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ISO 9001 Explained - The Business Benefits and How It Comes Into the Equation

In our previous post, we examined the principles of the ISO 9000 quality management standards and provided a summary of the procedures required to develop a quality management system (QMS) that is ISO 9001-certified. Recap: A "quality management system" is a comprehensive set of guidelines, regulations, and policies supported by documentation, intended to ensure that an end product or service achieves a specific standard of quality in order to satisfy customers.

The ISO 9001 standard is the family member that can be certified, and it is highly recognised globally and in the majority of industries. The most obvious benefit of establishing an ISO 9001-certified QMS is enhanced customer satisfaction, but there are numerous additional benefits. Added advantages include:


Greater Dependability

Risk management is emphasised heavily in ISO 9001. Organizations are urged to consider the risks posed by their processes and, where practical, take steps to reduce those risks. Alternative suppliers might be lined up to supply items in the case of a failed delivery, or backup options for utilities like corporate broadband could be established. Such actions will probably lead to more dependable end product or service delivery, which will increase client confidence.


More Efficient business processes

All the crucial components involved in the supply of your service or product should be organised and formalised by the quality management system that results from ISO 9001 certification. The system will aid in defining roles and producing a library of reference materials that will empower staff members to make well-informed choices on their own. The end result will be smoother, more effective procedures where everyone is aware of their responsibilities and place in the larger scheme.


Improved managerial oversight

Managers will be able to comprehend the complexities of company processes thanks to the continuous evaluation and improvement required by the ISO 9001 standard, which also makes it possible for strategic decision-making that is supported by performance statistics. The QMS may provide decision-makers in your company with knowledge on aspects of your operation that they were previously unaware of.


Happier and more motivated staff

Your QMS will provide your staff everything they need to constantly meet and exceed client expectations by providing them with the frameworks and direction they require. According to studies, a lack of direction and poor communication can make it difficult for employees to perform their jobs successfully, which can lead to frustration and a lack of motivation. Your staff will be able to respond to a variety of scenarios on their own with the help of an ISO 9001-certified quality management system, which will eliminate the need for excessive delegation throughout the corporate hierarchy. This will give the workers more confidence and enable them to handle the great majority of problems without supervision.


Reduced Insurance Costs

Insurers frequently offer certified firms lower premiums since ISO 9001 certification reflects "risk mindfulness" and an organisation's capacity to handle the risks it faces.


A credibility boost

The most frequently adopted quality management standard in the world is ISO 9001, which is recognised across all industries and whose certification is open to companies of all sizes. An unrivalled indicator of professionalism, ISO 9001 accreditation is a credential that declares dedication to providing great customer service and a desire for ongoing improvement. The status of your business will rise as a result of certification in the eyes of both current and potential clients.


The prospect of new opportunities

This perk may be the most alluring one for many firms seeking accreditation. An inquiry about ISO 9001 certification is very likely to come up during the tendering process for both public and private sector contracts, frequently even at the pre-qualification stage. The requirement that non-certified rivals demonstrate that their quality outcome management systems and procedures are comparable to yours in terms of scope and standard will put your firm at a distinct advantage over them.

Prospects may see from your organisation's ISO 9001 certification that it has processes in place to regularly fulfil its contractual obligations and that it has given careful consideration to functioning within its legal and regulatory environment. Potential customers will feel more confident as a result, and it might put your business on the path to commercial success.


The part your IT system can play in the quality management process…

How is any of this relevant to the IT system for my company, one could naturally wonder at this point.

IT systems and quality management procedures share more than meets the eye when it comes to streamlining business procedures and facilitating the efficient production of high-quality results.

You can build a technology stack that supports your quality management goals by optimising your IT to increase productivity, provide seamless communication (especially client interaction), and structure and streamline procedures using technologies like business process automation (BPA).

In direct reference to the requirements of ISO 9001:2015, let's examine a few ways your IT can support quality management procedures.


