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Interested Parties

Since the new versions of ISO 9001 and 14001 were released in 2015, and conversion from older versions is due by 9/15/2018, in the next few issues we will look at some of the new concepts and their application.

Interested Parties – and why they matter

Section 4.2 in both 9001 and 14001 introduce the requirement of Understanding the needs and expectations of interested parties. The requirement includes determining relevant interested parties, their requirements and then monitoring and reviewing information on these parties and their relevant requirements.

So who are your interested parties? It’s easy to assume that it means customers, since they must be considered for a company to survive, but this goes far beyond customers. The intention is to focus on those who can have an impact on the company’s ability to provide products and services that meet requirements. Already knowing your external and internal issues, which we discussed in the June newsletter, will help determine your relevant interested parties. The list will be unique to your organization, and can be developed by considering those with:

  • Possible influence or impact on your performance or decision

  • Ability to create risks and opportunities

  • Possible influences on the market

  • Ability to affect the organization through their decisions or activities.

Examples could include, but are not limited to: customers; end-users; financial partners, boards, owners, shareholders; owners of intellectual property; parent and subsidiary companies; bankers; unions; external providers, employees and contractors; regulatory bodies – local, regional, national, and international; trade and professional associations; local community groups; neighboring organizations; competitors; etc.

To understand their needs, work with those responsible for the process and gather other relevant information. Examples of relevant interested party requirements include among others: customer requirements and contracts; industry codes and standards; agreement with community or governmental groups; regulatory requirements for the product and your facility; permits and licenses; regulatory orders; voluntary principles or codes of practice; voluntary labeling or environmental commitments; policies for employees.

Remember: Interested parties and their relevant requirements can be different for different products/services, AND can change due to circumstances or reactions to markets. That’s why monitoring and review is critical. So, identify your interested parties, what they require, & how you will monitor both during customer service, design and development, and management review. Next month we will discuss the new Leadership requirements!


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