Germinated throughout the early 60s and finally bursting to life in 1987, ISO 9001 is a thirty page document that can be obtained by any organization in any country from their national standards organization. To describe it simply, the qualification is a third-party audited set of standards that assesses the quality of new products based on the guidelines set forward covering design, production, development, installation and servicing. It is globally assumed that if you sell products standardized under this name, they can be guaranteed to be of value and reliable.
Qualifications seem to be all the rage in corporations. With places like the BBB ready to blackmail every company into complying with its rules, it can be hard to really trust in any self-titled “standards”. Fortunately, ISO and its entire line up come with global support from companies that have seen positive correlations between nearly every facet of their business and employing the guidelines set forth in the manual in regards to successfully running a quality management system. In fact, many of its stalwart supporters are quick to point out its ability to make any company competitive in its field so long as the rules are adhered to. Specific advantages include increased profits, enhanced marketing, reduced audits and improved customer retention.
The first step is to simply decide you want certification. Next come the basic steps. Do note that ISO itself is only involved with the development of the standards. They have nothing to do with obtaining certification. For that, you need to find a body that adheres to the CASCO standards and is accredited. While lack of accreditation doesn’t necessarily mean the body is of ill repute, it still opens up the doors for a lot of issues in the future. During or after you have designated who will act as the body, update your quality system to the standards outlined by ISO 9001. Once those are ready to go, you will be audited to check your systems against the guide to verify that you are indeed ISO 9001 ready. If you pass, you will receive your certificate. The opposite, failure, is a bit of a poor term in this situation. Say the auditor decides your systems aren’t up to snuff. They will give you the list of everything you need to make conform along with a deadline to execute the upgrade. Assuming you do this, everything will be fine. If not, you will lose your certification or never receive it in the first place.
Now, you celebrate. Undoubtedly you and your team had to work a painfully large number of hours getting everything prepared, so you should reward yourselves. Once the party dies down, it’s time to update your website with the correct ISO certification image and designation. Company’s never put “ISO certified” because there are so many types of ISO certifications. They, instead, put down the type, ISO 9001, followed by the year that specific set of rules were designed. This alerts the community to what, exactly, your specialties are and how you are catering to the ISO community at large. In the case of 9001, you are now a forward thinking entity with plans to seriously compete with other big names.
Though complex by nature, the standards set forth and continually updated in ISO 9001 keep the market alive and thriving by putting forward ideals that only the best companies set out to achieve. By taking the time and effort to upgrade your entire business so that it complies with the rules, you are making a commitment to succeed. Getting a certification, after all, is no laughing matter and lacking it results only in numbers severely smaller than those who did take the time to grow. If you have a seriously vested interest in the future of your company and your industry, ISO 9001 is your promise to see your brand become one of influence. Infographic courtesy of Advanced Surface Technologies, Inc., proud to be ISO 9001 certified.