Having a full-fledged QMS to guide your organization helps improve the quality of your products and services. With ISO 9001, you can get your QMS officially certified and reap the benefits of implementing ISO standards.
ISO 9001 is one of the most useful ISO certifications for a business to obtain. It indicates a well-run company with effective quality management systems in place. ISO 9001 requires outside certification, and in this guide, you will learn how to obtain said ISO certification.
Table of contents
2. Why are quality management systems important?
3. What are the seven quality management principles?
3.1 Customer focus
3.3. Engagement of people
3.4. Process approach
3.6. Evidence-based decision making
4.1. Benefits of ISO 9001 for your business
4.2. Benefits of ISO 9001 for your clients
5. What are the ISO 90001 requirements?
6. What is an ISO 9001 certification?
6.1. How long does an ISO 9001 certification last?
6.2. How much does it cost to get an ISO 9001 certification?
6.3. Is an ISO 9001 certification mandatory?
ISO 9001 is part of the ISO 9000 family of business standards, issued by the acclaimed International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It is a standard for quality management systems (QMS). ISO 9001 is one of the most popular ISO 9000 standards and is also the only one that requires official certification.
As a QMS, ISO 9001 is used in order to demonstrate that an organization or company has the consistent ability to provide products or services that:
ISO 9001's popularity stems from its incredible flexibility – no matter the size of your organization, it can be applied to any kind of company, and in any industry or sector.
But what kind of quality does ISO 9001 certify? It is not a product-based standard, so it does not prove anything about the quality of the products you produce. Instead, ISO 9001 is used to control and oversee the quality of processes that lead to high quality products. Well-defined and structured processes translate to a strong product. This is what a QMS is for.
ISO 9001 was published in 1987 and currently, over one million companies all across the globe have been ISO 9001 certified. The sheer amount of certified businesses highlights the importance of the standard.
Obtaining an ISO certification simply means that your company has met all necessary requirements detailed in the ISO 9001 standard by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and is therefore operating with a functioning and effective QMS.
Before covering all the benefits of ISO 9001, you may wonder if a QMS is even important. Simply put, a QMS is important because it is always better to be organized and have a way of holding yourself and your team accountable. In the past, this may have worked without a strict system in place; however nowadays there are so many aspects to consider that you need systems in place. Your goal is to deliver the highest level of quality in every part of your business – from product to management.
With a solid QMS in place, you can organize everything you do, meet requirements effortlessly, and document the process. This way, you improve every aspect of your business and can prevent errors, save money and time, and make continuous improvements.
National standards are becoming more and more outdated and it is important to adapt your practices to international ways of working. That’s where the International Organization of Standardization comes into play. ISO coordinates and develops standards that are globally accepted, creating unity and trust across borders.
The seven quality management principles, or QMPs, are the foundation of any good quality management system. While each principle is relevant and necessary, some organizations may choose to focus on one over another. For example, one might prioritize leadership and improvement, while another prioritizes customer focus and relationship management. You can set your own priorities, which may shift as your company grows and changes over time.
ISO 9001 teaches us that a good quality management approach is a flexible approach. From re-evaluating your perspectives, re-assessing your values, and constantly observing data in order to continually improve, change is inevitable and should be embraced.
Each of the seven principles have defined criteria you can use to assess how well you have met your objective.
Any good QMS involves developing a good understanding of your customers and their specific needs in order to satisfy them. Gather client and customer feedback data in order to identify gaps so that you can improve. Paying attention to your customers helps you ensure customer loyalty.
By prioritizing customer focus, you can expect to:
A strong leader and management team is vital to a quality management system. By developing strong leaders that are able to communicate your vision in an accessible way, your company will flourish. Guidance from these leaders creates purpose and increases motivation and, as a result, productivity.
Communicate the organization’s mission and vision throughout the company and establish a healthy company culture so that you can:
Your employees are the lifeblood of your operations, and it is important they feel engaged and motivated. Employee care is part of ISO 9001 and therefore mandatory for anyone seeking ISO 9001 certification.
