ISO 9001:2015 Overview and Comparison


Many organizations use and are certificated to multiple management system standards (MSSs). This had led to organizations seeking to combine or integrate their management systems in an effective and efficient manner.

The reality is that the continued proliferation of ISO MSSs has resulted in many apparently common requirements that are subtly or substantially different. This has caused confusion and inconsistent understanding and implementation. 

In order to deliver consistent and compatible management system standards in the future, the ISO Technical Management Board has produced a common framework for all MSSs. This common framework is referred to as “Annex SL1”.

The changes and what they mean

When comparing the current standard to ISO 9001:2008, the changes seem extensive. We know ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015 adopts the High Level Structure of Annex SL, and that the main areas of change are:

  • Context of the organization
  • Leadership
  • Process approach
  • Risk-based thinking

Annex SL1

The first significant change in ISO 9001:2015 is that there are now ten sections instead of the existing eight in ISO 9001:2008. The following describes the High Level Structure of Annex SL in more detail:
  1. Scope
  2. Normative references
  3. Terms and definitions
  4. Context of the organization
  5. Leadership
  6. Planning
  7. Support
  8. Operation
  9. Performance evaluation
  10. Improvement