The Ultimate Guide to ISO 9001

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What is the current state of your Quality Management System (QMS)? Is it as efficient as it could be? Does it focus on the customer? Does it help you to consistently achieve your quality objectives?

ISO 9001 is a set of standards that helps businesses of all sizes and across various industries to achieve QMS greatness. This doesn’t require companies to completely upend their current way of working or make drastic changes to everything, but instead delivers strategic ways for you to improve your QMS and provides new opportunities – like the ability to enter new markets.

With ISO 9001 standards in place organisations can ensure that their customers receive consistent, top quality products and services which in return benefits their business. Based on a series of clear quality management principles centred on strong customer focus, ISO 9001 puts in place the framework and strategies needed for the streamlining of processes, the drive for continuous improvement and the motivation of top management.

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is the most recognised standard issued by ISO and one of the most widely used management tools across the world.

ISO 9001 is designed to help organisations put in place the right framework needed to build a robust foundation for improved quality throughout. This will then lead to increased efficiency, improved customer satisfaction and delivering a consistently high quality of goods and or services. This ensures that the needs of the client or consumer are always met as well as the stakeholders.

The standard of ISO 9001 uses a process approach based on 7 quality management principles focused heavily around the customer, top management involvement and striving for continuous improvement.

In order for businesses to grow and prevent themselves from becoming complacent or set in their ways it is important that its leaders think strategically. ISO 9001 in the most basic terms is an extremely effective tool for developing an efficient QMS that helps to define who should do what, when they should do it, why they should do it and how they should do it. By being able to easily identify where and how work should be delegated, senior management can be confident in the knowledge that the right person has been assigned the right job – leaving them free to focus their attention on the business.

What is ISO 9001 Certification?

In simple terms, ISO 9001 certification provides organisations with the basis for effective processes to consistently deliver the highest quality products or services to their customers.

For a business to become ISO 9001 Certified they have to meet the requirements of the standard. ISO 9001 evaluates whether your current Quality Management System is effective and working as it should for your organisation and helps businesses to effectively identify and implement necessary improvements.

The key to any successful business is robust quality control and if you want your company to thrive then your potential and existing customers must be confident in the fact that the goods or services you offer meet or exceed the expected standards. ISO 9001 certification is an easily identifiable hallmark of excellence that demonstrates the time and dedication your company has made to ensuring that your products or services are of the highest standard.

Do We Need ISO 9001 Certification?

Organisations of any size can benefit from achieving ISO 9001 certification and implementing the requirements are supported by the following universal management principles;

  • Customer focus
  • Leadership
  • Engagement of people
  • Process approach
  • Improvement
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Relationship management.

Why Should We Become ISO 9001 Certified?

  • ISO 9001 focuses on risk and helps to identify areas of concern in advance which allows organisations to allocate valuable resources to where they are most needed.
  • The standard calls for the engagement of upper-level management in order to bring quality assurance in line with overall business goals.
  • With the standards required to achieve certification, business are able to deliver an enhanced value for stakeholders through fostering innovation with performance evaluations and self-governance components.
  • A certified ISO 9001 QMS ensures clear processes, communication structures, tasks and responsibilities throughout the whole organisation. This not only helps to nurture and increase the involvement of your employees but improves the working atmosphere.

What Are the Benefits of Achieving an ISO 9001 Certification?

The world’s most widely recognised management system – ISO 9001 supports the effective management of your business and helps put in place effective procedures and processes in order to achieve consistent levels of high customer satisfaction, performance and staff motivation whilst focusing on strong quality administration.

ISO 9001 certification is a valuable tool that allows businesses to demonstrate their commitment and dedication to delivering high quality goods and or services to their customers.

Here are some of the benefits of ISO 9001 Certification:

  • Streamlined business procedures
  • Improved efficiency
  • Increased revenue
  • Higher levels of customer satisfaction
  • Provide consistency across service or product delivery
  • Improved supplier relationships
  • Better employee morale
  • Reduces costs and improve process
  • Refined management practices
  • Heightened status
  • Competitive advantage over non certified companies
  • Lower insurance premiums

How Can I Get the ISO 9001 Certification for my Business?

Obtaining ISO certification requires organisations to invest the time, money and effort it takes to achieve the required standards. By doing so, businesses will benefit from improved overall processes and controls as well as additional credibility with customers.

Before getting started, companies should have a clear idea of their objectives and the benefits they hope to gain by achieving ISO 9001 Certification. They must be prepared to fully incorporate the Quality Management Systems into every area of the business and advise all relevant staff of what will be expected of them, where their areas of responsibility are and what they need to do.

Organisations will firstly be required to develop and document their production processes and implement the correct procedures to ensure they can maintain the necessary high standards for quality.

The four essential steps to becoming an ISO 9001 certified business are;

  1. Develop your management system

– Identify core business processes

– Document with help of employees

– Review, agree and dispense documents to relevant staff

  1. Implement

– Confirm that procedures are being performed as defined in documentation

– Ensure staff are properly trained for relevant tasks

– Produce an effective reporting system that includes inspections, tests, corrective actions, preventive actions, review meetings, monitoring of objectives, statistical practises etc.

– Use measurable data to monitor the effectiveness of processes

– Regularly review and make improvements to any required areas

  1. Verify

– Conduct internal audit, review the processes and systems for compliance and effectiveness

– Identify strengths and weaknesses within the management system

– Ensure corrective or preventive action is taken

  1. Register your system

– Choose an appropriate auditing body for external registration

– Submit management system documentation for review where it will be assessed to ensure that it complies with the required standard

– An external auditor will perform a review in order to confirm that the system’s requirements are being fulfilled and that the management system is implemented effectively.

ISO Certification can be a demanding, confusing and time consuming process with a lot of potentially confusing paperwork. In order to make the route to certification as stress free and simple as possible then it can be very beneficial to seek help from professional ISO consultants who can support you at every stage and provide clear guidance, instructions and advice throughout.

How Can ISO Consultants Help Me?

At JR Consultants our experts work to deliver all of our clients with a plan uniquely tailored to their business objectives and chosen ISO requirements, which ensures a simple and cost effective route to successful ISO Certification.

We help organisations to implement effective management systems which not only support the day to day operations but provides the invaluable framework needed to improve processes and procedures to the required ISO standards.

Our consultants work with our clients from the very beginning to implement the systems needed to utilise the good work that they already have in place and help drive and support the essential improvements required to meet the ISO standards.

For more information about ISO consultancy services for your business then please contact us.

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