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ISO 9000 is a standard that is referenced in ISO 9001, ISO 9004, AS9100 and many other documents regarding a quality management system. It is not, however, a document containing requirements against which a company can certify its quality management system; this is available through the ISO 9001 standard.

ISO 9000: What it is now

ISO 9000, a standard most recently revised in 2005, is the first document in the ISO 9000 family of standards and has two main purposes. First, it is used to define the many terms that are used throughout the quality management system standards. Second, it describes the fundamental quality management principles that are behind the ISO 9001 standard for implementing a quality management system.

Currently, there are three documents that are considered part of the ISO 9000 family, and an additional document attached to the family: ISO 9000, ISO 9001 (see What is ISO 9001) and ISO 9004 (See ISO 9004) comprise the family of ISO 9000 documents; with ISO 19011, guidelines for auditing management systems, attached as the requirements document used to audit an ISO 9001 quality management system. Some common misspellings of the standard are ISO900, ISO90000 and IS9000, none of which are existing standards.

ISO 9000: What it used to be

ISO 9000 has always provided the definition of terms and description of quality principles that are described above, but previously it also had a second meaning where it was used as a synonym to refer to any quality management system certified to one of the standards in the ISO 9000 family. The ISO 9000 family of standards used to contain more documents before the year 2000, three of which provided requirements for certifying a quality management system. Before this time ISO 9001, ISO 9002 & ISO 9003 provided these requirements depending on which type of industry the company was involved in. For more information on ISO 9002 & ISO 9003, see ISO 9002 & ISO 9003 are history. When all three standards were in place for certification, it was often used as a generic term for certification to any of these three standards, i.e. “ISO 9000 certification.” Now that only the ISO 9001 standard can be used for certifying a company’s quality management system, the term that should be used is “ISO 9001 certification.” For more information on the process of certification, see ISO 9001 certification.

To learn more about the requirements and structure of ISO 9001, read this free white paper: Clause-by-clause explanation of ISO 9001:2015.

Advisera Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar
Mark Hammar is a Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence through the American Society for Quality and has been a Quality Professional since 1994. Mark has experience in auditing, improving processes, and writing procedures for Quality, Environmental, and Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems, and is certified as a Lead Auditor for ISO 9001, AS9100, and ISO 14001.