Many businesses need ISO 9001 certification to ensure they meet the requirements set forth by various vendors, government agencies, and more. When you decide you want to move forward with getting your ISO certification, there are various steps that need to be followed.
While it can be overwhelming to consider developing and implementing a Quality Management System (QMS), Advisera ISO 9001 academies are available to provide guidance every step of the way.
Understand the Process
The ISO 9001 certification is different for everyone. It has to do with the industry that you are in as well as the individual processes that take place within your business.
You’ll want to consider whether you’re going to develop the management system or if you’re going to let a consultant do it for you. The latter will be more expensive but can help to expedite the certification process.
The basic steps involved include:
- Develop your QMS
- Implement your QMS
- Conduct an internal audit
- Register your QMS
- Prepare for an external audit
Review the Standards
The structure of ISO:9001 is split into 10 clauses. The first three are introductory to help you understand more about what the certification is all about. The next six will help you to achieve the certification. It ensures that you have encompassed all of the needed policies, processes, and procedures to help your business run smoother and more efficiently.
- Context of the organization
- Leadership requirements
- Plan for the risks and opportunities of the QMS
- Establish support for the various resources needed
- Identify the planning and creation components that go into delivering a product or service
- Evaluate the way in which you perform, including customer satisfaction levels
- Assess how you will make your QMS better over time
With so many components involved, it’s critical that you capture all areas of leadership. Each and every department within your business will need to contribute information. One of the ways in which businesses achieve ISO certification is by proving that they are a well-oiled machine – departments communicate with one another.
Each department head will need to provide documentation, share resources, and help to contribute to the policies and procedures.
Conduct Multiple Audits
When you run a business, you should be used to company audits. An audit can be conducted internally or externally. Either way, it should be an unbiased look at the way in which your organization operates.
To ensure you are on your way to meeting the various ISO standards, you will want to conduct an audit every few months. It will help you to highlight the areas that still need to be addressed. You can establish a checklist so that you know that you’re moving in the right direction.
With the help of an ISO consultant, you can also get feedback as to what needs to be done so that you can prepare for the final audit. The final audit is conducted by a certifying body. They’ll ensure that you have met all of the necessary standards in order for you to achieve your ISO 9001 certification.
Promoting Your Certification
The ISO certification can help you dramatically when you’re looking to promote your business. You can identify that you have met the standards on your website. You can also use it when you complete RFPs and more to show that you have a competitive edge.
Some organizations will verify the certification by contacting the registrar listed on the certificate. For this reason, you want to make sure that you have actually met the requirements. Further, you will want to make sure that you recertify every three years to maintain your certification.