What is ISO 9001?
ISO 9001 is a widely used and internationally recognized standard for Quality Management Systems (QMS). Around the world, it is used by about one million organizations in 178 countries. This set of standard provides the groundwork and principles to ensure a standard approach to quality management and it helps organizations to make sure they meet statutory and regulatory requirements related to products or services. In simple words, ISO 9001 certification provides the basis to deliver an effective product or service time after time.
What is a quality management system?
The Quality Management System (often referred to as a QMS) is a set of policies, processes, documented procedures and records that defines the set of internal rules that will establish how your company will create and will deliver your product or service to your customers. The QMS must be tailor made to your company’s needs, however, the ISO 9001 standard provides a set of guidelines to help you make sure that you do not miss any important element.
ISO, or the International Organization for Standardization, is an international standard- made up from different representatives from a wide range of proprietary, industrial, and commercial standard organizations. ISO 9001 is one of the most well-known ISO standards for general quality management systems. It is a part of the wider ISO 9000 family, which refer to quality management. The ISO 9000 family is a set of standards that helps organizations ensure they meet customers and other stakeholder needs within statutory and regulatory requirements related to a product or service. The ISO 9000 series are based on seven quality management principles, which are:
– Customer focus
– Engagement of people
– Process approach
– Evidence-based decision making
– Relationship management
The ISO 9001:2015 standard is similar to the previous ISO 9001:2008. The release of the last standard marked “the beginning of a new era in the development of quality management systems” according to experts. The purpose of this management system standard was to ensure that consumers get reliable, good quality goods and services. This standard is recognized worldwide and some customers will only do business with certified companies because it gives them assurance that quality management is constantly assessed and products goes under strict quality control.
ISO 9001 certification
ISO 9001 is also the only standard in the 9000 family that can be certified to. However, this certification is not a requirement, and organizations can also implement principles of ISO 9001 informally, without getting certified.
Technically, only organizations can “get certified”, however, individuals can become Certified Bodies (CB or Registrar), in order to perform certification audits for entities. Certification will generally cover the entire organization, with focus on specific facilities or departments tailored to improve performance in that area.
Why getting the ISO 9001 certification is good for your organization?
Quality control is the keystone to business success. If you want to run a successful business, you should meet or exceed expected standards. ISO 9001 is a quick and easy way for potential consumers to see if your company is making an effort to offer outstanding products or services. The implementation of an ISO 9001 quality management system gives an organization more order and structure and can benefit your company in many ways. According to studies, clients that embraced ISO 9001 gained benefits from that, such as improved quality of their products or services, reduced the likelihood of mistakes and an increased number of new customers. Below, you will find few key advantages of ISO 9001 implementation:
Companies that get the ISO 9000, series Quality Management Standards certification, improve their processes because these standards provide the guidelines to improve training and interactions, for troubleshooting and it can even help you to safe resources within your organization.
Improved company image
When customers see that you are certified according to international recognized standards, they will realize that you have implemented a system that is focused on meeting and exceeding customer requirements. This acknowledgement will improves their trust in your organization.
Improved customer satisfaction
Improving customer satisfaction is one of the main goals of the ISO 9001 quality management systems. That is the reason why companies that implement these standards focus on identifying and meeting customer requirements and needs. By improving satisfaction, your customer customers’ retention rate will increase.
ISO 9001 quality management systems will encourage and help your business to make decisions based on evidence and facts. By ensuring that your decisions are based on good evidence, you can better plan your operations, amend problems and improve your organizational efficiency and effectiveness.
Improved employee morale
ISO 9001-quality management helps to establish training procedures and to delimit the roles of the employees and all these operations will positively affect the overall success of the company. The staff is more satisfied and motivated once their roles and responsibilities are well defined. By focusing on your staff, and not only on managing, you will improve processes because your team members will be more engaged in the outcome of your organization.
Since all processes are well-documented, there is less room for errors. Bear in mind that even a small change in any process need to be documented and every step has to be planned and implemented in the best possible way to increase efficiency and keep consistency.
Improved supplier relationships
ISO certification can improve your company’s relationship with suppliers. Thanks to documentation and testing procedures, you can ensure the quality of the raw materials used for production. This also helps to evaluate better a new supplier.
Creation of a culture of continual improvement
The main output of the ISO 9001 quality management is a continual improvement that could be linked to time and money saving and revenue increasing. By making of this the culture of your company, you will be constantly improving processes and results.
Meets requirements for government contracts
For certain types of organizations, government contracts can be a good business. Unfortunately, obtaining government contracts requires many actions and documents. ISO 9001 helps set your organization up for success with public sector work. As a matter of facts, for some municipalities and government agencies, the ISO 9001 certification is a requirement for contracts.
How to get ISO 9001 certification?
ISO 9001 certification for your company involves implementing a Quality Management System based on the ISO 9001 requirements. Then you need an audit and an approval from a recognized certification body. The International Organization for Standardization does not perform certification itself; they focus exclusively on developing standards. To certify organizations there are a wide variety of independent companies that provide ISO certifications. You need to evaluate them to find the ideal registrar for your company’s particular circumstances.
The result is a certification that, in general, lasts for three years. After that period, the organization will have to be re-certified.
If an organization want to get ISO 9001 certified, it has to:
-Build and implement a quality management system in accordance with the principles of the ISO 9001:2015 standards. The first step is to define your company quality policy and quality objectives, which together define the implementation of the Quality Management System. Along with these, you will need to create mandatory and additional processes and procedures for your organization to produce and deliver your product or service. Six mandatory documents need to be included. The creation of these documents can be done internally or you can get help from a consultant or purchasing standard documentation. You will find further information on this white paper List of Mandatory Documentation Required by ISO 9001:2015.
– Carry out an internal audit and management review, in order to correct the origin of any identified problems and establish how they could be resolved.
-Have an audit performed by a Certified Body (CB or Registrar) to assess the performance of your QMS against the latest ISO 9001 standard. Once all of the processes and procedures are in place, you will need to operate the QMS for a timeframe. By doing this, you will be able to collect the records requested to go to the next steps: to audit and review your system and be certified.
-If your company gets the certification, this needs to be re-certified after three years (and every subsequent three years) to ensure it is still up to standard (as well as any new changes to the standard)
Adopting a QMS compliant with ISO 9001 will help improve your company’s reputation, products, services and processes, and to reduce supply chain variation and waste. Certification to ISO 9001 shows to potential clients your commitment to quality control across all aspects of your organization.
What does it mean to have an ISO 9001 certification?
Organizations that are ISO 9001 certified have successfully implemented a quality management system in accordance to all of the requirements detailed in the ISO 9001 standard. Part of the ISO 9001 certification is identifying areas for improvement and acting on to correcting mistakes and enhance business processes.
While obtaining your ISO certification requires an investment of time, money and effort, it will allow your company to benefit from improved processes and controls while providing you with additional credibility with customers.
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