Annex SL: High Level or Complication

The structure of ISO 9001:2015 revision is based off Annex SL. Annex SL is a platform or structure that provides for management systems generic layout. Any future revision of management systems should follow the layout of Annex SL.

Potentially Good

Annex SL can potentially be a good thing for both organizations and auditors in that the wording across all differing management systems will have conformity eliminating the potential confusion arising from contextual and terminology variations. Any organization desiring utilization of multiple standards will readily appreciate what Annex SL is attempting to provide. Annex SL is a holistic approach applied to management systems and hopefully it will simplify, clarify, and expand standards ability to be discussed and used.


Potential Complication

Trying to fit terminology from one standard into the other might prove problematic, such as, fitting a ball in a square hole. Annex SL will tell in time if it has this problem, but a clarification of what Annex SL does is needed.

What Annex SL Does

This platform is being used for some of the same reasons that ISO 9001 is being revised (see here). Fitting several management systems within the same high level structure will allow for clauses, terms, definitions, and identical texts across the spectrum of multiple standards.
Not all management systems will follow the Annex SL structure. The management systems that do follow the structure will change in the next revision showing the new structure:

–         ISO 14001

–         ISO/TS 16949

–         ISO 9001
The set of requirements for both ISO 14001 and 9001 will follow Annex SL structure but there are also industry or standard specific requirements. For references as to the changes (in section six, click here)  Note: in the above link that changes will be specific to both ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, and the differences apply to ISO 14001 and not ISO 9001.


Major Clauses in all Annex SL standards: Scope, Normative References, Terms and Definitions, Context or Organization, Leadership, Planning, Support, Operations, Performance Evaluation, and Improvement.

Identical Text

There will be identical text in each standard including the same number of ‘shall’ statements (45) and requirements (84).

Future Articles

If the fitting of definitions, clauses, core text, and everything that Annex SL is hopes to deliver occurs it will not be a potential complication. The clincher will be seeing if these things will actually fit together harmoniously. Future articles will explore this phenomenon of Annex SL and if it has achieved its purpose without much discontent from organizations and auditors alike.
We at K & S Quality Associates are committed to understanding the changes brought on by Annex SL. Hopefully Annex SL will help with understanding across multiple standards.

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