For many companies, ISO 9001 can be an overwhelming subject wrought with uncertainties and confusion. Often, managers are unfamiliar with the standard and feel their choices are limited or taken away. The good news is that alternatives exist within ISO 9001, and understanding the difference between compliance and certification can help increase options.

ISO 9001 Compliance

ISO compliance is when a company follows ISO standards, but no formal certification is verified. The operational processes of a business that is ISO 9001 compliant consistently meet the quality management system standards as defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) but lack the documentation to qualify for certification.

Benefits Of ISO Compliance

Even though ISO compliance isn’t highly regarded as ISO certification, it still ensures high-quality service and customer satisfaction by adhering to ISO 9001 specifications. Many companies reap the benefits and competitive edge that ISO 9001 compliance can provide, as meeting these standards is positively revered by customers.

ISO compliance also saves companies money and time associated with scheduling and passing certification audits, which can be advantageous to smaller companies with limited budgets. With this in mind, in most cases, ISO compliance is typically self-assertion; to ensure transparency, often companies enlist areputable third party to verify their compliance claim.

ISO 9001 Certification

ISO 9001 certification is when a company’s management systems are certified by an official third-party that confirms the business adheres to ISO quality management standards. Companies must submit various audits verifying that their products, processes, and services meet ISO 9001 specifications and standards. A certification body independently conducts these audits.

Once a company is ISO certified, they are presented with a certificate identifying and designating them as fully compliant with ISO criteria. This certification remains valid for three years before the company is responsible for initializing the recertification process.

Benefits Of ISO Certification

The ISO certification offers real benefits to companies as rigorous auditing systems qualify it. The accreditation is substantiated proof that a company adheres to QMS standards, making them more reliable than ISO compliance claims. ISO certifications also guarantee that the business is up to date on regulations and is committed to high-quality customer service.

The Takeaway

While there is a fine line between a company being ISO 9001 compliant and certified, it does allow for more options for businesses that wish to hold high standards yet cannot meet certification requirements.