How Quality Management Systems Helped Businesses Thrive During COVID-19 and Ensure Security


The COVID-19 pandemic had an unprecedented impact on lives, economies, and industries worldwide. While some businesses weathered the storm, many were caught unprepared for a crisis of such magnitude. However, the adoption of regulations and standards can prove invaluable in navigating crises. For 74 years, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has provided universally accepted standards. Remarkably, ISO 9001, the standard for quality management systems (QMS), emerged as a critical asset during the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting companies in adapting to the crisis while maintaining security.

ISO 9001 Preparedness for COVID-19

Companies that had already adopted ISO 9001 were notably better prepared to face the challenges posed by COVID-19. ISO standards inherently promote structure and discipline, making organisations accustomed to adhering to standards more adaptable to change, whether it’s a pandemic or any other crisis. ISO adoption means having standard operating procedures in place, which proved invaluable for managing the drastic changes necessitated by the pandemic.

Quality Management in a COVID-19 World

Quality management becomes even more critical in a COVID-19 world. ISO 9001 implementation ensures that your products or services consistently meet regulatory requirements, a vital aspect given the intricate details involved. In times of crisis like a pandemic, effective change control becomes paramount, and ISO 9001 encourages rapid adaptability. Risk-based thinking, another ISO 9001 element, equips businesses to handle uncertainties such as those posed by COVID-19. ISO compliance means having preventive controls in place to manage risks effectively.

Protecting Human Resources and Ensuring Security

ISO 9001 extends its focus beyond products and services; it also addresses the risk to human resources and security. Organisations adhering to ISO 9001 standards provide a safe physical work environment for their employees. Ensuring safety in the workplace, encompasses more than just distributing masks and hand sanitizers; it signifies a comprehensive approach to maintaining a secure work environment during COVID-19.

Key ISO 9001 Sections for Crisis Management

Leadership (Section 5):

Leadership is crucial during a crisis like a pandemic, which affects businesses at an organisational level. Quality should be a core organisational concept that transcends departments. Engaging management in prioritising quality is essential. For example, when remote work became necessary, involving management in granting staff remote access to the quality management system (QMS) streamlined the process, addressing security concerns effectively.

Customer Communication (Section 8.2.1):

Effective communication with customers is vital during a crisis. Whether informing customers about product/service unavailability or delays in shipping, clear and timely communication is key. Satisfying customers remains a significant aspect of ISO 9001’s quality system, particularly crucial during a crisis.

Staff Competency (Section 7.2):

In a pandemic, workforce availability can be severely impacted, potentially leading to layoffs. ISO 9001’s emphasis on staff competency is crucial. Ensure that no role is left unattended concerning your quality system. As staff takes on new responsibilities, proper training is essential, and maintaining training documentation becomes pivotal.


ISO 9001 has proven to be an invaluable asset in helping businesses not only survive but thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure security. Its structured approach, emphasis on quality management, and focus on adaptability have enabled organisations to weather the storm. As businesses continue to face various challenges, ISO 9001 remains a beacon of resilience, providing a robust foundation for success in an ever-changing world.

ACS Consultants is a reputable consultancy firm that specialises in assisting other businesses in obtaining various certifications such as ISO9001:2015, SIA-ACS, BS7858, SafeContractor, Internal Audit Services and more. ACS Consultants have a skilled team of experienced Internal Auditors who are up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in their fields. ACS Consultants work closely with organisations to create tailored solutions that align with each organisation’s unique needs and requirements.

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