Businesses need a continuous improvement tool to sustain their position in the competitive markets and gain confidence of their stakeholders (including customers). The ISO 9001 certification is recognised as the supreme tool or benchmark for quality performance of businesses. It helps in developing and maintaining an appropriate quality management system (QMS) by specifying regulations or requirements for that. While obtaining the certification can prove to be a decisive strategy for your business and help you to exhibit your commitment to quality, the process calls for investment of costs, efforts and time.
Achieving ISO 9001 certification is worth all the time, efforts, and investments because of the potential advantages that it provides. From improving processes and internal efficiency to improving credibility with your customers, it assures a lot of positive growth for a business. If you are worried about how to get your business the ISO certification, here is a simple and quick guide for you.
Follow these key steps to prepare your business for the complex and challenging ISO certification process.
Decide the Approach
There are several approaches to get your business ready for ISO certification and most common ones are in-house preparation, hands-on consultation and hands-off consultation. In-house approach implies that you should do some research on your own, appoint a team internally who can plan everything step and step and manage the QMS according to ISO 9001 requirements. However, it becomes a quite slow process then and also you may conduct mistakes due to lack of enough understanding of the process. Get hands-on consultation by hiring quality assurance certification consultants who will be responsible for implementation of a QMS across your organisation meeting every requirement of ISO 9001 standard. On the other hand, if you prefer a more hands-off approach, it can be combination of the above two approaches where your internal team can be involved but they can also take guidance from expert consultants at every stage. According to your organisation’s size, processes, and competence of your employees, decides which approach is right.
Drafting and Documentation
Knowing the ISO 9001 requirements and then developing a QMS according to that is can be a complex task. Everything should documented so that employees involved with your organisation’s quality management processes can know their specific roles. Seeking expert consultancy is said to be necessary because that can help you to ace the documentation by providing you with an appropriate QMS template. They can also help you in drafting your QMS structure specifically in the context of your organisation, needs, processes and goals.
Carrying out QMS Implementation
The most vital stage in ISO certification preparation is implementation of the QMS exactly according to the documentation. The key to effective implementation is proper communication among members of your organisation. Your top management officials need to communicate about the ISO certification benefits, key regulations, and quality management practices that employees should strictly follow. Many employees can find the changes hard or challenging to accept and so simply asking them to follow everything may not work. You should initiate training or coaching sessions, instruct them, and make them familiar with documented QMS guidelines. Only when all your employees are well educated about certification advantages will they be eager about implementing the reformed QMS which can also successively improve their performance.
Evaluations and Audits
Once the implementation of QMS is properly done, it is time to evaluate whether it is continually meeting the objectives of certification i.e. helping in continuous quality improvement and satisfying your customers (as well as other stakeholders). Your organisation’s management team needs to review the new quality controls, procedural methods, employees’ performance, and outcomes to measure the effectiveness of the QMS. Simultaneously, conduct internal audits, either by in-house auditors or by appointing some auditing officials from an external agency. They can carefully inspect your QMS implementation and compare everything against ISO 9001 standard to find anything lacking or any noncompliance issues.
Internal auditing is a quite a straightforward and phase of certification where you can seriously establish whether all the ISO 9001 regulations are adhered by your QMS. In case of any noncompliance issue found, the auditors can recommend appropriate corrective actions. Finally, with internal auditing, you can achieve compliance and absolute readiness for your certification.
Final Take: Certification
The final step of ISO certification process is receiving the certification in pen and paper. For this, you need to have a reliable ISO certification registrar or body. They will personally visit your organisation, observe the work processes and how your company is functioning with new or reformed QMS. If everything of the QMS adheres to the ISO 9001 certification requirements according to their observation, your company will receive the certificate.
Once you are certified, make sure you do not fall out of maintaining its ISO compliance. Auditors from the body can visit once or twice a year to review your QMS, so keep improving it and prevent any nonconformity with latest requirements of the standard.
Whether you need a hands-on consultation or some related services to prepare your organisation for ISO certification, we can help. Compliancehelp is a trusted ISO certification consultancy guiding businesses in widespread industries to get their certification successfully in as little time as possible. Feel free to contact us.
Liked this blog? Keep visiting this section for more useful write-ups and guides on ISO certification.
Get connected with us on social networks!