ISO 9001: Why Does The Context Of Your Business Matter?

This is the first in my 101 series ...

In this series of blog posts, I will be taking a look at the main sections of ISO 9001, what they are, why they are important ...

This first post is looking at Section 4.1 which is about understanding the organisation and its context. So, what does Context of the Organisation mean?

"The context of the organisation refers to the situation, internal and external, that affect you!"

For instance, if you have, as part of your strategic direction, a plan to open an office in Europe, then an external issue such as Brexit is going to heavily affect your plans. If you are planning on expanding into Europe an internal issue may be a lack of employees speaking French, German or other relevant languages.

You probably are aware of internal and external factors that are affecting your business, just never documented and reviewed them formally. But why is this important?

When you are aware of internal and external issues that affect your strategy, you can anticipate upcoming problems more easily. This will enable you to take advantage of the situation or at very least, mitigate the damage if it is outside your control.

Both internal and external issues can be identified from:

Additionally, Internally, you could also review everything from your key performance indicators, finance, employee competence, procedures etc.

If you're wondering what you can do with that information, well, consider creating a SWOT and PESTEL analysis to bring all this information together by brainstorming with relevant employees.

You can keep this in a spreadsheet, create a table in word or use a whiteboard in the office to record this information for example.

Once you have gone through this process, you can then use this information to direct your strategy and objectives for the company. If a new internal or external issue arises, you can then revisit your analysis and see if it has any bearing on where you are heading. This can happen as often as needed. For some companies, this may be weekly and others yearly depending on the industry.

Many of the companies I have worked with have found it useful to have an independent person such as me to facilitate the creation of the context of the organisation.


If you would like to know more about anything I've mentioned in this blog post, do give me a call on 01858 414226 or leave a comment below and let's see how I can help you.