ISO 9001 is an international quality standard for Quality Management that is specifically written so that it can be applied to all types of organizations, regardless of industry or size. The standard was issued by the International Organization for Standardization and is recognized throughout the world.
Many companies require their suppliers become ISO 9001 certified, and many others prefer it. So, achieving ISO 9001 certification provides a tremendous marketing tool for your business. ISO 9001 can help you structure your company, build equity value and provide the proof of best practices needed to attract larger companies. It’s one thing to tell companies you are a well-run business, it’s quite another showing them proof. ISO 9001 is a system that provides a customer/potential customer with precisely that.
Being ISO 9001 certified will help an organization improve its efficiencies. This equates to enhanced productivity, reduced costs and establishing accountability throughout the organization. Company personnel will have clear roles and there will be standardized lines of communication to improve management.
ISO 9001 certified companies are required to have a company manual that defines how the business operates. This will be independently audited to ensure it matches the actual practices taking place. Once the system is fully implemented (the ISO quality manual completed, procedures and forms implemented) and an internal audit has been performed, a company must pass an initial audit. To maintain its certification, companies are required to pass periodic surveillance audits (typically once per year).
Learn More About ISO 9001
What is ISO 9001? It is a series of international principles that help a business ensure that it has a good quality management system in place that conforms to the accepted polices set forth by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO 9001 requirements for certification mean that a business that wants to become certified has to match up their company’s formal practices to that which meets the ISO 9001 standards.
These standards include a quality control system being put into place that is capable of monitoring business procedures, keeping totally and precise track of all business records, keeping a lookout for any defects and if any are found correcting them, and allowing a process of continued audits to verify these ISO 9001 requirements are continued to be met.
In order for a company to confirm that they have enacted these principles, they must conform to the current ISO 9001 standards by becoming ISO 9001 certified.
What is ISO 9001 Certification’s Value For Companies?
ISO 9001 certification is seen by most businesses as a method of coming up with benchmarks that they can use to see where the business stands in comparison to the other companies in their niche. The fact that the company is willing to hold itself to the ISO 9001 standards also shows its customers that the business believes in total quality control and that the ISO 9001 requirements for running and watching over the manufacturing process and other company procedures is being done properly.
What is the ISO 9001 certification process?
The first step for any company trying to comply with the ISO 9001 requirements to become ISO 9001 certified is to undergo a document review of the company’s existing quality management system if they have one. An assigned ISO 9001 auditor will go over the existing company policies and procedures and see how well they match up with the current ISO 9001 standards for certification.
These must align with the ISO 9001 requirements in order for certification to take place within a business. This review of documents is normally done at the company itself, but in some cases could be done off site.
What is ISO 9001 pre-assessment?
If desired, a business can do a trial run, or a pre-assessment that will help to get the business in shape for the ISO 9001 certification audit. In this way the company can be certain that everything is good to go ahead of time and that they are thoroughly ready to be assessed and meet the required ISO 9001 standards.
What should a company do prior to the actual ISO 9001 audit?
As your business make ready for the real ISO 9001 audit, there are a few things that should already have been done to be certain that it is complying with the ISO 9001 requirements. These include performing a series of internal audits geared towards identifying and correcting any existing problems or weaknesses in your existing quality control methods, and have set up and agreed upon the date for the real inspection by the ISO 9001 inspectors.
If your business has already done the aforementioned pre-assessment and taken any appropriate actions based on the information from that assessment, then it should be in good shape to meet all of the ISO 9001 standards.
What are the goals of the ISO 9001 certification assessment?
The inspectors in the ISO 9001 certification assessment process have two major goals: to authenticate that the company has complied with all of the ISO 9001 requirements and to determine if the system now in place is effective and can continue to meet existing ISO 9001 standards.
What is ISO 9001 audit’s process like?
During an ISO 9001 audit all of the company’s employees from management down to the janitor will be interviewed and all records will be scrutinized. The goals here are to confirm that the business’s policies and procedures are all in place and meet or exceed the ISO 9001 standards and the ISO 9001 requirements are in place and working properly.
After the inspectors are done with the auditing process at the company, they will hold a final meeting to discuss their findings and let the company know if it has passed the audit or if it needs to do more to meet the ISO 9001 requirements for certification.
What comes after ISO 9001 certification has been granted?
If the inspectors deem that your company has indeed met all of the ISO 9001 standards and ISO 9001 requirements, then they will grand you ISO 9001 certification. This ISO 9001 certification is then good for a period of three years and in order to keep it in place, the company must submit to periodic additional audits during that timeframe.
How are future ISO 9001 audits conducted?
Once a company has been awarded its ISO 9001 certification, the accrediting ISO 9001 registrar will come back for the required additional audits on a schedule of approximately every six months to ensure the business is still meeting current ISO 9001 standards. These re-inspection audits may or may not be as complicated and involved as the original procedure depending on how well the business has been conforming to the ISO 9001 requirements since the original ISO 9001 audit.
The ending note is that becoming ISO 9001 certified is a good business practice for any company who wants to remain competitive and viable within their business niche. Being able to meet ISO 9001 standards and comply sufficiently to all ISO 9001 requirements shows their commitment to an international standard of quality control that may be higher than some of their competitors own policies. This commitment to excellence shows both clients and customers that the company is willing to meet a higher standard and that it places values on that process.