What is ISO 9001?
ISO 9001 or ISO9001 is an International Quality Management system Standard which companies can use to demonstrate their ability to meet their customer’s requirements. In order to meet the requirements of ISO 9001 Standard, your business will need to have in place a documented Quality Management System and to be able to demonstrate its implementation and ongoing maintenance.
Who needs ISO 9001?
It is not a necessity to become accredited to the ISO9001 standard; however the advantages of working to the ISO9001 Quality Management systems are significant and could make the difference between your business turning a modest and a large profit.
All businesses can benefit from some if not all areas of the Quality Management system standard. It is a tool to ensure Quality assurance of processes put in and that once in place they are constantly monitored and reviewed in order to continually improve and update them.
ISO 9001 is beneficial to small and large businesses alike. You may think that your business is too small to need set procedures, however it is a good idea to implement these while the business is at a level where this adaptation is a relatively small task (providing that you already follow sensible methods of practice!). By taking this approach while the business is small it will not only mean that it becomes part and parcel of inducting new staff to the organisation but it in itself will be a beneficial tool for any future business growth.
ISO 9001 places emphasis on the continual review of company performance and attention to any internal or external changes that could affect the business. Monitoring these areas closely and taking any necessary preventative action, paves the way for successful growth. Addressing potential problems before they occur as opposed to adopting a fire fighting practice supports the smooth running of your business and promotes maximum efficiency.
If your business spends time and money on corrective action that could with hindsight have been prevented, the ISO 9001 quality management system is for you.
Equally if your business suffers from poor supplier performance or high rates of customer dissatisfaction ISO can help you to identify and address underlying causes and negative patterns of behaviour through monitoring supplier performance and customer feedback. Identifying these problems is the first step to solving them, from there the system supports the development of positive preventative action to anticipate potential future problems and put measures in place to deal with them before they can occur.
Many companies who have implemented ISO 9001 report clearly visible improvements in their productivity, increased levels of customer satisfaction and a reduction in product returns. A well implemented quality system helps to define the processes you use every day and develop working guidelines, this ensures the continuity of procedures within your business.
Why do you need ISO 9001?
Following the ISO9001 quality management system through to certification helps your business to not only reap the benefits from becoming accredited, but it also provides the opportunity to streamline your business practices for maximum efficiency.
Performance becomes easily measurable and areas for further improvement easily identifiable through continual reviews of business practice carried out through all levels of the organisation.
Potential and existing customers find it re-assuring to know that the company they intend to conduct business with adheres to a defined set of standards that bear international recognition. With standards covering quality, environmental friendliness, safety, reliability, efficiency and interchangeability customers can be sure of receiving a consistently high level of service.
Gaining accreditation is indicative of a conscientious, efficient and well run organisation that takes the issue of quality seriously at all levels of operation both internally and externally. It can greatly benefit your business by:
- Increasing your chances of success when tendering for new contracts
- Supporting your case when applying to be preferred contractor
- Giving you tremendous competitive advantage over those without ISO certification
- Enhancing your professional status within your specialised arena
- Ensuring a higher retention rate of your existing customers
- Helping in the reduction in your company insurance premiums
On top of these advantages there is no limit to the internal benefits of implementing the ISO 9001 Quality Management System. A few examples of the benefits you can expect to receive through implementation are:
- By providing guiding frameworks that support current practice and re-enforce mission statements, employees benefit from clear direction which serves to reduce the chance of mistakes and thus reduce costly reparatory time.
- By reducing the margin for error the system will ensure a marked consistency in the delivery of goods and services which in turn will afford you a noticeable improvement in your business performance.
- By increasing the motivation of your workforce and generating a marked improvement and enhancement to business management
All benefits generated from association with such a highly respected institution, serve to increase your company’s profitability through reputational gain, an overall reduction in wastage and an increasing levels of improvement in the quality and efficiency of business practice.
What does ISO stand for?
Commonly thought to stand for International Organisation for Standardisation, ISO is actually derived from the greek word “isos” meaning equal. Due to the different acronyms that the name “International Organisation for Standardisation” would have in different languages (for example IOS in English) at its inception it was decided to give it one short all-purpose name.