What does ISO 9001 certification represent and what is it for?
Already more than a million companies around the world have ISO 9001 certification. Synonymous with demanding standards, robust processes, qualified teams, and high-end equipment, it is by far the most sought-after quality standard. But what does it represent? Find out what this quality label consists of, what the conditions are, the advantages, and the limits.
What is ISO 9001 certification?
ISO 9001 certification is an international quality standard proving a company’s ability to provide products and services based on best management practices. The acronym “ISO” comes from the word isonomy, synonymous with equality, and aims to bring together several conditions applicable to processes, aimed at guaranteeing that the result presents a consistent quality.
Unlike other existing certifications, most of which are military, ISO 9001 is focused on customer satisfaction and process management. The criteria have been tested in different industries for decades and have been incorporated into the basis of any effective quality management system.
This was the objective of creating the ISO 9001 certification after the Second World War: to unify the quality standards of all types of industry, throughout the world. Today, more than 70 years after its creation, 180 countries have subscribed to the established rules, making this standard an excellent calling card for globalization.
But ISO 9001 certification didn’t stop there. Since its creation, it has been constantly improved, as recommended by its mission, and its scope has also been extended. Quality assurance has evolved to gradually include all industrial processes, from the project phase, through development, production, and assembly, to the actual provision of the service and its monitoring.
Contrary to what one might think, this certification does not only concern control or reaction processes in the event of failure. Indeed, it particularly focuses on preventive actions, which anticipate errors and introduce quality control throughout the process and not just at the end. Little extra: particular attention is paid to the responsibility for better management, the standard recognizing quality training as a professional asset. In the future, more reformulations, developments, and improvements are planned, as can be expected from the very nature of the certification.
What are the Terms & conditions for obtaining ISO 9001 certification?
ISO 9001 requires a company to address seven key areas – also known as clauses – to achieve an effective quality management system. These areas concern organization, leadership, planning, support, operations, performance evaluation, and continuous improvement.
For example, at the operations level, quality conditions and objectives must be set for all products or services. Production processes must be detailed with the steps necessary for their execution and a documented monitoring, control, and testing routine must be put in place to guarantee quality. The standard goes so far as to require rules for the creation and storage of processes and evidence of controls performed.
On the other hand, at the organizational level, companies must determine the factors – both internal and external to their activity – that affect the quality of their services. It is also necessary to identify stakeholders in the operation of the company, such as employees, suppliers, and customers, and list their expectations and objectives. The list continues for each department.
What are the advantages of ISO 9001 certification?
ISO 9001 certification is not just theoretical. It is a valuable resource for business management, which involves real profits.
Increase in revenue
Many companies require their suppliers to have ISO 9001 certification to apply for new contracts. Anyone who does not have it therefore risks missing out on a market. In addition, this certification is a strong indicator of management that values the quality of processes, which helps to win more contracts and establish partnerships.
Greater customer confidence
More than a product or service at a good price, customers look for quality and even prefer to pay more if real benefits are observed. Companies of questionable quality do not enjoy a positive image in the market and are not popular with consumers. The ISO 9001 label provides security and confidence that companies meet quality conditions.
Since ISO 9001 certification is international, its benefits go beyond borders. It is a way of opening the doors to any type of negotiation with companies around the world. Although each country has its version of the ISO 9001 standard, it is internationally valid and recognized. Therefore, companies with the ambition to extend their activity to other countries must direct their efforts with the aim of obtaining this certification.
The ISO 9001 standard, by its nature, guides processes in the direction of effectively responding to the expectations, needs, and interests of customers. A company that follows these principles will appeal to domestic and international customers. Satisfied customers are repeat customers, an essential factor for growth.
Better positioning on the market
Obtaining ISO 9001 certification is not easy. The list of conditions to meet, processes to review, and training to provide is long. This is why associating your company with this label is equivalent to demonstrating. Towards market your commitment to continuous improvement. The message of responsibility is important to gain a competitive advantage and place your business on the same level. As companies around the world follow the same quality standards.
What are the limits of ISO 9001 certification?
Any company, regardless of its sector or size, can benefit from ISO 9001 certification. However, there are certain challenges to overcome. Starting with the duration of the process itself: fulfilling all the conditions of the ISO 9001 standard takes time. Simply studying and understanding these conditions can be complicated. Especially for newer companies that have not yet implemented a quality management system.
ISO for Larger Companies
larger companies, the process of implementing a new quality management system that complies with ISO 9001 standards can be lengthy. In some cases, it takes several years for it to be fully compliant. Even with the involvement of the entire company.
It is also necessary to take into account that the ISO 9001 standard was initially created for manufacturing. Despite its evolution over the years to integrate other industries. Many service providers face difficulties when adapting the conditions to their reality.
The implementation of the ISO 9001 standard will hardly bring quick wins. However, this is also one of its great advantages: the objective is to help the company improve over time.