Risk Based Thinking in ISO 9001:2015

Reporting, best practices, non-compliance reporting, analysis


In 0.3.3 clause of the standard – it is said that “A positive deviation of the risk can provide an opportunity, but not all positive effects of risk result in opportunities.”  Can you please clarify this statement?


Thanks for contacting ASQ’s Ask the Experts program.  Good question! As mentioned, ISO FDIS 9001:2015, Clause 0.3.3, which states, “A positive deviation of the risk can provide an opportunity, but not all positive effects of risk result in opportunities”.

In my opinion, this highlights an important point.  That is, not every positive deviation or change of a risk will include opportunity.  Consider the recent changes that have occurred in the Oil and Gas industry.  When the demand for crude oil was high, the availability of various materials and services providers was low, and prices were high.  This situation (availability of materials, services providers and costs) may have been identified as a supply chain risk.

However, the oversupply of crude oil drove prices down.  Crude oil production has dropped to stabilize pricing at the pumps.  This positive deviation of risk has provided an opportunity to crude oil producers, which includes the improved availability of materials, greater selection of services providers as well as more competitive pricing.  So dependent upon where you sit, this deviation of risk may be considered a negative that has decreased product demand and lowered pricing or a positive that has lowered consumer pricing and increased availability.

Consider companies that are providers of upstream services to crude oil producers.  Their risk based thinking may have identified the supply of qualified personnel to perform upstream servicing as a risk.  The decrease in demand for upstream services has increased the pool of qualified personnel.  However, this positive deviation of risk does not represent an opportunity.  The scenarios mentioned above are basic and intended to highlight the point of ISO FDIS 9001:2015, Clause 0.3.3.  There are far more dynamics that should be considered when assessing the deviation of risk versus opportunity.

I hope this helps.

Best regards,


Bill Aston, Managing Director
Aston Technical Consulting Services, LLC
Kingwood, TX 77339
Office: (281) 359-ATCS (2827) or Toll Free: (888) 968-9891
Website: www.astontechconsult.com

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