion of the post-audit process. All transition audits must be completed within the transition end date of September 14, 2018. Thus, all transition audits must be completed by May 14, 2018.

4) My organization is not yet certified. We have been working at implementing ISO 9001:2008 or ISO 14001:2004 for a while.Can we still seek certification to the 2008 version of the standard and then transition later?

UNIVERSAL will allow initial audits to the 2008 version of the standard until approximately March 14, 2017. Keep in mind that ISO 9001:2008 will be obsolete on September 14, 2018. Therefore, the expiration date on any 2008 certificate issued after the publication of ISO 9001:2015 will be September 14, 2018. Thus, it may appear that your organization is not being granted a full, three-year certificate. However, after successful transition to ISO 9001:2015, the expiry date of your certificate will be amended to reflect a full three-year certification.

5) What if we have a Re-certification audit in early 2016, should we just plan on performing that audit to ISO9001:2015?

This will be a strategic decision that each company makes on its own, but there are a few key points to bear in mind. If you have had a chance to examine your quality system against the revised requirements and feel that you are ready, you can certainly request that a transition audit to ISO 9001:2015 be performed. Timing the transition to your regular re-certification audit is ideal, but not in any way mandatory. You could certainly perform your 2016 Re-certification Audit to ISO 9001:2008, and then complete a transition audit to ISO9001:2015 in 2017.

6) Is it better to transition earlier?

As described in the question above, it is important to avoid waiting until the last minute. However, there is no difference if you transition in April 2016, April 2017 or April 2018, for example. An ISO 9001:2008 certificate is still valid until the end of the transition period. In no way should an ISO 9001:2015 certificate be perceived as better than an ISO 9001:2008 certificate until the obsolescence date of that standard.

7) What happens if my organization doesn’t transition on time?

If your organization does not have a transition audit prior to the end of the transition period/obsolescence date of ISO 9001:2008, then you will no longer be certified as of the end of the transition period. In order to become certified to ISO 9001:2015, you will need to start over with an initial audit (Stage 1 and Stage 2).

If your organization does have its transition audit but the audit package is not closed prior to the end of the transition period/obsolescence date of ISO 9001:2008, then an ISO 9001:2015 certificate will be issued as soon as the package can be closed. This means that there will be a lapse in your certification status. Our Scheduling Department will work with you to ensure the timely scheduling of any transition audits that occur later in the transition period to avoid this unfortunate situation.

8) What are the critical changes?

There are two important standouts.

1) ISO 9001:2015 has eliminated the terms “Documents,” “Procedures,” and “Records.” All of these terms have been replaced with the ubiquitous “Documented Information.” The rationale of this change is that it opens the door to a greater understanding and acceptance of alternative methods of controlling a quality management system. ISO is not interested in outdated, dogmatic views of how a process can be controlled or shown to be effective. Consequently, these outdated terms have been eliminated.

2) The introduction of Risk Management. Risk Management has been talked about a great deal over the past year. There are already two ISO standards (ISO 14971 and ISO 31000) and numerous other published materials on methods that can be used to achieve Risk Management. Our analysis has concluded that at least two existing processes within ISO 9001:2008 can be applied to an effective Risk Management program. These are 7.1 Planning of Product Realization and 8.5.3 Preventive Action. Risk Management is being viewed as a system wide component of the quality management system (in much the same way Continual Improvement was when ISO 9001:2000 was published), but it has been emphasized many times over that a formal Risk Management process will not be expected.

9) What is Annex SL, and what does it have to do with ISO 9001 and ISO 14001?

Annex SL is a portion of the “ISO/IEC Directives Part 1 – Consolidated ISO Supplement – Procedures Specific to ISO” document. This standard regulates and controls the process of developing, updating, and issuing ISO published standard. The full text of Directives Part 1, including the Annex SL text can be found here: http://www.iso.org/sites/directives/Directives_Consolidated.xhtml#x—Annex-SL–normative—Proposals-for-management-system-standards Annex SL can be thought of as a ten section blueprint to be used for all ISO standards. It promotes (among other things) common terms and core definitions for many of the terms used in the ISO family of standards. It is through the mandatory structure of Annex SL that organizations will be better enabled to achieve multiple certifications such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and OHSAS 18001, because each of these standards will have the same 10 sections and the same core terms and definitions.

