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What is the difference between different ISO plans?

ISO plans, or standards are the minimum quality standards that technical industries must meet. Thus the different ISO plans are simply the different standards that different facets of the technical industry must meet. For example, there is the safety issues, and there are the customer service issues, and there are the usability and quality issues.

Let's just take a look at two different ISO plans, and by looking at these determine the difference between different ISO plans in general:

Let's look at the ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 as these are two of the most widely known ISO plans or standards. What are they in a nut shell? Well.

ISO 9000 has become an international reference for quality management requirements in business-to-business dealings.

ISO 14000 is for enabling organizations to meet their environmental challenges.

The differences:

The ISO 9000 family is primarily concerned with "quality management".

So what does this mean to you? Well it means that the ISO 9000 plan is going to make sure that the organization meets their standards when it comes to fulfilling the following:
- the customer's quality requirements,
- applicable regulatory requirements, while aiming to:
o enhance customer satisfaction, and
o achieve continual improvement of its performance in pursuit of these objectives.

The ISO 14000 family is primarily concerned with "environmental management".

So what does this mean to you? Well it means that the ISO 14000 plan is going to make sure the organization strives to do the following:
- minimize harmful effects on the environment caused by its activities
- achieve continual improvement of its environmental performance.

This just gives you a little taste at what the differences are between different ISO plans. In general ISO standards are highly specific to a particular product, material, or process. So the differences are inherent in the differences between the products themselves.However, while their differences make them specific to certain parts of the technical industry, the standards they have set worldwide have made them "generic management system standards". So, they are unique in many ways, but they are also generic.

By generic we do not mean easily obtained or unimportant. "Generic" means that the same standards can be applied to any organization, large or small, whatever its product because the idea is the same-quality! It also means that these standards can be applied to organizations whose product is actually a service, or to a business or organization in any type of activity, and whether it is a business enterprise, a public administration, or a government department. So in other words, these standards are so great, and the main idea behind them is one that should and could be applied to anyone.

The difference between different ISO plans comes in the specifics that are unique to the process, but in many ways, ISO plans all strive to do the same thing--establish a quality management system or an environmental management system.

To be even clearer, a management system refers to the organization's structure for managing its processes - or activities. This said structure is the one that transform inputs of resources into a product or service which meet the organization's objectives. The objectives are varied, such as satisfying the customer's quality requirements, complying to regulations, or meeting environmental objectives. So, no matter what the objective of the company, the ISO plans are there to help them implement a management system, or in other words, a structure to help them meet those said objectives.

Different ISO plans help to meet different objectives, such as the above example. The ISO 9000 objective was for ensuring the product produced was a high quality, and that the quality was maintained for all productions, and the ISO 14000 objective was to make sure that the environment was protected during the production of the product.

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