ISO 9001 is of fundamental importance and is the UK’s recognised standard for effective quality management. We have specialist consultants who assist accredited companies with an important set of principles that ensure a practical, common-sense approach to the management of business activities. For people to believe in the authenticity of your business quality management systems are crucial, and proof of these systems being in place are a sign to your customers that you are trustworthy and worth doing business with.
ISO 9001 accreditation allows for better customer satisfaction, effective control of operations and costs, and continual improvement in all areas of operation.
What is ISO 9001?
ISO 9001 certification is the International standard for Quality Management systems. The benefits of being ISO 9001 accredited will demonstrate to your customers, whether existing or potential, that you are committed to the quality of your product or service and have been assessed accordingly. By undergoing the process, you will be investing in your business and ISO 9001 certification will give it credibility.
ISO 9001 is in essence, basic common sense set down on paper in a rigorous and organised way. The principles are the same whether you employ two or ten thousand people. ISO 9001 will identify the basic disciplines, specify the areas that require written procedures or processes, and the criteria to ensure that products and services meet these requirements.
About ISO 9001
The term ISO stands for the ‘International Organization for Standardisation’. It is a global body which creates and maintains all ISO standards, with input from businesses and trade organisations from around the world. It is in fact one of a larger set of ISO standards, all of which are designed to uphold and signal quality in a particular aspect of business.
This effective business tool uses an internationally renowned QMS (Quality Management System) and is designed to be flexible and nonspecific which means it is suitable for a wide range of businesses and industries independent of their size, product and cultural setting.
ISO 9001 certification helps companies to:
- Streamline, modernise, develop and improve central processes
- Constantly progress and improve their operations
- Reduce overhead costs
- Win more new business contracts
- Increase customer satisfaction
- Create a strong, sustainable business
- Preserve and maintain positive relationships
Whilst ISO 9001 is not mandatory for companies, it is often a worthwhile investment for B2B as some distributors, suppliers and retailers will require it in order to do business with you. With certification in place, the chances of landing new business contracts become more likely thanks to the internationally recognised hallmark of excellence – signalling to everyone that your business is reliable and meets the highest industry standards.
ISO 9001 Requirements
In order to meet the standards of ISO 9001, businesses need to implement the required framework and maintain a number of specific practices and processes. In particular, this will require the application of concrete quality management processes and adoption of intangible values such as a customer-centric focus. Responsibility for quality control also needs to be taken on by upper management and employees down through the business hierarchy.
ISO 9001 certification dictates that businesses perform in a certain way in a number of areas, for example:
- Keeping records of the complete journey taken by the raw materials as they’re transformed into products
- Creating systems to engage with customers through effective customer service, listening to and responding to complaints and feedback, and readily supplying product information
- Commitment to regular performance reviews, making use of meetings and internal assessments
The main directives of ISO 9001 come down to a few key requirements under eight primary headings including – Systems, Management, Resources and Products and Services.
Process Implementation – The essence of ISO 9001 will involve the implementation of the core quality control processes which will vary depending on the type of business, their specific products, services and value-creation process. Specialised ISO Consultants can help to implement the required quality control systems that businesses need which can include things like randomised spot checks and the systematic checking of raw materials.
Documentation – This is a key requirement of ISO 9001 and involves thorough documentation of relevant processes at all stages. This includes written procedural documents and creation of a quality manual to be used as a reference for all employees involved in quality management.
Customer Focus – Although the focus of ISO 9001 is quality management, it often provides the foundation for a functional and profitable business and the thorough requirements can positively impact all areas.
There are several customer-facing requirements of ISO 9001 that business must meet including;
- To actually determine customer requirements for their offer, and establish a solid product-market fit.
- To create systems for engaging and communicating with customers, and be able to deal effectively with enquiries, complaints and customer feedback.
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Benefits of Having ISO 9001 Certification
There are many industries for which certain types of ISO Certification is a legal or contractual requirement, for others it can be a valuable tool with many benefits from gaining the advantage over competitors and enhanced credibility to improved overall performance and superior customer service.
ISO 9001 represents the fundamental standards of quality management for products and services, and the advantages of becoming certified include;
- Improved product/service reliability through best practice methodology.
- Customers have confidence in your product or service.
- Effective marketing opportunities.
- It is cost effective.
- You will consistently meet your customers’ needs.
- Effective control over business processes.
- A distinctive lead over competitors who may not have ISO 9001 certification.
- Removal of a barrier to working with many organisations, e.g. government and local authorities. Some larger bodies even make it a requirement to get on their tender list.
The Quickest Route to Functional Quality Management
With ISO 9001, businesses benefit from a ready-made, streamlined framework for quality management and control that developing in-house, even for small enterprises, could take years. Instead they are able to quickly implement the proven quality management standards which then builds transferable internal knowledge and helps to foster a “systems” culture – facilitating operational improvements in areas quite apart from quality management.
You’ll Be Preserving Your Most Precious Resource
Time is the most valuable thing your company owns and when it is managed poorly the effects of that negligence will become transparent quickly. With ISO 9001 in place your business will be able to clearly and precisely define what needs to be done, when, how, and by whom. Instead of improvising, you’ll be applying proven methods that work resulting in;
- More successful services / products, less failures
- Staff will feel more motivated from following clear objectives
- A more efficient overall service with traceable reporting that will give you a clear overview of your business
Opens up New Lucrative Markets
There are many suppliers, retailers and service businesses that will only deal with entities that are ISO certified which means that those who are not can often find themselves out of the running for lucrative and desirable contracts.
