The Process Approach

The process approach is a philosophy. The organization is a set of processes all interacting together (as both suppliers and customers) to produce (provide) the products or services sought by the end-user.

  • The management system integrates processes and measures to meet objectives
  • Processes define interrelated activities and checks, to deliver intended outputs
  • Detailed planning and controls can be defined and documented as needed, depending on the organization’s context.

Using a process approach means shifting focus away from basic compliance to embrace “improvement.”

  • A process is commonly defined as a number of reproducible, interacting activities that together convert an input into an output.
  • An input is something that drives or starts the process, such as people, resources, or materials. Multiple inputs can, and usually do, exist.
  • An output is a deliverable resulting from the process, addressing the expectation of a customer (either external or internal). Typically, an output is a product, a service, or the input into another process.

NOTE: Inputs and outputs may be tangible (e.g. materials, components or equipment) or intangible (e.g. data, information or knowledge)

Process Approach

Flowchart conceptual design courtesy of MasterControl

The process approach is a review of the sequence and interaction of processes and their inputs and outputs. It looks at the organization as an active system of processes that addresses business risk and customer requirements.

The process approach in ISO 9001:2015

In accordance with the requirements of ISO 9001 the following sequence of actions provides examples of how an organization may choose to build and control the processes of its quality management system. Performance can be managed and improved by applying the Plan‐Do‐Check‐ Act (PDCA) cycle. This applies equally to the system as a whole, to individual processes and to operational activities.

Process 1

Process 2

Process 3

The process approach in ISO 9001:2015 courtesy of the International Organization for Standardization ISO/TC
176/SC 2/N1289

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