The ISO 9000 family of standards is the most extensively used standards worldwide. They address various aspects of quality management and provide organizations with guidance and tools to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customer’s requirements, and that quality is consistently improved.

The best known standard of the ISO 9000 family is ISO 9001:2008, Quality management systems- Requirements, which establishes the criteria for a quality management system (QMS) and is the only standard in the family that can be certified to. ISO 9001 certification is not a requirement; however, organizations of all kinds and sizes all around the world decide to seek certification for a variety of reasons. These include to ensure clients, customers and stakeholders that they can provide quality products and services that continuously meet their expectations, improve the image of their product or services, increase their competitiveness and also because, nowadays, it is essential in order to do business in many industry sectors.

ISO 9001 has been around for over 20 years, and since its release, over one million organizations have been certified and many more have used it as a guide to establish and improve their QMS.

As stated in the 2013 edition of the ISO Survey, by the end of 2013, “at least 1,129,446 certificates had been issued in 187 countries and economies”.

In recent years, China has shown a rapid growth of the number of certificates issued there, placing it as the number one country with more ISO 9001 certifications (over 290.000 certifications). China is followed by Italy and Germany for being, respectively, the second and third country with most certificates.

Trends show that in the years to come, many more organizations will become ISO 9001 certified. It is expected that, with the upcoming revision of the standard (ISO 9001:2015), organizations will find that implementing and certifying to ISO 9001 will support them in overcoming the many challenges faced by businesses today.

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