What Is ISO Certified?
If a system is ISO certified it assures the people who have purchased the system that it is in fact reliable and of a high quality. The ISO 9001 system is one that carries many benefits and provides you with approval by many clients both local and international. The ISO 9001 quality management system is not only used by companies that produce products but also for companies that provide services. The management system is not a requirement and is completely voluntary to implement. The benefits of implementing such a system are invaluable to your business. Productivity will be increased and the efficiency and effectiveness of company operations will have far-reaching effects. The reasons for wanting to gain certification vary from wanting to motivate staff by setting clearly defined goals or it may simply be a requirement withing the context of their risk management program.
Who Certifies A Company?
A company can never be certified directly by ISO but rather by one of their accredited partners and private certification bodies. The certification may be stamped with the seal of ISO, however this does not mean it was issued by the institution. Certification is based on a Conformity Assessment which is evaluated by the Committee and they base this on many standards which are related to the certification process.
The Value of Audits
Audits are one of the most important parts of the ISO management process. These audits allow a company to understand whether they are on the right path to obtaining the official certification and if not, where do adjustments and changes need to be implemented. It must be remembered that although any company can implement the quality management system, obtaining certification will gain you good ground within the industry and the market. ISO 9001 certification ensures that waste and errors will become less and less and the quality of goods and services will improve drastically and consistently. ISO 9001 companies are more likely to attract investors both nationally and internationally. More confidence and trust is placed in companies that are ISO 9001 certified than those who are not.
Facts and Figures
- 178 Countries are members
- There are 3335 technical bodies responsible for the development of standards
- 150 people work full time for ISO in Geneva, Switzerland
- There are nearly 20000 individual ISO standards
- There have been 1.1 million certificates issued across 178 countries
- 42000 companies or organizations in North America are ISO 9001 certified
- 29000 companies or organizations in the United States are ISO 9001 certified
- Sections to ISO 9001 – Scope, normative reference, terms and definitions, quality management system, management responsibility, resource management, product realization and measurement, analysis and improvement
- ISO 9001 organizations or businesses are paid more on average as they are deemed more competent and trustworthy
- The increased benefits of becoming certified include higher demand for products and services, increased market share and improved company perception
- Improved financial performance is noticeable after ISO 9001 certification
- Better sales growth is registered in certified companies as opposed to those that are not certified
ISO is so much more than a set of guidelines to build your quality management system around, this is your chance to improve the atmosphere in your work environment, share the responsibility and accountability, and create a dream team. By improving the team with which you work and becoming a partner rather than a boss to them you create an atmosphere where you become approachable. Once you become approachable you will find that suggestions and ideas begin to flow freely from every staff member, each committed to the cause.
The overall improvement in the product or service you produce will be more than enough to boost the confidence of your employees and encourage further productivity and change. Everybody will understand the goals and the path to those goals. Financial reward will be felt by all once the processes are streamlined the waste is reduced and let’s admit in this day and age, money talks loud and clear. By rewarding, you encourage.
In the ISO 9001 management process there is a huge emphasis placed on the consumer or customer. This process is directed at meeting the needs, expectations and requirements of those that purchase your products. Customer satisfaction is paramount in the pursuit of increased market share, confidence and sales increases.
If your expectations of what you can achieve from the ISO 9001 process are still on shaky ground you can simply implement the processes to see if there are improvements in production, consistency , waste reduction and staff morale before you take the step to becoming certified. A tremendous part of the ISO 9001 process is documentation. This paperwork has to be in order, up to date and available as this is the means by which you measure improvements or realise where changes need to be implemented. This documented evidence is what will be used during any form of auditing process.
Bear in mind if you are considering this for of quality management process, gone are the days of you, the boss, dictating, you have to adjust to become part of a team. You have to be prepared to take the good with the bad, dish out commendations when necessary but also reprimand but, you yourself cannot expect to receive all the praise for a system operated by the people as a team. I think for many this is one of the greatest obstacles to achieve but one that is well-worth getting past. The sooner that line is abolished, the sooner your team will become one. It is time to make the change, see improvements and put your business on the map.
ISO 9001 certification can assist you on your path to consistent quality products and services, gaining trust from your client base, attracting new investors and opening the horizons to the international market. Your team will get you there but you need to ensure they have all the tools readily available and the confidence from you to drive them forwards.