ISO 9000 grew out of BS 5750, a standard published by the British Standards Institution (BSI) in 1979. Initially, it was used only in manufacturing industries. ISO 9000 is now employed across a variety of other types of businesses. It is a set of international standards of quality management systems. ISO 9000 has been accepted by more than 100 countries as their national quality assurance standard by the end of 1997.
The history of ISO 9000 dates back to Mil-Q-9858a, the first quality standard for military procurement established in 1959 by the US. By 1962, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) developed its quality system requirements for suppliers. In 1965, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) accepted the AQAP (allied quality assurance procedures) specifications for the procurement of equipments.
During the 1970s, BSI published BS 9000 (the first UK standard for quality assurance) and BS 5179 (guidelines for quality assurance) norms. In 1979, it created BS 5750, a series of standards for use by manufacturing companies. They were enforced through assessments and audits. In 1988, ISO (International Standards Organization) adopted the BS 5750 standard without changes and published it globally under the name ISO 9000. The ISO adopted this standard with a view to create an international definition of the necessary characteristics of a quality system for all businesses, regardless of industry. In 1994, the ISO revised the ISO 9000 standard and published it globally.
In the beginning, ISO 9000 was implemented exclusively by large companies. But by mid-1990s, small and mid-sized companies began to increasingly implement these standards. In the United States, the total number of registrations increased from a little more than 2,200 in 1993 to more than 17,000 in 1998. Of these 17,000 registrations, almost 60 percent were held by businesses with annual sales of $100 million or less.