With ISO 9001 certification in place, organisations are able to access companies and customers that previously were unavailable, opening up a wide net of opportunities for new deals, especially for those wanting to do business in the public sector, the civil service and local authorities.
Creates Security in the Business
Effective quality management sidesteps a number of pitfalls that can be the downfall of a growing company.
No matter how innovative or valuable a product is, if the quality management processes are lacking then businesses can suffer. In the UK there are strict laws governing trading standards which clamp down on businesses that deliver unreliable products or deal with customers in a sub-par manner.
Well-implemented ISO 9001 standards greatly reduce the chances of incurring litigation for adverse events or accidents caused by a quality issue which is why these businesses benefit from better deals on their insurance rates.
These are just some examples of the many benefits of ISO 9001 certification and many companies report it as being one of the most rewarding investments they’ve made in their business, in terms of both their internal processes and external success.
The Need for ISO 9001 Certification
If businesses want to reliably produce excellent products and be taken seriously both by potential and existing clients, then they need a strong foundation of quality management. ISO 9001 certification is recognised the world over and is independently verified which makes it a credible and attestable way to demonstrate and prove that your business is compliant with the high international standards.
Here are just some of the reasons why ISO 9001 can be the key to success for your business.
Consistency – In order to achieve consistency in the end product that is shipped to customers and retailers, there needs to be processes in place to ensure that the system operates as it should be taking into account multiple variable inputs and all of those involved at each stage of the process. There is also the need for strict quality control process that will help to guarantee that only the quality is consistent for the customers.
Signalling Quality – Some of the biggest and most desirable businesses to work with only deal with companies that are ISO 9001 certified. This means that if you have the desire to grow your company to the level of success it deserves, you will need ISO 9001 Certification to help open the doors that will lead you there.
Ensuring Excellence – A business can really thrive or fall depending on their customer service and relations. ISO 9001 provides a foundation for the functional and effective customer service that has really become ‘table stakes’ for having a shot at a decent market share.
Revenue – Customers are more likely to buy from a company that’s ISO 9001 certified and some companies will only request quotes from contractors who have achieved this standard.
Culture – Without the clearly defined quality assured processes in place, it can be hard to give your employees clear objectives. ISO 9001 provides the structure and framework needed to help your staff work to their given targets – and meet them.
Attrition – Waste costs businesses money. By implementing ISO 9001 you will be able to minimise unnecessary wastage to help make your operation more efficient.
ISO 9001 Certification Consultation Services
At JR Consultants we work with our clients from the beginning to help provide a clear, reliable and accurate guide through the process. We are on hand to help navigate the minefields of paperwork and complicated information, implement the systems needed and to drive and support the improvements required to meet the standards.
It is our job as the experts to provide our clients with an invaluable service that allows you to spend your time focusing on what is important – your business. Our team of consultants are passionate about helping your business to achieve the recognition it deserves and open up a world of opportunities with a clear, straight forward and cost effective path to ISO 9001 certification.
With our consultancy services we will help to;
- Plan, document, implement and operate a simple quality management system that meets all the requirements of ISO 9001.
- Design the system around your existing business practices wherever possible, and if necessary, help you to identify and resolve issues where you do not conform to the ISO 9001 certification standard.
- Once the system has been implemented, we will arrange for your system to be fully audited by one of our auditors, before recommending you for your ISO 9001 assessment by an external UKAS accredited assessment body.
For more about how your business can achieve ISO 9001 certification, please contact us.
What is ISO 9001?
ISO 9001 is the International Standard for Quality Management Systems and is one of the most widely recognised and commonly used management tools across the world. Designed to provide the vital framework that organisations need to improve their processes and procedures, ISO 9001 helps to ensure that the quality of the goods and services delivered are to a consistently high standard.
The approach that the ISO 9001 standard uses is based on 7 quality management principles that involve top management, have a strong customer focus and strive for continuous improvement.
ISO 9001 is suitable for almost all organisations across different industries including both product and service based businesses of varying size and scope.
What are the benefits of the 9001 certification?
ISO 9001 is a powerful business improvement tool and certification to the standard can benefit your organisation in many ways such as:
- Increased efficiency and focus on quality to reduce costs
- Higher retention of existing business as well as greater success when bidding for new contracts or competing in tenders
- Improved morale amongst employees as a result of greater internal communications
- Creates a more resilient and sustainable business model
- Provides access to new markets previously out of reach
- Delivers increased customer satisfaction as a result of fewer errors, improved consistency and quality of goods or services
- Demonstrates strong corporate governance
- Improves relationships with suppliers due to more effective processes and efficient supply chains.
Is ISO 9001 A Legal Requirement?
Certification to ISO 9001 is neither mandatory nor a legal requirement for organisations, it is something that they can choose to do or not. However, that being said you can come across circumstances in which there is a ‘client-imposed mandatory requirement’ for the standard which means that you will need ISO 9001 certification in order to be eligible for tenders.
It is not uncommon for both government and private ‘Request For Tenders’ (RFTs) to include requirements related to health, safety, environmental and quality certification.
Having ISO 9001 certification and a robust Quality Management System that has been accredited by a third party can often make all the difference between winning the tender and losing out to a competitor. It can also open up a whole world of tendering opportunities and access to new markets that have been previously out of reach.
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