Requirement 82) Clause 7.1.3


“Provide and maintain infrastructure necessary to the functioning of processes.”


Installation and continuing maintenance of the hardware and software needed to assess and match the results of the product/service with the desired quality metrics are required for this item.


What implications does this have for my IT?


You must be employing technology that is adaptable, dependable, current, and in line with client expectations if you wish to meet this requirement.

Consider putting IoT devices in certain settings to monitor operations and assure quality. These devices are especially helpful in industrial processes where material and assembly quality must be continuously monitored.

To guarantee the final output meets industry standards and client expectations, organisations in the creative sector may need to use the most up-to-date editing and video production software.

For businesses providing professional services, this mandate might entail giving customers access to various communication channels for a more interactive and involved customer relationship as well as technologies that enable users to perform administrative tasks remotely, like secure document upload portals and e-signature capabilities.


Requirement 106) Clause 7.4 d


“Define how to communicate.”

Organizations are required to determine the communication channels required to create a high-quality customer experience as part of this requirement, which is part of the planning process.


What implications does this have for my IT?


Consider your complaint management procedure and the frameworks required to guarantee prompt problem response. A well-defined process (supported by automation) should be established for handling support requests, and you should consider whether your phone system has the characteristics required to handle a high volume of calls.

Take into account the requirements your clients have for contacting you. An out-of-office connectivity solution for you and your clients may be possible with a hosted VoIP phone system if business travel makes it difficult for them to stay in touch. A customer relationship management system (CRM) could be useful if managing client accounts is a cumbersome and fragmented process. This will enable you to centralise customer data for a more streamlined customer care experience. Consider purchasing a videoconferencing platform and related technology, including webcams, if you have trouble keeping remote parties informed. This applies to consumers, partners, and remote personnel.


Requirement 114) Clause 7.5.3.1.b


“Control the protection of the documented information.”

The ISO 9001 standard calls for a sizable amount of supporting documentation to back up the developed quality management systems in order to gain certification. The aforementioned criterion refers to this documentation and calls for the establishment of control measures to safeguard and secure this information.


What implications does this have for my IT?


Technical and organisational safeguards should be put in place to protect sensitive information from unauthorised access and to authenticate the identities of those who are entitled to examine company data. Sensitive data could be protected by authentication protocols that use more sophisticated identity verification techniques than just username/password combinations, and read-only permissions could be enforced for critical documents to prevent unauthorised editing. Additional measures, such "download blocking," can aid in preventing future file misuse.

In a broader sense, security measures like encryption might be employed to safeguard data moving through unsecure networks, while firewall security and anti-virus software could be used to deter hackers from accessing critical information.


Requirement 206) Clause 8.5.1


“The organization shall implement production and service provision under controlled conditions. Controlled conditions shall include, as applicable: … g) the implementation of actions to prevent human error;”


This item requires organisations to take steps to mitigate against human error in the delivery of the end product or service.


What implications does this have for my IT?


Technology can be helpful in organising processes and assisting in ensuring that protocols are adhered to exactly. For instance, workflow management systems can be useful in ensuring that tasks stick to a predetermined protocol, that deadlines are carefully met, that no step of the activity is missed, and that no data is lost in the process timeline.

Automation can minimise the stress of repetitive, manual operations that are of little value in and of themselves while also helping to minimise human mistake. The billing process, customer support, order processing, sales, marketing, and many more processes can all be automated.


Conclusion

Every procedure in your company that has an impact on the quality of the goods or services you offer must be examined and optimised in order to create an ISO 9001 compliant quality management system. Businesses who are prepared to take on the challenge may reap major benefits, including the chance to land new contracts and satisfied customers who have faith in your company's capacity to deliver.

With cutting-edge business communication solutions that keep all parties connected, IoT (internet of things) technologies, and automation platforms that reduce human error to a minimum and help achieve quality goals, IT has a crucial role to play in developing sound quality management processes.

Cloud Computing

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