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4.4 Quality management system and its processes

4.4.1 The organization shall establish, implement, maintain and continually improve a quality management system, including the processes needed and their interactions, in accordance with the requirements of this International Standard. The organization shall determine the processes needed for the quality management system and their application throughout the organization, and shall:

a) determine the inputs required and the outputs expected from these processes;

b) determine the sequence and interaction of these processes;

c) determine and apply the criteria and methods (including monitoring, measurements and related performance indicators) needed to ensure the effective operation and control of these processes;

d) determine the resources needed for these processes and ensure their availability;

e) assign the responsibilities and authorities for these processes;

f) address the risks and opportunities as determined in accordance with the requirements of 6.1;

g) evaluate these processes and implement any changes needed to ensure that these processes achieve their intended results;

h) improve the processes and the quality management system.

4.4.2 To the extent necessary, the organization shall:

a) maintain documented information to support the operation of its processes;

b) retain documented information to have confidence that the processes are being carried out as planned.


Process Approaches - Why “Process Approaches”?

Extract from ISO9001:2015 - Clause 0.1

This International Standard employs the process approach, which incorporates the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle and risk-based thinking.

 The process approach enables an organization to plan its processes and their interactions.

 The PDCA cycle enables an organization to ensure that its processes are adequately resourced and managed, and that opportunities for improvement are determined and acted on.


 Clause 0.3 - Process approach


This International Standard promotes the adoption of a process approach when developing, implementing and improving the effectiveness of a quality management system, to enhance customer satisfaction by meeting customer requirements. Specific requirements considered essential to the adoption of a process approach are included in 4.4.

Understanding and managing interrelated processes as a system contributes to the organization’s effectiveness and efficiency in achieving its intended results. This approach enables the organization to control the interrelationships and interdependencies among the processes of the system, so that the overall performance of the organization can be enhanced.

The process approach involves the systematic definition and management of processes, and their interactions, so as to achieve the intended results in accordance with the quality policy and strategic direction of the organization. Management of the processes and the system as a whole can be achieved using the PDCA cycle (see 0.3.2) with an overall focus on risk-based thinking (see 0.3.3) aimed at taking advantage of opportunities and preventing undesirable results.

The application of the process approach in a quality management system enables:

a) understanding and consistency in meeting requirements;

b) the consideration of processes in terms of added value;

c) the achievement of effective process performance;

d) improvement of processes based on evaluation of data and information.


Figure 1 gives a schematic representation of any process and shows the interaction of its elements. The monitoring and measuring check points, which are necessary for control, are specific to each process and will vary depending on the related risks.

Clause 5.1 Leadership and commitment

Top management shall demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the quality management system by:

d) promoting the use of the process approach and risk-based thinking;

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