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Getting Started with Management Systems Standards


A management systems standard (MSS) provides an internationally agreed-upon model for organizations to follow to ensure the proper handling of day-to-day operations. An MSS provides the structure for operations, such as how the organization buys materials, maintains accounting records, trains its employees, processes payroll, implements pollution prevention, or decreases insurance rates.

A common MSS operating principle is the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Model.

The two most popular MSS are ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.

The ISO 9000 family of standards addresses quality management. This means what the organization does to fulfill:
--the customer's quality requirements, and
--applicable regulatory requirements, while aiming to
--enhance customer satisfaction, and
--achieve continual improvement of its performance in pursuit of these objectives.

The ISO 14000 family addresses environmental management. This means what the organization does to:
--minimize harmful effects on the environment caused by its activities, and to
--achieve continual improvement of its environmental performance.

Some customers ask that their vendors maintain certification to ISO 9001 or ISO 14001. Some industries must be certified to adhere to government mandates, while others seek certification as proof that organizational operations are effectively controlled. Certification can enhance an organization’s global customer base, allowing it to reach new markets.

Most sectors of the economy have specific needs. To address these specific needs, many industries have their own version of ISO 9001. For instance, the automotive industry has ISO/TS 16949:2009.

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