Many people when they encounter the term process approach struggle to grasp an understanding of the term, and without this, the approach cannot be adequately followed. This article written by our expert Tutor, Liam Regan defines and outlines 10 steps on how the process approach can be applied to a Quality Management System in line with ISO 9001:2015.
What is a Process?
A process is defined in ISO 9000 as a “set of interrelated or interacting activities that use inputs to deliver an intended result”. The intended result depending on the scope of the process can be an output, product, service.
A process typically consists of the following components: a process owner; inputs, outputs, resources, methods, controls, suppliers, and customers.
A process approach can be simplified as the interaction/interdependency between multiple processes to achieve an organisational objective. This can mean that the outputs of one process may be the input to a subsequent process. For example, the output of a design process may be input to the manufacturing process.
In 2012, ISO ruled that their future management system standards would follow a common clause structure, in accordance with Annex SL. As a result, there have been more explicit requirements mandating a process approach is followed in a number of these standards. These requirements are outlined in Clause 4.4 of management system standards. The most prominent example of this is ISO 9001:2015.
This standard believes that understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to an organisation’s effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its intended results. It continues by stating that consistent and predictable results are achieved more effectively and efficiently when activities are understood and managed as interrelated processes that function as a coherent system.
The following steps below out how the process approach can be applied to a QMS, while cross-referencing the relevant clauses of ISO 9001:2015:
Sign up to receive the latest industry and company news direct to your inbox.