What Is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 - The International Standard for Quality Management Systems

When companies discuss having a quality management system (or QMS for short), ISO 9001 is the "International Standard". But exactly what is ISO 9001 and how can my company be certified?

To qualify for certification of ISO 9001, a company must follow the mandatory requirements set out in the ISO9001 standard. It's this standard that is used by businesses and organisations to show their ability to provide products and services to a consistent standard and ones that meet both their customers and also any regulatory requirements.

But beyond this, it's also to demonstrate that the company is making continued improvements to their business and working practices to meet the requirements of all customers.

Can my business qualify to be certified for ISO 9001?

In short, yes. Whether you are single individual, SME or a multi-national business, ISO 9001 can be used to measure and improve standards within your business.

The current standard, ISO 9001: 2015 which was published in 2015 is used as the basis to tailor a QMS for any business.

  • Whether your business is just you, or your site or multiple sites in various countries, an ISO 9001 QMS can be tailor made for your company.
  • ISO 9001 is not industry or sector type specific and therefore it doesn't matter if you are a manufacturer, consultant, cafe or even a government organisation. Some industries have specific branches of the ISO 9001 QMS (such as aviation, medical and the motor industry).
  • It doesn't matter what products you produce or service you provide. But it's important to note that this is not a PRODUCT STANDARD. ISO 9001 is used to monitor and control the processes that are used to make or provide your end product.
  • ISO 9001 is not awarded to individuals but awarded to businesses and companies that become certified (typically by an UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) certified body – BSI, LRQA, DNV).
  • To qualify, there are three key steps:
    • Implementation - Here a business or company will build a QMS either for the entire business or for a part of the business. This is best done with a qualified QMS business such as PCH Quality Systems Management who are experienced and qualified to help. We will ensure all the key steps have been completed prior to commencement of the certification process this will ensure a smooth transition during the audit period.
    • Audit - Once the business has completed their QMS and are confident that they are following the processes they have mapped out, they will then be audited by a ISO 9001 (UKAS) auditing body such as BSI. Once audited, if the business passed they will be awarded ISO 9001 certification for a three year period. Which is then periodically subject to surveillance audits by the certificating body.
    • Re-certification - To continue to be certified the business needs to be re-certified every three years.

Interested in ISO 9001 for your business?

If your business is looking to get certified and you want to find out more about taking those first steps, or if your business is looking at re-certification call us or drop us an email today to find out how PCH Quality Systems Can help!

ISO 9001 Certification and Continuous Improvement

What does it mean to be "ISO 9001" certified?

To be ISO 9001 Certified, a business or company has understand, built a quality management system and has been audited and has met the standards as outlined in the Standard.

ISO 9001 is used to evaluate whether the QMS that your business has in place is both appropriate and effective, whilst also putting the responsibility on the business to both identify and implement improvements within their policies, processes and standards.

But what is Continuous Improvement?

Continuous Improvement ensures that the product or service you are delivering to customers is meeting their requirement, but also that you are providing both consistent and sustained performance.

By providing continuous improvement, it means that your processes are regularly monitored - the company is always looking at ways to improve the process via:

  • Reducing or removing ineffective elements of the process
  • Providing training to staff to help improve their efficiency and become better skilled and more knowledgable
  • Streamlining processes

Normally, inline with continuous improvement staff morale is increased and they become more motivated - which in turn leads to increased operational results.

The Impact of ISO 9001 on your business

The initial impact of ISO 9001 is the process stage. Building an effective QMS can take time and effort - and these can be considerable without guidance and assistance.

PCH Quality Systems Management can provide Business Audit skills as well as Quality Plan and Documentation experience to businesses across the North West and we've helped businesses with their QMS and auditing requirements for over 10 years.

Once your business is ISO 9001 certified, this then can be used used as a marketing tool to increase business. . A business that is ISO 9001 is shown to be one that cares about it's processes and also delivery consistent and effective products and services to it's clients and can really help differentiate your business and contract negotiations and sales contracts.