What is ISO 9001 Certification?
ISO 9001 Certification outlines specific criteria that define a quality management system, or QMS. There are fundamental principles in place that show you what management is supposed to be in this standard. These include client focus, leadership, optimising the internal process, and non-stop improvements.
ISO part of ISO 9001 is the organisation that creates the criteria mentioned above. Members from an array of standard organisations come together to represent ISO. ISO defines the principles in ISO 9001, but they aren’t responsible for certifying individual organisations. Third-party registrars will be able to audit your organisation and certify you.
The “9001” in “ISO 9001” is meant to identify the criteria in the certification. The “9000 group” are standards that focus on management within a business. 9001 certifications are the most common type, specialising in QMS.
ISO separated its standards into 10 sections. All of the information presented in these sections are essential when getting certified.
There are 7 main principles, and these principles are:
- Client focus
- interaction of people
- Process methodology
- Evidence-based decision making
- Relationship management
The 1st section is the Scope. This section includes specifying the requirements of a QMS in the company.
The 2nd section is Normative References which covers terminology and essentials.
The 3rd section covers the terms and descriptions.
The 4th section covers the framework of the company. These are the processes, procedures and work instructions.
The 5th section covers the leadership of the company. This section is the responsibility and commitment of the leadership team.
The 6th section covers the planning of how to address risks, opportunities and quality objectives.
The 7th section requires you to inform your employees of the QMS. Provide adequate resources that allow everybody to be aware of the system.
The 8th section explains what you need to do to meet the requirements for planning, operations analysis and evaluation actions.
The 9th section goes over requirements on how to evaluate your business correctly.
Once you have the QMS in place, you must supervise your organisation and manage your system.
The final section focuses on constant improvement. You must be active in your management structure to ensure the best policies are in place.
The QMS, or quality management system, is a system designed to document processes, procedures, and responsibilities to achieve quality policies and objectives. The criteria for the certification process revolves around this system. It’s a group of procedures that ensure your business structure is top-tier.
This system measures your organisation explicitly. The central elements that make up the QMS are:
When simplified, these actions define the QMS. It applies these steps to your organisation to improve the quality of your structure.
The “Plan” step of the QMS system involves determining what your organisation values. You’ll then be able to layout the actions taken that address those values. The QMS explains that you should plan how your processes operate and if they follow quality values. Then strive for continuous improvement and reach quality objectives.
The QMS then states that the execution of your plan is necessary. This phase is the “Do” step. The system states that you must take your plan and apply it to your customers. Each process in your operations should follow your quality values laid out in the “Plan” part. When taking action on your goals, create a failsafe to save your operations from causing harm to customers.
Part of the QMS is checking on your plan to make sure it’s running well. This where the “Check” part comes in. Part of the system is measuring and analysing your plan at all times. There are many ways to analyse your operations, but the QMS requires that you provide reliable results.
The “Act” phase is improving anything you may have missed. This phase doesn’t necessarily mean correcting mistakes but optimising your operations.
Becoming ISO 9001 certified means that your organisation is reputable and provides quality service. Everybody will know that you follow the QMS, so they’ll understand how your operations work.
Having this certification will increase your profits. You’ll have a leg up over your competitors because customers, investors, and employees will be aware of your prestigious certificate.
Your operations will run more efficiently. Since this system is known to work, your management will indeed operate efficiently.
The rigorous requirements of the certification process will fix the problems that you currently face. Part of the process requires analysing existing issues and improving them.
People will see your business as more credible. When people notice your ISO 9001 certification, you instantly gain a good reputation.
The system will optimise product and service production. This optimisation will reduce strain on your company, allowing for business expansion.
The process will improve customer satisfaction. Client focus is one of the main principles of ISO 9001.
The certification process contains five stages:
- Stage one: gap analysis
- Stage two: certification documentation
- Stage three: developing a management system
- Stage four: implementation
- Stage five: auditing and ongoing improvements
Once you have applied and submitted all the documentation, a two-stage auditing process will determine if your organisation is eligible. The first audit will determine if your organisation is eligible for compliance by going through all management documentation. The second audit will see if your organisation has met all requirements from the QMS.
Auditors send the report to a committee that’ll determine if you get a certificate. If you pass the audit, then you’ll be rewarded with certification documents.
Once a year, authorised members will do audits to check if your organisation follows the required protocols. You’ll only lose your certification if your organisation doesn’t correct any mistakes within a reasonable time.
The certification body repeats this process every three years. This process will be faster since the certification body already has access to your documents.