ISO 9004 is a
management standard. It was first
published in 1994, updated in 2000 and again in 2009. This
current version was officially published on November 1, 2009
and is the third edition of the ISO 9004 standard. It cancels and
replaces all previous editions.
ISO 9004 defines a set of quality management
recommendations (Parts 4 to 9). We refer to the ISO 9004 clauses
as guidelines or recommendations because they’re voluntary.
They’re not requirements or contractual obligations. They’re
suggestions only. They apply to all types of organizations.
It doesn’t matter what size they are or what they do. Any
organization can benefit from following ISO’s quality
In the past, ISO 9004 contained the
used the same numbering system. They were designed to be
used as “a consistent pair of standards on quality management”.
Now the link between ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 has been broken.
ISO 9004 now seems to be heading off in a new direction.
The purpose of the new ISO 9004 standard is to
organizations to achieve
sustained success by using a
quality management approach. This is a departure from
earlier versions and is a major change in focus.
In the past, the ISO 9004 standard was used either
beyond ISO 9001 in order to improve performance or to
help implement ISO 9001. Now the link with ISO 9001
has largely been broken.
The new ISO 9004 standard seems to have become a
management standard. Sustained
success is now the goal of the
standard. According to ISO 9004, organizations can achieve this
goal by using a quality management approach.
There’s now a means-end relationship between
and quality. Success is the end to be achieved and quality
management is the approach or means that is used to
achieve this end.
According to the new ISO 9004 2009, an
sustained success when it meets its objectives and continues to
do so over the long term. It further says that objectives can only
be achieved if the organization consistently meets the needs
and expectations of its interested parties (stakeholders).
While ISO 9001 focuses on meeting the needs of
ISO 9004 goes beyond this and talks about meeting the needs
of all interested parties (which includes not only customers but
also shareholders, suppliers, partners, regulators, employees,
unions, bankers, owners, and society in general). This is a far
broader and more outward looking perspective.