Context is Everything!

Many organisations are either struggling to understand this new requirement in ISO 9001: 2015, or are implementing it incorrectly. Context is something to be defined in the early stages of adopting the standard, so that the rest of the management system is suitable for the company. Too many organisations are performing the context analysis last!

This isn’t a tick-in-the-box exercise, it’s so that you end up with a system that works for you.

Context is everything.

A management system written for a small village bakery isn’t going to meet the needs of someone like BT is it? Equally, BT’s system is going to be totally inappropriate for a village bakery!

Your customers, regulators and staff all have needs that need to be fulfilled, and issues that affect your business.

Context is how you fit in the bigger picture, the way you work and the market you work in.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Define your interested parties. These may be internal or external to your company. Understand what there interest is, how you manage it and the affect it has on your quality system.
  2. Considers the internal and external issues that you are having to deal with.Define the affect of the issue on your business and how you are dealing with them.
  3. Understand the risks involved with (1) and (2) and consider the actions you need to take to mitigate them, whilst realising their opportunities.
  4. Throw all this in a pot and you will have defined the context that your quality system must operate in.

Do this first so that the processes in your system meets these needs. Don’t ‘bolt-on’ this as an exercise to tick off before the next certification visit.

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