What is the Process Approach in ISO 9001:2015? (Explained + Benefits)


At the heart of contemporary quality management lies a strategic approach that prioritises processes – Process-Based Quality Management (PBQM).


This approach, intricately woven into the fabric of ISO 9001:2015, serves as a framework for organisations to enhance their operations and ensure the consistent delivery of high-quality products and services.


Defining the Process Approach in Quality Management

The process approach is a cornerstone of ISO 9001:2015, centring on the understanding that a consistent and predictable result is achieved more efficiently when activities are understood and managed as interrelated processes that function as a coherent system.


This results in a dynamic quality management system that not only supports the organisation’s strategic goals but also adapts to the changing business environment, ensuring sustained success.

The Essence of ISO 9001:2015's Process Orientation

The ISO 9001:2015 standard champions a paradigm shift from mere compliance to a process-driven quality management system (QMS).


It urges organisations to dissect their operations into processes that can be optimised, controlled, and improved over time.

Core Principles of Process-Based Quality Management

  • Customer-Focused Processes: Aligning processes to fulfil and exceed customer expectations.


  • Leadership and Vision: Steering the organisational direction to ensure quality is a universal priority.


  • Empowerment of People: Utilising the talent pool to foster a culture of continuous quality improvement.


  • Integrated Processes: Viewing operations as an interconnected system that delivers consistent quality.


  • Commitment to Improvement: Cultivating an ethos of perpetual enhancement in quality.


  • Informed Decision-Making: Basing decisions on the meticulous analysis of data.


  • Strategic Relationship Management: Nurturing partnerships that contribute to sustained quality improvements.

Implementing Process-Based Quality Management within the ISO 9001:2015 Framework

Adopting a process-based approach to quality management requires a methodical and structured implementation strategy:

Mapping and Understanding Processes

This diagrammatic representation is the first step in visualising and understanding the interplay between various business processes.

This diagrammatic representation is the first step in visualising and understanding the interplay between various business processes.

Designing and Optimising Processes

Key actions include:


  • Goal Setting: Determining what each process aims to achieve in line with the quality objectives.


  • Resource Allocation: Providing the necessary tools and personnel for each process.


  • Role Definition: Establishing clear responsibilities to ensure process integrity.

Monitoring and Controlling Processes

Vital for:


  • Upholding Standards: Ensuring processes consistently meet the established quality criteria.


  • Performance Measurement: Applying quantitative measures to evaluate process effectiveness.


  • Adaptive Management: Modifying processes in response to performance data.

Assessing and Refining Processes

Continuous assessment is necessary for:


  • Spotting Inefficiencies: Identifying and addressing weaknesses within processes.


  • Corrective Action: Implementing changes to mitigate any identified issues.


  • Seeking Innovation: Pursuing opportunities to enhance process efficiency and effectiveness.

Building the Case for a PBMS

Uncover the potential of a Process-Based Management System (PBMS) in your organisation.

Benefits of a Process-Based Quality Management System

Organisations embracing PBQM can expect to reap a multitude of benefits:


  • Streamlined Efficiency: Processes are refined to reduce waste and optimise resource usage.


  • Consistent Quality Outputs: A stable process environment yields reliable product and service quality.


  • Elevated Customer Satisfaction: A direct focus on customer needs ensures their fulfilment.


  • Enhanced Employee Engagement: Clear process understanding leads to a more motivated workforce.


  • Agility in Operations: A well-defined process structure allows for rapid response to change.

Next Steps: Implementing the Process Approach for Operational Excellence

Moving forward, embracing the process-based attributes of a quality management system is not just a strategic choice, but a necessity for organisational agility and excellence.


To truly harness the potential of the process approach as outlined by ISO 9001:2015, one must consider integrating advanced systems that are designed to streamline and optimise these essential processes.


The Agility System stands as a testament to the power of process-based quality management, embodying the very attributes that drive efficiency and quality.


Book a demo and experience firsthand how the Agility System can transform your organisation’s processes, leading to unmatched operational efficiency and a sustainable competitive advantage.

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Picture of Peter Shields
Peter Shields
Peter is a Quality, Risk & Compliance expert with extensive experience working with process-based management systems in the Energy, Nuclear & Defence sectors since 1979.
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