10) We’ve already been certified for a long time and our procedures are well implemented, do we have to change them?

UNIVERSAL has concluded that for the average ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001 certified company, the impact of the revised standard will be minimal and quite manageable. It is important to bear in mind that the ISO is seeking greater inclusion for the ISO 9001 standard. They want to see it continue to grow into new sectors and be even more user friendly than it is now. Requiring a company to aggressively overhaul their current ISO 9001:2008 system is not consistent with this objective.

11) What are some examples of things we’re already doing that would be viewed favorably under the Risk Management requirement?

There are a number of activities that are required under ISO 9001:2008 standard that are likely going to help you demonstrate compliance to Risk Management. These include 5.6 Management Review (an assessment of your overall quality system leading to targeted improvement efforts), 7.2.2 Review of Requirements related to the Product (an assessment of customer expectations against your current capabilities with steps taken to resolve discrepancies), 8.5.3 Preventive Action (an assessment of potential problems with actions taken to avoid those issues in the first place), and 6.2.2 Training (an assessment of competency needs with steps taken to ensure that personnel are fully qualified and competent.)

12) Will our staff have to complete transition training?

It will depend on the extent of revisions that you make to your quality management system, but generally – yes you will be expected to provide some form of transition training to your staff. At a minimum, UNIVERSAL would expect that awareness training of the new standard would be provided, as well as an assessment of the new standard’s impact on the various processes and personnel. However, it is entirely conceivable that the majority of your staff will feel no effect from your company’s transition to ISO 9001:2015.

13) What about our internal auditors, will they have to complete transitional training?

Internal auditing is viewed in the same light as any other required competency within a quality management system. Namely, the organization is responsible for determining what competencies are required for its internal auditors, as well as the methods to be used to achieve those competencies. To put it more plainly, each organization will have to decide on its own the extent to which transition training will be needed. It is conceivable that a seasoned team of internal auditors could complete a period of self-study and successfully transition to auditing ISO 9001:2015. As has always been the case, the competency of your internal auditors will be judged by the overall effectiveness of your internal audit process.

14) What steps can we take right now?

The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) has published an Informative Document (IAF ID 9: 2015 Transition Planning Guidance for ISO 9001:2015 and IAF ID 10: 2015 Transition Planning Guidance for ISO 14001:2015 ) which recommends the following steps be taken in a the transition to ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015.

1) A full review of the standard should be performed by Top Management to identify the gaps that need to be addressed.

2) A plan of implementation should be developed with assigned responsibilities.

3) All quality management system documents (including the quality and procedures manual (if applicable)) should be updated to reflect any new or revised processes.

4) All necessary awareness and transition training should be completed.

4) A full system internal audit followed by a Management Review should be complete.

5) Corrective Actions for all internal audit findings should be in process or complete.

6) Coordinate with UNIVERSAL for planning of transition arrangements.

15) Will extra audit time be needed for my transition audit?

Yes, if you plan on transitioning on a normal surveillance or recertification audit, extra time will be added to your audit. Guidance published by the International Accreditation Forum clearly states the following: “Where transition audits are carried out in conjunction with scheduled surveillance or recertification (i.e. progressive or staged approach), additional time is likely to be required to ensure that all activities are covered for the existing and new standards.”

UNIVERSAL has completed an analysis of the new requirements and our technical experts have analyzed the time it would take to effectively audit these requirements in different companies.

16) Our organization is considering transferring our accredited ISO 9001:2008 certification to UNIVERSAL. How does the transition timeline impact our plans to transfer?

The requirements will be the same whether you are a currently certified UNIVERSAL client or a transfer candidate. UNIVERSAL will transfer an ISO 9001:2008 certificate until May 14, 2018. Subsequent to this date, we cannot guarantee that all transition activities will be completed prior to the transition deadline.

Should you have further questions or require assistance please contact our Certification Department ([email protected]) or our Representative office in your area (Locations).