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ISO 9001 Continuous Improvement

What is 10.3 Continuous Improvement and why is it important? Continuous Improvement is just that, it’s the continual improvement of your business. It is the uninterrupted effort to enhance your organization’s services, products, and processes. It’s also a key factor in making improvements to effectiveness, customer satisfaction and improved efficiency in your organization.

ISO 9001:2015 Clause 10.3 Continuous Improvement States:

The organization shall continually improve the suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of the quality management system.

The organization shall consider the results of analysis and evaluation, and the outputs from management review, to determine if there are needs or opportunities that shall be addressed as part of continual improvement.


There are many different aspects of 10.3 Continuous Improvement. Continual improvement draws together various aspects of the Quality Management System, such as:

  • Quality policy 

  • Risks and opportunities – Context of the Organization

  • Quality objectives

  • Analysis and evaluation of data

  • Audit results

  • Management review

  • Nonconformity and corrective action


Continual improvement is driven by many different factors such as customer requirements/satisfaction, internal efficiencies/ effectiveness, and expectations of the standard. Learning from previously conducted audits and understanding your system inside and out is crucial. As an organization it is important to make these continuous improvements throughout the year and not wait until just before your annual audit. Unfortunately, this is often the case, but being prepared and consistent can help you and your business avoid scrambling at the last minute.


Wilkshire offers a Management System Maintenance Program (MSMP) which allows your organization to make the necessary improvements and keep up to date with them throughout the year to prepare for your next audit. It eliminates the stress and worry surrounding the readiness of your organization and assures you’ll be not just ready for your annual audit, but ensuring sure your organization is running up to quality standards the entire year. If you or your organization is interested in this service, contact is at bottom of page or at


Need some ideas on how to get started Wilkshire has you covered with the list below “Inputs for improvement opportunities are obtained from the following sources:”

  • Customer satisfaction

  • Customer complaints and feedback

  • Market research and analysis

  • Inputs from employees, suppliers and other interested parties – context of the organization

  • Internal and external audits of the quality system

  • Records of product or process non-conformances

  • Data from process and product characteristics and their trends


As continuous improvement is not a one-time thing and it is an everyday effort, the PDCA Cycle is a very helpful tool. Plan, Do, Check and Act (PDCA) is the framework for continuous improvement.

Plan – Identifying the problems and opportunities for improvement, then planning for those actions

Do – Implement those planned actions into place

Check – Assessing the effectiveness of the implemented changes by measuring and tracking them appropriately

Act – After analyzing the results making the necessary tweaks and adjusting for further improvements


Overall, 10.3 continuous improvement starts with recognizing and knowing your system inside and out. You must always understand what is going well and what can be changed or improved upon. It is important to use data-driven decision making and then make the appropriate changes/ improvements. You should be making improvements throughout the entire year and not just before you get audited. Lastly, it is crucial to have an effective Management System Maintenance Program (MSMP) in place year around to assure changes are being made and nothing is forgotten about until it’s too late.



Contact MSMP –

Phone: (248) 890-9283


Related Blog Posts –

Improvement- The Seven Quality Management Principles


4 Steps to Achieving ISO 9001 Quality Management System Certification



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