The survey findings clearly showed improved customer satisfaction to be the primary reason for seeking ISO 9001 certification, and the most important benefit from implementing the QMS standard.

Of a total of 11 722 respondents to the user survey, 4 222 cited customer satisfaction as the key influencing factor behind certification, ahead of 3689 indicating “market need”, while 5 886 saw it as the primary benefit, with the value of “standard business processes” in close second place.

Summary of key results

A User Survey Task Force comprising 11 ISO national member institute experts was established to develop and implement the worldwide survey, conducted in 11 languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish), analyze results and prepare a summary report.

The survey was tailored to independently certified organizations, previously certified and non-certified users, and those not currently using the standards.

Although the full survey comprised 58 individual questions, the following is a summary of the key questions and answers only. They represent responses from organizations and individuals who were aware of the survey, and willing to provide inputs. The survey was not intended to be a representative statistical sample of all interested parties worldwide.

Next steps

The survey results will provide significant input for SC 2’s systematic review process in determining where improvements to ISO 9001 might be needed. If the review indicates the need for a revision of ISO 9001, the data will guide the development of a design specification for such a revision.

Q1. Are you responding on behalf of your organization, or giving an individual response ?
(Based on 11 722 responses)

  • Individual 53 %
  • Organization 47 %

Q2. What is the size of your organization in number of employees ?
(Based on 4 718 responses)

  • Medium 39 %
  • Small 37 %
  • Large 24 %

Q3. What is your generic product category ?
(Based on 5 754 responses)

  • Services 43 %
  • Hardware 31 %
  • Processed material 19 %
  • Software 7 %

Q4. Describe your current use of ISO 9001
(Based on 9 426 responses)

  • 3rd party certified user 76 %
  • Non-certified user 13 %
  • Previously certified user 6 %
  • Not a current user 5 %

Q5. Which of these factors influence your organization in ISO 9001 certification ?

Multiple response question Number of responses
  • Other:   <600
  • Self declared conformance:   2 272
  • Mandated customer requirement:   3 290
  • Market need:   3689
  • Customer satisfaction:   4 222

The responses clearly indicated customer satisfaction as the primary reason for ISO 9001 certification.

Q6. What are the most important benefits of applying ISO 9001 to your organization ?

Multiple response question Number of responses

The responses indicated that improved customer satisfaction and standardized business processes were seen as the most important benefits of ISO 9001 i mplementation.

Q7. Ability to integrate an ISO 9001 based QMS with other management system standards or models.

Although the responses indicated that an ISO 9001-based QMS could be integrated with many other management system standards and models, over 3 200 respondents had integrated the QMS with ISO 14001, and over 2 130 with OHSAS 18001.

Q8. How would you describe the ongoing relevance of ISO 9001:2008 ?

Responses                     Potential options for future editions of ISO 9001

Option A

Option B

Option C

Options D

Option E

Option F

Option G
  • Okay, but with enhancements 64 %
  • Fine as it is 27 %
  • No longer relevant 5 %
  • Other 4 %

Some 64 % of respondents thought that ISO 9001:2008 would remain relevant with enhancements, 27 % considered it “fine as it is”, and 5 % considered the standard “no longer relevant”.

Q9. Which of the following options would you prefer for the future of ISO 9001 ?

Concept % of positive responses

Of the seven options relating to future ISO 9001 standards, the most popular in order of priority were B, G, A and F, all involving a single ISO 9001 requirement standard. Options C, E and D were the least popular options, and involved multiple requirements documents.

Q10. How important is it to incorporate the following concepts into ISO 9001 ?

Of 6 299 responses, 75 % considered resource management as the most important concept to incorporate into ISO 9001, closely followed by “voice of customers”.


Among key conclusions from the survey, it is clear that users believe ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 to be effective quality management standards that remain relevant for the future, 8 000 comments related to enhancements.

Many respondents suggested that, while major changes were not required, improvements could be made to address everchanging global and business requirements  to ensure ISO 9001 remained the most important standard for QMS implementation.

A number of respondents also criticized the way in which ISO 9001 was implemented and recommended better application guidance.

Next steps

The survey results will provide significant input for SC 2’s systematic review process in determining where improvements to ISO 9001 might be needed. If the review indicates the need for a revision of ISO 9001, the data will guide the development of a design specification for such a revision.

Alka Jarvis
Alka Jarvis
Corporate Quality Process and Performance Excellence Leader
Cisco Systems

Alka Jarvis is a member of ISO/TC 176/SC 2, and was involved in the development of the 2000, 2004 and 2008 versions of ISO 9001. She is also Leader of the User Survey Task Force and a member of the Strategic Planning Operations Task Group for SC 2. She is Corporate Quality Process and Performance Excellence Leader at Cisco Systems and won Silicon Valley’s “Corporate Woman Advocate of The Year” award for her accomplishments in the software quality field.

Colin MacNee
Colin MacNee
Chartered Quality Institute (CQI)

Colin MacNee was a member of the ISO/TC 176 draft teams for ISO 9001:2000, ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 19011:2011, and participated in previous ISO 9000 User Surveys. He is coauthor of HB 10181:2001 Transition to ISO 9001:2000, published by the British Standards Institution, and is Chair of the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) Stakeholder Board and Secretary of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) Technical Committee.