What is ISO 9001?
A quality management system defines and controls all of the activity undertaken to assure the quality of an organisation’s products and/or services, providing a natural home where plans and strategies are linked to and delivered through day to day operations. When things go wrong, it supports the effective analysis of non-conformity and hence its correction, then eradication.
ISO 9001, the quality management systems standard, is the most widely used and recognised of the ISO management system standards. It helps the organisation become focused on customer requirements and build systems and processes that allow quick and easy adaptation in a fast-changing world. It gives reassurance to existing and potential customers that the product or service supplied will “do what it says on the tin”. In fact, many organisations insist that their key suppliers are ISO 9001 accredited.
ISO 9001 incorporates risk-based thinking and like many of the ISO management system standards is based on Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology. It has been designed to be similar in structure to other ISO management system standards standards, which ensures that all of these standards can easily be integrated by users.
Implementing ISO 9001, whether or not you intend to go for accreditation, is much more than creating procedures and ticking boxes. It should change the whole culture of the organisation to one of continual improvement, striving for excellence in the longer term.
What are its benefits?
- helps the organisation deliver products or services that meet customer needs
- helps the organisation address risks and opportunities in line with its objectives
- a powerful clarion call for staff to deliver high standards to the business
- re-work & waste reduced – predictability increases & planning is easier
- qualitative & quantitative data from audits etc. help target process improvement
- logical & important foundation step on journey to ‘best in class’ and excellence
- supports other business models such as the EFQM Excellence Model
- staff confidence, pride and morale improves
- gives external recognition to your organisation
- potential financial benefits (see the related link in the section below)
How we can help you implement and maintain it
We have a strong track record in helping organisations to develop and implement effective quality management systems that reap all of the benefits outlined above right and, if required, meet the ISO 9001 standard for certification purposes. We can help you
- develop quality policies and quality management systems that are effectively integrated within your organisation and, if appropriate, with management systems based on other ISO standards e.g. ISO 14001
- document quality processes and procedures and other processes, as required
- train staff and managers in ISO 9001 and internal auditing against the standard
- train people in improvement tools and techniques (e.g. Plan Do Check Act, Balanced Scorecard)
- support management teams through the ISO 9001 certification process – we only work with certification bodies approved by UKAS * or, outside of the UK, members of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF)
- conduct a readiness review/gap analysis in preparation for a certification audit
*Why use a certification body accredited by UKAS or IAF to certify your quality management system? See related links to the right on why this matters.
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Related pages and links
For more information on how the BSI Quality ROI Calculator was created click here.
How not to choose a certification body unfit for purpose
If the body awarding your certification is not itself operating to internationally recognised standards, you could find yourself implementing something of no real value to your organisation. UKAS and its overseas equivalents (only one per country) are appointed by Government to help you avoid this potential pitfall.
Each country’s Government appointed accreditation body is a member of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF).