ISO 9001:2008 sets out the criteria for a quality management system and is the only standard in the family that can be certified to (although this is not a requirement). It can be used by any organization, large or small, regardless of its field of activity. In fact ISO 9001:2008 is implemented by over one million companies and organizations in over 170 countries. This standard is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement. These principles are explained in more detail in the pdf Quality Management Principles. Using ISO 9001:2008 helps ensure that customers get consistent, good quality products and services, which in turn brings many business benefits.
Checking that the system works is a vital part of ISO 9001:2008. An organization must perform internal audits to check how its quality management system is working. An organization may decide to invite an independent certification body to verify that it is in conformity to the standard, but there is no requirement for this. Alternatively, it might invite its clients to audit the quality system for themselves.