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

This is the first in my 101 series ...

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In this series of helpful blog posts, commonly called a 101, I will be taking a look at the main sections of ISO 9001, what they are, why they are important to your business and a few tips on how to implement the standard ...

Many businesses working towards ISO 9001 use an independent person such as me to facilitate the creation of the Context of the Organisation!

Many businesses working towards ISO 9001 use an independent person such as me to facilitate the creation of the Context of the Organisation!

copyright: toonartist / 123rf stock photo

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:

  • The news (local, national, international, industry)

  • Government reports and legislation

  • Information about your competition

  • Industry-specific bodies and specialist magazines

  • Your employees

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.

  • A SWOT analysis is your company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

  • A PESTEL analysis is political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legislative issues that are affecting your business.

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.

"Would you like to know more?"

If you'd like to find out more about ISO 9001 and would like to talk about me creating the Context of the Organisation for you then do give me a call on 01858 414226 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.

Until next time ...


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More about Ellen Willoughby ...

I'm Ellen, Director of All About Quality and All About Productivity. I have over 20 years experience as professional in the quality world and 17 years as a practising Buddhist. As a result of this, I have a passion for improvement. in both business and personal life.


01858 414226