This text is from the second edition of ISO 9001, The Standard Companion. It is based on the now obsolete 1987 version of the ISO 9001 Standard. The third edition, based on the current 1994 standard, is available from Simply Quality.
ISO 9001 is one in the ISO 9000 series of standards for Quality Assurance. Three Standards in the series can be used in legal contracts between you and your customer or you and your supplier. The three Standards have differing scope, with ISO 9001 being the broadest. These three Standards are:
ISO 9001 is used in addition to, and not instead of, other product and service safety, performance, content or interface standards, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) registration, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) emissions standards, etc.
The Standard is intended to be used as is, but can occasionally be tailored for use in specific contracts.
The ISO 9000 series contains five primary standards, ISO 9000 - 9004 and a growing number of additional standards interpreting the original five. The specific Standard ISO 9000 is entitled "Guidelines for Selection and Use" and is a guide for selecting among the other standards in the ISO 9000 series. ISO 9004 is entitled "Quality Management and Quality System Elements Guidelines" and provides guidance for running your business so that it will comply with the other standards. Neither of these two "Guidelines" are to be used in contract situations or as the basis for a quality system audit. The term "ISO 9000" is often loosely used to refer to the specific Standard - ISO 9001, 9002 or 9003 - that is of interest.
ISO 9003 is a subset of ISO 9002 which is a subset of ISO 9001. ISO 9003 is the least used standard. It applies to a company, (for example a mail order firm), that selects, tests and represents to its customers products designed and manufactured elsewhere. ISO 9002 is widely used and applies to companies that manufacture and install products designed and serviced by others. ISO 9001 is the broadest standard and it applies to companies that engage in innovative design of products or services or who provide servicing and support of products. This manual describes the ISO 9001 Standard because it is rapidly becoming the most widely used
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