ISO 9001: A Complete Guide to the Best-Known Standard in the World
What are the principles that drive a business? Ask most directors and they’ll say “profits and growth”, ask customers and they’ll say “quality”, ask managers and they will say “efficiency”. So most organizations will agree that quality, profitability, growth, and efficiency are keys to a thriving business, but how to go about implementing those ideas into your strategy in a systematic and thorough manner?
Introduction to ISO 9001
ISO 9001 was first published in 1987 by the International Standards Organization, as the certifiable portion of the ISO 9000 family. It focused on aspects of quality management, namely, how to optimize the various aspects of a business to provide products and services that best meet the needs of customers.
Since its inception, the standard has gone on to gain widespread adoption, with millions of businesses in over 160 countries achieving certification.
How ISO 9001 Works
ISO 9001 is applicable to all businesses whether large or small, it can be adapted to suit the varying needs, processes, and industries of a business and provide benefits at any level.
Implementation of the standard begins by considering a company’s objectives, infrastructure, and strategies as well as the practices in place to ensure their fulfillment. The ISO then encourages a process-based approach to implementing efficiency and improvement at each of these levels. Organizations must make sure everyone from employees to directors understand and meet the requirements of the standard. Evaluate the effectiveness and results of existing processes, and add value, or if necessary wholly restructure them. Focus on continual optimization of processes — standards reinforce the idea that an organization is never done improving.
The ISO encourages greater understanding and better analysis, by stressing a need for detailed, standardized documentation that clearly lays out the methodology for each process.
How ISO 9001 Will Benefit Your Firm
ISO adoption will bring numerous improvements to your company:
- Employees will have a greater understanding of their roles, and the standards that are expected of them
- The accuracy and quality of output will greatly improve as processes are made efficient and continuously improved
- Reduction in costs as the number of reworks, waste parts, and labor inefficiencies are greatly reduced
- ISO 9001 is internationally recognized as a symbol of quality. Adopting this standard will ensure your firm meets regulatory requirements for countries all over the world and assures foreign buyers of your credibility.
- By voluntarily choosing to focus on customer satisfaction and quality, you will improve your brand image, thus driving sales and growth of your business. This, in turn, will boost profitability.