Context of the Organisation

By: Auditor Training Online | Posted 28 Sep 2018

Author: Jackie Stapleton


There seems to have been a lot written about the context of the organisation, COTA, clause 4 in ISO 9001:2015 and what an organisation must do to meet this requirement.

My recommendation would be to develop a table or spreadsheet including both internal and external stakeholders and listing their requirements, and possibly back this up with listing the source for where the information came from. Whilst there is no specific requirement for documentation, without it being documented it may be difficult to maintain and keep up to date with this information.

I don’t want to talk about COTA though, I want to ask you whether you believe this new requirement overshadowed clause 5.1.2 Customer focus? And I don’t mean in a literal reading of the standard, I mean just across business in general. Not necessarily in a 9001 context but with modern business, have we forgotten the customer?

Let me give you some examples,

  • You telephone a business and after listening to the same message you hear from other businesses – press 1 for…, press 2 for…., press 3 for …. - you get stuck in an endless loop before you can get a real person to answer.
  • You turn up at a restaurant which is less than half full, they ask if you have a booking, which you don’t, and they turn you away.
  • You get a person to come to your house to give you a quote, not only do they arrive late, you never receive the quote.

Quality management used to be all about the customer and what they want. How are you going to meet and exceed their needs? How will you know you made them happy?

Personally, I think with the new ISO 9001 and the introduction of COTA - which is in itself a good thing - an opportunity has been missed to ensure that organisations still treat the customer as number one.

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