Within all ISO standards, organizations are required to know the needs of their interested parties, but just who are these groups? The definition of interested parties, under ISO standards, is “a person or organization that can affect, be affected by or perceive itself to be affected by a decision or activity,” but the way this definition is applied depends on the specific ISO standards under which an organization operates. If you are seeking to earn or maintain your ISO 9001 certification, here are the answers to some of the questions you may have about interested parties.
How do I identify interested parties?
Since ISO 9001 is related to quality management, interested parties are considered within that context. Although customers are interested parties in ISO 9001, any person or organization that could compromise organizational stability if their needs are not adequately met or perceived to be met is considered to be an interested party. This can include owners, bankers, pressure groups, and people within the organization. Anyone who could impact an organization’s ability to achieve their goals and standards because they are displeased with the organization’s quality management should be considered an interested party.
Are all interested parties the same?
Although the expectations of any interested party cannot be overlooked, it is important to also closely examine each party’s relationship to the organization and how they could affect it. Some questions to ask to help you define these relationships are:
- How dependent are you on the interested party—and how much do they depend on you?
- Is the interested party in close proximity to you?
- How much does their influence impact internal decisions at your organization and in your industry as a whole?
- How much risk and how many opportunities do they create for you?
- Do they have authority over your organization?
What are some strategies for managing interested parties?
To manage interested parties, it is important to understand their needs, relevance, and expectations. There are several methods you can use to achieve this, including mapping your interested parties in terms of power and interest. Once you understand how your interested parties rank according to their power and interest in your organization, setting SMART goals to manage them can help you navigate the relationships.
At Trident Quality Management Solutions (Trident QMS), identifying and managing interested parties is just one of the services we provide to help you achieve and maintain your ISO 9001 certification. For QMS support nationwide, call us at (520) 314-4344.