ISO 9001 Standard
ISO 9001 is by far the most popular of the ISO standards and the most frequently requested by customers, it is also a strong basis for the needs of other standards under the new format of ISO standards updates. ISO 9001 focuses on quality through the development of an effective Quality Management System (hereto referred to as QM) that is very much focused on good internal and customer communication, and that has good recordable processes that can deliver a high-quality product or service. This applies to any size of business in any industry and to all areas of the business from the development of a product (or service) to final delivery. Listed below are some of the benefits of this standard:
- Internationally recognised standard - as the most popular Quality Management standard in the world, this automatically makes it easier to open your business to overseas markets. Your overseas customer will be assured of the quality of the business and its products or service
- Improve your business through improved working practices - by looking at all aspects of the business through having a QM in place the strengths and weaknesses of the company will be highlighted. The strengths can be built upon and the weaknesses can then be looked at and processes set up to combat these which should inevitably lead to savings in time and energy. After all, time is money!
- Demonstrate that you listen to your customers - Employees are encouraged to focus on the customer's needs and satisfaction with the product or service, through good communication, acting upon feedback and having the processes in place to deal with any complaints.
- Better documentation - With processes being documented then any problems can be seen and dealt with and to ensure that all work is recorded from start to finish.
- Strong leadership - as it is Senior Management's responsibility to create the QM, establish processes and objectives, communicate with staff and manage annual reviews, then this will ensure close involvement and commitment from Management.
- Involving and motivating employees - by encouraging feedback it shows employees that their opinion is of value and can lead to improved work practices. Teamwork will be encouraged
- Continuous improvement - by constantly looking at ways to improve a product or service then this enables the business to keep up with its competitors and aim to be ahead!
ISO 9001 Requirements
The ISO 9001 consists of eight sections (clauses) but where only five are mandatory - with the exception of the Product Realisation section, which does allow some leeway for a company to exclude sections that are not applicable. The five key elements are as follows:-
- QM (Quality Management System) sets out the necessary processes to ensure that through strong leadership and involvement of employees in the process that the goods or services are of continuing high quality and that there is improved customer focus
- Management Responsibility sets out the responsibility of management to ensure that a QM is put in place with Quality policy and Quality objectives, and where employees are made aware of these. Annual reviews need also to be carried out
- Resource Management sets out the need for a company to provide sufficient resources for the implementation of a QM including infrastructure in place, work environment and human resources, with emphasis placed on appropriate training and awareness
- Product Realisation sets out the processes involved to make sure that the client's requirements are known and followed from planning through to the finished product or service. It involves the inspection, testing and monitoring of the product and that stages are documented and stored
- Measurement, Analysis and Improvement sets out to measure customer satisfaction and continual monitoring of the product and processes in place, analyse the data to make any necessary improvements or to correct any reoccurring problems. This clause deals with the effectiveness of your QM.
The Certification Process for ISO 9001 will include
- Build and use management system
- Verification that processes are followed
- Document and analyse non-conformance
- Completion to customers satisfaction