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ISO 9001 Benefits
 

The benefits of ISO 9001 certification

ISO 9001 will benefit any organisation if approached in a practical and common sense way with the primary focus on the business objectives and customer satisfaction.

Adopting this Standard has helped businesses of all shapes and sizes to improve how they do things, and the initial cost can often be balanced by the application of more efficient methods of working leading to less wasted effort in sorting things out when they go wrong.

Implementing ISO 9001 does not need to be a painful process, and most definitely should not generate unnecessary overheads. It simply addresses all the areas that should be considered when running any business in the most efficient manner. Although having a structured management system is critical to larger businesses, it is also highly beneficial for smaller firms.

Implementing ISO 9001 has often allowed senior management to see for the first time how the company they are running actually operates as an integrated whole, and sometimes this can be quite eye-opening.

The main benefits of ISO 9001 can be summarised as:

•Allowing a real insight into and across the whole operation

•Providing a good basis for instilling a sense of ownership across the workforce

•Serves as a pre-requisite for tendering for work in the public sector

•Enables easier identification of inefficient processes or practices

•Acts as an enabler for future continuous business improvement


Preparing for ISO 9001 certification

Depending on the size of the organisation and the availability of resources, implementing a Quality Management System under ISO 9001 can take anything from three months to the best part of a year, however a good rule of thumb is that with commitment and a reasonable starting base most SMEs should be able to reach readiness for certification in about SIX months.

It is a good idea initially to determine the key business objectives and service or product requirements, rather than focus straight away on the existing internal processes otherwise you may end up documenting something that provides no benefit to the business or its customers.

ISO 9001 only mandates a small number of documented procedures and these can be minimal, with the rest being down to whatever is needed to run the business in an effective and cost efficient way.

It is also critical to ensure everyone is involved from the start as it simply does not work if it is seen as something that is just the responsibility of say the Quality Manager, as is sometimes the case.

The initial step is usually the drafting of the Quality Manual which would describe the whole organisation and importantly will show how it all works in an integrated fashion. This is then followed by a period of progressive implementation of whatever systems, procedures, records etc. need to be put in place, and in essence to comply with the manual, which then brings about compliance with the ISO 9001 standard.


Attaining ISO 9001 certification

Once the systems are in place and you have undertaken a number of internal audits and have embedded the key management review process, an application for assessment can be made with one of a number of Certification Bodies who should ideally be UKAS anbd TURKAK accredited.

The assessment process is now carried out across two stages, or visits, with Stage 1 intended to ensure that all of the required systems and processes are in place, and the assessor may make any recommendations at this point. The Stage 2 visit will follow about four weeks later and is the actual audit of the management system against the ISO 9001 standard.

All being well, and it usually is, the assessor will there an then tell you that he/she is recommending you for certification (registration) and the certificate will arrive shortly thereafter.


Maintaining ISO 9001
Once the systems are in place and you have undertaken a number of internal audits and have embedded the key management review process, an application for assessment can be made with one of a number of Certification Bodies who should ideally be UKAS anbd TURKAK accredited. The assessment process is now carried out across two stages, or visits, with Stage 1 intended to ensure that all of the required systems and processes are in place, and the assessor may make any recommendations at this point. The Stage 2 visit will follow about four weeks later and is the actual audit of the management system against the ISO 9001 standard. All being well, and it usually is, the assessor will there an then tell you that he/she is recommending you for certification (registration) and the certificate will arrive shortly thereafter.
 
The assessor will return to carry out surveillance visits annually, although the first return visit may be after nine months, but in the meantime it is important that running the management system becomes part of normal day to day operations so that it does not fall apart by the time of the next assessor visit.

The management system should not remain static, and via the objectives setting and management review processes, there should be embedded theme of continuous improvement.



If you want some practical help with reaching ISO 9001, or just some information or advice, then do
email or contact.

 
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