The just-published new edition of ISO 9004 provides organizations with a model for "sustained success" in today's complex, demanding, and ever-changing environment.

Bob Alisic, leader of the task group responsible for the ISO 9004:2009 comments: "While the goal is initially to ensure the production of 'good' products and services, leading to the achievement of customer satisfaction, the longer-term purpose is to ensure the economic survival of the organization. The new edition gives guidance on how an organization should adopt a systematic approach to achieve this."

ISO 9004:2009 provides guidance for the continual improvement of an organization's overall performance, efficiency and effectiveness based on a process-based approach. It focuses on meeting the needs and expectations of customers and other relevant parties, over the long term, and in a balanced way.

Compared to ISO 9001:2008 which ensures quality management of products and services, while enhancing customer satisfaction, ISO 9004:2009 provides a broader perspective of quality management, particularly for performance improvement. It will prove useful to organizations whose top management wishes to move beyond ISO 9001, in pursuit of ongoing improvement, measured through the satisfaction of customers and other stakeholders.

ISO 9004:2009 allows organizations to enhance the quality of product and service delivery to their customers by promoting self-assessment as an important tool to enable organizations to:

  • Benchmark their level of maturity, covering leadership, strategy, management system, resources and processes
  • Identify their strengths and weaknesses
  • Identify opportunities for either improvements or innovation, or both.

The self-assessment tool may become a key element during the strategic planning processes in any organization.

Jose Dominguez, a leader of the ISO 9001 task group comments: "The objectives of customer satisfaction and product quality are extended in ISO 9004:2009 to include the satisfaction of interested parties and the performance of the organization. The combination of ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 will allow you to get the most of your quality system.”

ISO 9004:2009 replaces ISO 9004:2000. It makes substantial changes to its structure and contents of the earlier edition based on eight years’ experience of implementing the standard worldwide and introduces changes intended to improve consistency with ISO 9001 and other management system standards. An example of an important (maybe the most important one) change in the structure of ISO 9004 is that the “body” of the standard starts with the chapter giving guidance on how to manage an organization aiming for sustained success and not how to build a quality management system.

Although ISO 9004:2009 complements ISO 9001:2008 (and vice versa), it can also be used independently. It is not intended for third-party certification, regulatory, or contractual use, nor as a guide to the implementation of ISO 9001:2008. To help users get the best out of the standard, an annex gives a clause-by-clause correspondence between ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 9004:2009.

ISO 9004:2009, Managing for the sustained success of an organization – A quality management approach, costs 150 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details) and from ISO Central Secretariat through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department (see right-hand column).