ISO Registration

Quality Management Certification under ISO

ISO 9001

The ISO 9001 certification is the most popular amongst all the other standards in the ISO 9000 family. The ISO 9000 family focuses on maintaining, improving and achieving highest levels of quality standards so that the said organization can consistently meet their customer’s demands and requirements.

The best part about ISO 9001 is that it is generic in nature and applies to all organizations regardless of their size, their product type or services. The fifth edition of ISO 9001 was launched in 2015 and it replaces the fourth edition ISO 9001:2008. The latest edition has revised clause sequence and adaptation of revised quality management principles and new concepts.  The ISO 9001: 2015 works on the basis of process approach – Plan, Do, Check and Act (PDCA) cycle along with risk-based thinking. This Quality Management System (QMS) has been adopted by over 170 countries around the world and more than one million organizations have implemented it.

Under ISO 9000:2015 it is mentioned that the organization needs to work on setting their own objectives for meeting customer requirements but they should be such that the organization works on a continuous improvement plan to reach these objectives.

Starting from weights and measures standardization, the ISO has developed standards for even the shoes that are worn by a normal family to the wireless networks that are popularly used by the masses today to connect online. The basic purpose behind ISO’s existence is to make available products in the market that are safe, reliable and are of good quality. From setting down standards on air quality, water quality, soil quality, emission of gases and radiation, the organization is responsible for maintaining not only the health of living beings, it is also meant for helping protect the environment.

Objectives of ISO 9000:2015

The main purpose of this system is

  • Meeting statutory and regulatory requirements of a company’s products and services
  • Achieving excellent customer servicing and delivery standards.
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The system can be adopted and applied to an entire organization, a particular factory site, department or the plant. In fact, this is one of the revisions where the QMS has been made to be applicable and accessible to all types of enterprises.  The other relevant revision in the latest version of IOS 9001 is the prominence given to risk-based thinking.

There are eight key areas that this system addresses:-

  1. Customer focus and satisfaction
  2. Leadership engagement has been emphasized to a great extent
  3. Involving people and being more user-friendly than before
  4. Process approach
  5. A systematic approach to management
  6. Continual improvement
  7. Factual approach to decision making
  8. Better supply chain management

Benefits of ISO 9001:2015

  1. A business assesses the overall context to identify objectives and identify new business opportunities.
  2. Customers have to be put first so that their needs can be met consistently to derive enhanced customer satisfaction. This will result in acquiring new clients, getting repeat customers and hence an increase in business.
  3. Since all processes are aligned under the system, it makes it easier for everyone to understand them and work towards them thereby increasing the productivity of employees and bringing down costs.
  4. It helps the organization meet the statutory and regulatory requirements.
  5. This helps the company venture into new markets as some industries and clients mandatorily require the ISO 9001 certification before awarding a contract.
  6. It helps the organization identify and address all aspects of risks associated with running the operations of the company.

The standards that are set for a certain period of time need to be reviewed and revised from time to time as they need to be relevant to changing and existing market conditions.

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Process for obtaining the ISO 9000:2015 Certification

  1. Certification is not provided by the International Organization for Standardization or conform assessment. They are responsible for developing International Standards but not the issuance of certificates. Hence, the organization interested in getting itself certified as ISO 9000:2015 needs to contact an external certification body to get the process rolling.
  2. The certification body needs to assess and review all existing standards of the organization as per ISO’s Committee on Conformity Assessment (ASQC).
  3. While choosing a relevant certification body, the organization should evaluate several of them.
  4. It is vital that the certifying body follows the CASCO standards for certification.
  5. It is also important to check if the certifying body is accredited. Though not mandatory, accreditation is a good way of proving the competency levels of the independent external certification body.

Organizations can finds an accredited certification body by either contacting the national accreditation body in their respective country or look for it online at the International Accreditation Forum. All organizations that are successfully able to obtain the certification are required to mention ‘ISO 9001:2015 Certified’ on their products, packaging or systems. In order to use the ISO logo on products or systems, the organization is required to contact the certification body that issued the certificate to take approval as unauthorized use of the logo is not permitted.

How to start the ISO 9000: 2015 Certification Process in an Organization, especially in a small Scale Organization?

The first step is all about identifying and defining the organization’s goals and objectives. It is at this early stage that all the relevant stakeholders in the company take a decision on whether the standard is for them or not and is there a need for implementing it in the organization. Next, the standards can be implemented only if the top management of the company is in tune with the QMS and supports the initiative and the objectives. After this, the company needs to understand the current systems and processes within the company and the customer’s needs. It is obvious that this is one of the most important steps of all because this will lay down the foundation of the future Quality Management System of the company. Then finally the organization need to analyze and understand the requirement of the standards that are relevant to the organization and if they are currently being met or not. With the help of internal audit and external audit that is handled by the professional certifying agency, corrective measures need to be undertaken. There need to be re-audits to review the effectiveness of the measures being taken and once the processes are in line with the standards mentioned, the organization is ready to receive its certification.

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It is important here for the said organization to understand the difference between quality management system standards and product and service standards. They are not the same. The latter is more to do with specifications that the product or service needs to conform to. The former is all about good management practices for achieving overall quality. All organizations that have the ISO 9001 system already existing based on the previous versions, need to adopt the latest version of the QMS and align their existing practices and processes with the revised version. The organization can also take help from industry or professional associations to understand the standards better. The ISO advises interested organizations to take the support of internet forums on quality, government departments and national associations on quality and then take a decision on the way ahead.

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