ISO 9001 – To Template or Not to Template?

Should you use a template to get ISO 9001 certification?

This can be a tricky question, especially if you’ve received advice from a well-meaning ISO 9001 certification consultant or auditor who thinks ISO 9001 can be reduced to a simple template.

But in reality, compliance to ISO 9001 is meant to be uniquely tailored to your business. Using a template suggests your business is just like every other business out there. But it isn’t, is it?

You have your way of purchasing, controlling records, approving, using and storing documents, choosing suppliers, staff, materials, and so on.

So, a template doesn’t really make sense.

The discussion will be clearer when you learn important information about the ISO 9001 standard:

• ISO 9001 is a worldwide standard for a quality administration system or QMS, and a piece of the larger ISO 9000 family.
• ISO 9001 is a major standard and can be achieved in the form of certification.
• People can’t get ISO 9001 certified, businesses or organisations get certified.
• However, people can get certified to become an ISO 9001 certified lead auditor, which allows them to review different organisations.
• The size of the organisation doesn’t make a difference, it can be tiny or very large.
• ISO 9001 is a general standard for quality management – it doesn’t make a difference what industry you’re in.
• ISO 9001 is a procedure centered norm instead of an item engaged norm. It isn’t intended to characterise item quality, however, if your procedure is up to standard, your item ought to be as well.

Moreover, it’s not the intent of the ISO 9001 standard to standardise business to the point where everyone does business the same way. Instead, ISO 9001 standardises what you do well, or your success recipe, and ensures your employees comply with the QMS.

Why do you need a tailored system rather than a template?

To answer this question, you should learn about the main requirements of the ISO 9001 Standard.

To achieve ISO 9001, you need to execute a QMS, as indicated by the latest ISO 9001 standard. The outcome is a certification that will need to be updated or recertified periodically.

Other mandatory requirements of ISO 9001 include:

• Device evaluation and measurement
• Training, skills, experience, and qualification records
• Product/service requirements review records
• Design and development output reviews, inputs, controls, and changes
• Characteristics of produced products or provided services
• Customer property records
• Production and provision change control
• Internal audit program
• Internal audit results
• Management review
• Results of corrective actions

Each organisation is unique and is run uniquely, showing that what your organisation does and produces is important, and your QMS must be personalized. Having a common template cannot each organisation is properly covered before the certification audit.

To get ISO 9001 certified, you need to:

• Construct and execute QMS as per the standards of the most recent ISO 9001 standard
• Allow a certified body or registrar to review and evaluate your QMS against the standard
• If the certification audit is successful, your business needs to be recertified after three years to ensure your business is continually following the ISO 9001 requirements, and incorporating any possible new standard changes

ISO 9001 includes a lot of value norms that must be effectively followed by certified organisations to ensure that every output is fit for circulation. While getting certified with ISO 9001:2015 is not a lawful requirement, it is strongly suggested for the most ideal strategic policies and results.

If you can achieve this with a template, then good for you!

But if you want an ISO 9001 quality system that fits your business, follows your growth, and is easy to audit, a template is the least efficient and costliest way to achieve ISO 9001 certification.

A reliable ISO 9001 certification consultant will always advise you to adopt a method tailored to your unique business nature and requirements.

But don’t take my word for it. Read what our happy clients say and decide for yourself if an ISO 9001 template is the way to go.