How to achieve ISO 9001 Certification
In our previous article, we explored what ISO 9001 is, and the benefits certification will have to your business.
Now, we’ll look at how you what you need to do in order to achieve this certification.
How do you get started?
There are many ways an organisation can implement a quality management system, and there are a number of different resources out there that will help you. Our top 3 tips to help you get started are:
Define your objectives. Why do you want to implement the standard?
Make sure senior management are on board. It is crucial that everyone, from the top down, is supportive of the initiative and its objectives.
Identify your organisations key process for meeting your objectives as well as your customers’ needs. Within each of these processes, make sure you understand your customers’ requirements and can guarantee that these are met – each and every time. This will form the basis of your quality management system.
How do you get certified to the standard?
There is no obligation to be certified to ISO 9001 standard, so it is a good first step to evaluate whether certification makes sense for your organisation.
Certification offers a reassurance to your customers that your products and services are in line with their expectations, in some cases it might be a prerequisite to working with certain clients. Many organisations benefit from using the standard without seeking certification.
If you do opt to get certified though, the first step is to find a certification body. You should evaluate several and check if they use the relevant CASCO standard. You should also ensure that they are accredited. Accreditation is not compulsory and does not necessarily mean an organisation is not reputable, it just provides independent confirmation of their competence.
You need to assess seven key areas in your business (these are known as clauses in the standard) in order to implement an effective Quality Management System.
Context of the organisation – this is where you set out the purpose and strategic direction of your business in terms of quality. You need to determine the internal and external factors to your business which affect the quality of your services, identify the stakeholders in your businesses, and understand your customers and their needs
Leadership – an effective Quality Management System depends on the commitment of your organisations senior management. You need your leadership team to take responsibility for creating the QMS, establishing the quality policies and objectives, communicating these to your employees and managing the annual reviews.
Planning – You must document the potential risks, including their severity and chance of occurrence, plan to prevent or reduce undesired effects and integrate plans to enhance desirable effects.
Support – The 9001 standard requires that your organisation provides adequate resources to operate an effective QMS. This includes a robust infrastructure, efficient working environments and effective HR management.
Operation – This describes the work your company must do to develop and deliver foods or services to your customers.
Performance evaluation – You need to measure and analyse your processes and record the results in order to demonstrate you conform to the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard. It needs to apply to all aspects of the QMS and support continual improvement in quality management across your organisation
Improvement – This stresses the importance of continual improvement within your business. You should have measures in place to improve services and products for the betterment of the business, better match your customers needs to improve satisfaction and identify instances of processes not achieving their goals to update accordingly.
Does ISO 9001 Require Regular Assessment?
Once your company has been certified under the standards, it is good for three years. At the end of that period, your business will need to submit to a reassessment process in order to renew your certification.
This may seem daunting, but if you’re sticking to the system you should have no issues.
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