ISO 9001: 2008 is a standard which specifies the requirements for a quality management system (QMS) where an organisation (1) needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable regulatory requirements, and (2) aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system. This includes processes for continual improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity and applicable regulatory requirements.
ISO 9001 is by far the world’s most established quality framework, currently being used by around 897,000 organisations in 170 countries worldwide. It sets the standard not only for quality management systems, but management systems in general. ISO 9001 helps all kinds of organizations succeed through improved customer satisfaction, staff motivation and continual improvement.
As an ISO 9001 certified organisation you will have implemented quality management system requirements for all areas of the business including:
Achieving ISO 9001 standards is the first step of a process of continual improvement that will provide your organisation with the necessary management tools to improve working practices throughout the entire organisation.
You will need to appoint a person to help you to carry out the internal assessments, assist in writing up the Quality Manual and procedures, and help you with getting certified.
Benefits of ISO 9001
An ISO 9001 certificate will provide maximum benefit to your organisation if it approaches ISO 9001 implementation in a practical way. This will ensure that the quality management systems that are adopted, work to improve the business and are not just a set of procedures that your employees will find hard to manage.
By adopting an approach that starts out to implement more efficient working practices and focuses on the organisations business objectives, you will achieve a system that will help and support your staff, and improve customer satisfaction.
Whether you use an external assessor or allocate an internal resource to carry out the initial assessments, you will need to ensure that they have buy-in from senior management to ensure all areas of the organisation are aware of the importance of the ISO accreditation process.
ISO 9001 certification is not just suitable for large organisations but also small businesses that will benefit from adopting efficient quality management systems that will save time and cost, improve efficiency and ultimately improve customer relationships.
Some of the benefits to your organisation:
- Provides senior management with an efficient management process
- Sets out areas of responsibility across the organisation
- Mandatory if you want to tender for some public sector work
- Communicates a positive message to staff and customers
- Identifies and encourages more efficient and time saving processes
- Highlights deficiencies
- Reduces your costs
- Provides continuous assessment and improvement
- Marketing opportunities
Some of the benefits to your customers:
- Improved quality and service
- Delivery on time
- Right first time attitude
- Fewer returned products and complaints
- Independent audit demonstrates commitment to quality
ISO 9001 auditor
When you are satisfied that your entire organisation is working within the guidelines of the quality management system, it is time to call in an ISO 9001 auditor. The audit can be done by a number of Certification bodies, however it is important to note that not all ISO 9001 auditing organisations are UKAS accredited.
If you do not use a UKAS accredited auditor your certification could end up being worthless.
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