Bhuvan Veerasamy, director and principal consultant at Avanta Global

Published: 25 Jan 2017

Bhuvan Veerasamy, director and principal consultant at Avanta Global, examines the ISO 9001:2015 requirements on interested parties

A trainer teaching an ISO 9001:2015 awareness course is asked by a student: “Who are the interested parties and why should we understand their needs and expectations?” The trainer replies: “You are an interested party for this training organisation.”

When you register for an ISO 9001:2015 awareness course, you register with an expectation that the course will provide you with the necessary knowledge about the ISO 9001:2015 management system. You become an interested party the moment you register for the course and the trainer has to deliver this course as per your requirements. However, they can only satisfy your requirements when they understand your expectations. For example, if a student is starting their management system carrier, I cannot teach them the standard requirements in the same way I teach students who are adept at ISO requirements. I have to give more field-related examples so that they can understand the concepts well. This is called ‘understanding the needs and expectations of the interested parties’.

ISO 9001: 2015 states organisations must determine the interested parties and the requirements of these interested parties that are relevant to the quality management system.

ISO 9001:2015 states organisations must determine the interested parties and the requirements of these interested parties that are relevant to the quality management system. A training room, for example, is built according to the legal requirements. Sufficient lighting and infrastructures are provided as stated by the requirements and this makes the government agencies who set these requirements one of the interested parties.

For us to provide sufficient lighting, the lighting is ordered from a supplier. The supplier is an interested party for this organisation because we have a requirement they can meet. An organisation has to identify all the interested parties and should understand their needs and expectations relevant to its functions for effective stakeholder management.

There are various ways in which organisations can conduct stakeholder analysis, such as the stakeholder cycle, ranking the stakeholders needs based on their power of influence, or addressing stakeholder needs based on the impact to the organisation.

Every interested party poses a risk to the organisation’s ability to provide the products and services that meet the customer’s requirements, and the applicable statutory and regulatory requirements. For example, when the lighting equipment is not supplied as per our specifications, students will have problems reading the course materials. This will affect their level of satisfaction.

Understanding the level of risk each interested party poses to an organisation helps the organisation in classifying and addressing their needs.

Clause 6.1 of ISO 9001:2015 says that when planning for a quality management system, the system has to address the internal and external issues and also the requirements of the interested parties, while determining the risks and opportunities. Understanding the level of risk each interested party poses to an organisation helps the organisation in classifying and addressing their needs.

Not all the interested parties pose the same sort of risk or have the same type of expectations at all times. Their expectations keep changing based on time. Therefore, an organisation should constantly review the information related to interested parties regularly so that it can meet their needs and expectations. Remember, it is for the organisation to decide if a particular requirement of a relevant interested party is relevant to its quality management system.