Understanding CLAUSE 10 “IMPROVEMENT” ISO 9001:2015

Published On: June 19th, 2024

ISO 9001:2015 Clause 10 emphasizes the importance of continual improvement, corrective actions, and addressing nonconformities within a quality management system. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Organizations are required to determine opportunities for improvement, implement necessary actions to meet customer requirements, and enhance customer satisfaction. 
  • Improvement actions should not only focus on current requirements but also on addressing future needs and expectations of customers. 
  • An effective improvement system includes approaches, methodologies, tools, and technologies that help organizations bring about lasting improvements in how they operate, deliver products/services, and design products/services. 

10.1 General 

ISO 9001:2015 Clause 10, Improvement, focuses on: 

  • Identify and select improvement opportunities. 
  • Implement actions to meet customer requirements and enhance satisfaction. 
  • Improve products and services to meet current and future needs. 
  • Correct, prevent, or reduce undesired effects. 
  • Enhance the performance and effectiveness of the quality management system. 
  • Types of improvement: correction, corrective action, continual improvement, innovation, and reorganization. 

The implementation of corrective actions and continual improvement processes plays a vital role in maintaining high standards of quality. Corrective actions are necessary to rectify nonconformities and prevent their recurrence. By identifying and addressing opportunities for improvement, organizations can stay ahead of changing customer needs and market dynamics. This proactive approach not only ensures compliance with ISO standards but also fosters a culture of innovation and adaptability within the organization. 

10.2 Nonconformity and Corrective Action 

10.2.1 How to Deal with Nonconformity? 

 When a nonconformity arises within an organization, prompt action must be taken to address and rectify the issue effectively.  

Addressing Nonconformity: 

According to the ISO 9001:2015 standard, specifically in clause 10, organizations are required to react to nonconformities. This process involves: 

  • Reviewing and analyzing the nonconformity 
  • Determining its causes, assessing potential similar occurrences 
  • Implementing necessary actions, and reviewing the effectiveness of corrective measures taken.

It is essential to update risks and opportunities identified during planning and make relevant changes to the quality management system. 

Assessment of Nonconformities: 

Evaluate the significance of nonconformities, considering their impact on products, services, and customer satisfaction. Determine the necessity for corrective action based on this evaluation. 

Differentiating Correction and Corrective Action: 

Distinguish between correction (immediate action to resolve a detected nonconformity) and corrective action (addressing the root cause to prevent recurrence). 

Root Cause Analysis: 

Problem-solving tools, such as root cause analysis and statistical methods, play a crucial role in identifying underlying issues and implementing effective corrective actions. Implement corrective actions targeting these root causes to prevent similar issues from happening again. 

Monitoring Corrective Actions: 

Monitor the effectiveness of implemented corrective actions. Ensure that corrective actions adequately address identified root causes. Corrective actions aim to eliminate the root cause of detected nonconformities to prevent their recurrence, while preventive actions focus on averting potential nonconformities or undesirable situations. 

10.2.2 How to retain Documented information? 


Documented information must be retained to demonstrate the nature of the nonconformities, actions taken, and the outcomes of corrective measures.  

Management Review and Results of Corrective Actions: 

Incorporate nonconformities and corrective actions into the management review process. 

This section underscores the systematic approach organizations must adopt to address nonconformities, take corrective actions, and prevent future occurrences. It resonates with the overarching aim of continual improvement within the ISO 9001:2015 standard. 

10.3 Continual Improvement 

Implementation of continual improvement practices within an organization for enhancing quality management systems and meeting customer expectations effectively. To ensure compliance with ISO requirements and enhance customer satisfaction, organizations need to focus on the following key aspects: 

  • Identify Improvement Objectives: Regularly assess and identify areas within the organization that can be improved to enhance efficiency and effectiveness. 
  • Continual Improvement Process: Establish a systematic process that allows for ongoing enhancements in quality management systems and operations. 
  • Communication and Customer Feedback: Establish structured feedback mechanisms to gather input from relevant stakeholders, such as customers and employees. Utilize this feedback to pinpoint areas for enhancement and validate the efficacy of implemented alterations. 
  • Documentation: Thoroughly document the outcomes of improvement initiatives, encompassing modifications made, insights gained, and their impact on overall performance. Disseminate the findings of improvement endeavors to pertinent stakeholders. 
  • Review and Assessment: Conduct regular assessments to scrutinize the outcomes of improvement endeavors. Gauge the effectiveness of implemented alterations and pinpoint avenues for further enhancement. 
  • ISO Requirements: Adhere to the ISO 9001:2015 standard’s requirements for continually improving the suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness of the quality management system.  
  • Management Review: Utilize the results of analysis, evaluation, and outputs from management reviews to determine necessary actions for continual improvement. 


ISO 9001:2015 Clause 10 emphasizes the importance of continual improvement in quality management systems. By focusing on identifying opportunities for enhancement, aligning actions with customer requirements, and implementing preventive and corrective actions, organizations can strive for excellence and elevate customer satisfaction levels. 

According to a study by the American Society for Quality, companies that prioritize continual improvement experience a 10% increase in customer satisfaction and a 7% increase in profitability. 


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Written by : Jonathan

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