The benefits of engaging your employees include:
Engagement of people can be achieved through open communication and issue discussion. Make sure that every team member feels valued and receives praise for their contributions.
Define activities as processes and make them more approachable and easier to grasp. By introducing a project culture, you establish a holistic business approach where every team works together, leading to better performance.
Employing methods and tools like the PDCA cycle facilitates the process approach by defining the system’s objectives.
Making your quality management system better is a constant process. The ISO 9000 standards are about continuous improvement. That means identifying risks, and pinpointing inconsistencies. By weeding out the root cause of an issue, you can improve performance faster.
It is important to prioritize and value good decision-making – even though it can be a complex process, decisions based on data analysis and clear information are more likely to produce results. Gather facts, assess evidence, and consider multiple sides in order to improve your decision-making processes and your team’s ability to do what is best for the organization.
In order to run a successful business, it is important to keep all parties involved satisfied. This includes workers, but also your clients and suppliers. By cultivating said relationships and putting an effort into keeping them healthy, you’ll improve performance because you’ll optimize your supply chain.
Aim to see suppliers, customers, investors, and employees as equally important parts of your business. Share information, collaborate, and encourage and recognize where appropriate.
As a standardization for quality management systems, ISO 9001 helps you gain trust and improve your reputation. Passing an ISO audit means that you’ve done well addressing the seven principles of quality management.
With ISO certification, you can achieve more reach and increase your overall operational efficiency. As previously discussed, ISO 9001 is one of the most popular, sought-after, and renowned standards worldwide, and is the best sign of a healthy QMS.
As ISO has published these set guidelines and requirements for ISO 9001:2015,improving your quality management structures is just a matter of following them. The clarity of requirements means there’s no second-guessing or ambiguity.
Implementing an ISO 9001 quality management system into your organization and following the seven QMPs benefits you in many ways, including:
Successfully meeting any of the ISO 9000 standards is a great sign for potential customers. An ISO 9001 certification offers your clients:
ISO 9001 requirements are meticulous, with over 350 individual requirements across ten clauses.
While many of the stipulations are mandatory, there are also non-mandatory requirements that still benefit your business, but are not necessary to receive an ISO 9001 certification.
The 10 ISO 9001 clauses define the standard and its terms and definitions (clauses 1-3) before going into the actual requirements of the standard (clauses 4-10). There is also a 0 clause that talks about the benefits of a QMS and the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle. The 0 clause is useful and should not be overlooked.
An ISO 9001 certification procedure follows the general ISO audit guidelines and consists of the following steps:
An ISO certification is generally valid for 3 years. However, during that time period it is essential that you consistently prove that you are maintaining all the ISO requirements and are staying compliant with ISO stipulations.
Maintaining quality management standards guarantees continuous improvement and sets you up for recertification. During the 3-year period, someone from a registered certification body needs to conduct check-ins to ensure that the QMS is being maintained.
There is no set price for an ISO certification, as the cost depends on the certification body that performs the certification audit. Your organization’s size and the complexity of your QMS also determine how much money you’ll have to spend.
Ideally, you’ll get a free quote from an accredited body and go from there, all the while considering:
Unless your business partners request that you obtain one, an ISO 9001 certification is not mandatory.
It is, however, worthwhile to consider certification as the standard is important in many industries and not having it may reflect negatively on your organization and cost you future business.
Further, the mere adherence to the requirements listed in ISO helps structure your business, helps in increasing your productivity, and helps you maintain legal requirements based on a strict and recognized standard. This way, you can be sure that your organization is always on the right track.
Passing your ISO audits is easy with Lumiform. With countless digital templates that all your employees can follow on their smartphones, you can easily assess whether your business is compliant with all ISO 9001 regulations.
ISO 9001 is part of the ISO 9000 family, issued by the acclaimed International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and is a standard for quality management systems (QMS). As a QMS, ISO 9001 is used in order to demonstrate that an organization or company has the consistent ability to provide products or services that
Becoming ISO certified simply means that your company has met all necessary requirements detailed in the ISO 9001 standard by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and can therefore present a functioning and effective QMS.
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