February 21, 2024

With the number of ISO standards out there all named by some obscure and seemingly random numbers, it’s no wonder why many organizations and companies end up getting confused when making moves to get ISO certified. I’m typically asked by people: what does this ISO do? And what is that one for? It can be challenging to explain everything, but once you get started, you’ll eventually know what all the numbers refer to.

There are over 15,000 factors being taken into consideration by certifying bodies when auditing, monitoring and assessing any company or organization that wants to improve its quality assessment system. Although there are many standards in the quality management industry, there are a few which are typically sought after by most companies. Here’s a brief run down on these standards, paired with a quick description of their corresponding natures.

ISO 9000
The ISO 9000 family of quality standards are by far the most popular of all standards. The family ranges from ISO 9001 to ISO 9999. The first standard is a quality management system used mainly by companies who specialize in the production business, such as factories, plants and other manufacturing facilities. The 9000 series covers sub categories, including ISO 9564, which focuses on retail banking security (specifically personal identification number management); ISO 9362 a format for bank identifier codes, and ISO 9126, a standard of software quality.

ISO 14000
Considered to be the next most popular series of standards after the 9000 series, the ISO 14000 system is used to ascertain the status of a company or organization’s environmental management quality. This mainly has to do with the production operations’ effects on the environment. The ISO 14000 series features various standards, among them ISO 14698-1, a system for the assessment and control of bio-contamination; the controversial ISO 14064, which focuses on the control of greenhouse gas emissions; ISO 14230, also known as the assessment standard for road vehicle use and its effects on the environment, and ISO 14001, also recognized as the standard system for general environmental management.

Other quality management standards are ISO 10000, a series that deals with the quality of project management. ISO 20000 mainly covers information technology systems.

As you can see, there are plenty of ISO standards out there, so choosing one may be a difficult task. It all boils down to the type and nature of your company and organization. This includes specific factors such as manufacturing processes, the types of services or products being handled, and many more. Choose wisely, and I guarantee that all your efforts will be worth it in the end.