The history behind this series of standards can be traced to the USA during World War II. From the USA, the concept of quality assurance spread to Europe via NATO where it evolved into the Allied Quality Assurance Publication (AQAP). This series of docu ments discussed everything from production efficiency to selection of suppliers. The AQAP series were adopted by the UK Ministry of Defense for the British Armed Forces. This series had a trickle down effect as organizations began to require quality ass urance programs from their suppliers. The problem was that there was much diversity in the requirements for different organizations
The diversity issue was addressed by the British Standard BS 5750 which was based on the AQAP series and was introduced in 1979. The BS 5750 standard was considered so effective that it was adopted almost without change by ISO in 1987 as ISO 9000. The f ormation of the European Union and the perception that it was required in order to do business with Europe lead to the widespread acceptance of the ISO 9000 series.
The main documents in this series are:
The main value of the 9000 series is that the analyses of processes required by the standard leads to improving or re-engineering of processes. The benefits to a company who follows the standard's practices are said to be new markets for their goods and services, increased cost-efficiency, improved employee morale and increased customer satisfaction.