The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from more than 145 countries, one from each country. ISO's work results in international agreements which are published as International Standards and other types of ISO documents. ANSI is the sole U.S. representative and dues-paying member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and as a founding member of the ISO, ANSI plays an active role in its governance.
ISO 9001:2008 is the standard that provides a set of standardized requirements for a quality management system, regardless of what the user organization does, its size, or whether it is in the private, or public sector. It is the only standard in the family against which organizations can be certified although certification is not a compulsory requirement of the standard.
The other standards in the family cover specific aspects such as fundamentals and vocabulary, performance improvements, documentation, training, and financial and economic aspects.
Without satisfied customers, an organization is in peril! To keep customers satisfied, the organization needs to meet their requirements. The ISO 9001:2008 standard provides a tried and tested framework for taking a systematic approach to managing the organization's processes so that they consistently turn out product that satisfies customers' expectations.
The requirements for a quality system have been standardized - but many organizations like to think of themselves as unique. So how does ISO 9001:2008 allow for the diversity of say, on the one hand, a "Mr. and Mrs." enterprise, and on the other, to a multinational manufacturing company with service components, or a public utility, or a government administration?
The answer is that ISO 9001:2008 lays down what requirements your quality system must meet, but does not dictate how they should be met in any particular organization. This leaves great scope and flexibility for implementation in different business sectors and business cultures, as well as in different national cultures.