What is ISO 9001 and How Can Your Organisation Benefit from Implementation of the Standard?
ISO 9001 forms part of the ISO 9000 series of standards focused on quality management. ISO 9001 is applied throughout all industries, regardless of the sizes of companies operating in various sectors of the economy. Adoption of ISO 9001 for the setting up, implementation, and maintenance of a quality management system (QMS) is voluntary and certification is also not required. The standard provides a framework for establishing a QMS that can be integrated with existing management systems within the organisation. It doesn’t state how the organisation should manage quality, but it does provide the framework for what the organisation should do. This is important, as the generic nature of the standard allows for wider adoption throughout industries. It provides for a process approach, which makes it possible to link and integrate the ISO 9001-compliant QMS with the rest of the processes in the organisation.
Benefits of ISO 9001 Certification
Though not compulsory, certification holds several benefits for the organisation. To get certification, the organisation must comply with certain requirements and undergo a certification audit by an accredited certification body. Though the process of certification may seem tedious, if done right, and with the assistance of WWISE, as experts in preparation for ISO 9001, the organisation will be able reap the benefits of ISO 9001 compliance, some of which are briefly discussed below.
Improvement in Customer Satisfaction Levels
An organisation that opts for certification solely to satisfy the demand of one or two large clients who only want to conduct business with ISO 9001-certified companies doesn’t understand the real focus of the standard. Certification shouldn’t just be for the paper evidence. It should be for ongoing improvement in quality and the way in which the organisation does business and manages its processes and endeavours to meet quality requirements of customers. Certification shows that the organisation has passed the necessary audits indicating its commitment to meet specific quality management standards. As part of compliance, the organisation must commit to continual improvement in its quality management and this, in turn, helps to improve customer satisfaction.
With increased customer satisfaction comes the benefit of more return customers, higher sales volumes, and fewer complaints. Satisfied customers become loyal supporters of the brand and spread the positive message about the company. The customers benefit from consistency in quality and because they know that the organisation adheres to a certain level of quality, they gain confidence in the organisation and keep supporting it.
Improvement in Business Income
With ISO 9001 certification, the organisation gains documented evidence of its commitment to quality. Many international companies want trade partners that are ISO 9001-certified. As such, the organisation gets a competitive edge in the marketplace over peers not having ISO 9001 certification. The organisation can use the information as part of their marketing campaigns and thereby be able to get more business revenue and new clients. Some markets are only accessible if the organisation has the required certification.
Improvement in Quality
An underlying objective of ISO 9001 is to ensure ongoing improvement in quality. An organisation cannot get certification once-off and then allow quality to slip. The standard is about ongoing improvement and the organisation must have the required processes, policies, procedures, and measures in place to ensure ongoing improvement. We assist with the maintenance plan, which includes management reviews, to ensure continual improvement, allowing for re-certification at the required intervals. A well-planned QMS, correctly implemented, provides a firm foundation for quality improvement.
Better Communication of the Various Processes within the Organisation
One of the requirements of the standard is that of proper documentation of the QMS. It also requires communication of the requirements, policies, procedures, and processes to be followed throughout the organisation. Every employee thus understands their role in quality management. Top- and middle-level management must communicate the QMS performance goals to all employees. This ensures a coherent effort in quality improvement.
Improvement in Skills Levels and Morale of Workers
Employees receive clear statements of the organisation’s objectives regarding quality and the they receive accurate and clear job descriptions. They know exactly what to do and because training in quality and understanding of ISO 9001 forms an integral part of implementation of an ISO 9001-compliant QMS, the skills levels of employees are improved. This helps to improve performance and because the performance can be measured against specific benchmarks, the employees have incentive to perform. At the end of the day, the organisation benefits from having skilled, accountable employees who are focused on providing quality service.
Improvement in Consistency
Any variations in quality, production methods, and processes will lead to additional costs, returned goods, and lower levels of customer service. Consistency in weight and product appearance and performance is important to ensure customer confidence in the organisation’s products. Wastage because of inconsistencies leads to having to remanufacture products or redo tasks. It also relates to the cost of replacement of products or having to perform a service again. This, in turn, translates into additional costs to the organisation and at the end of the day, lower profits. With the implementation of an ISO 9001-compliant QMS, more and better control is gained over processes. Clear objectives are set and proper metrics are in place for measuring performance. It also means having clear instructions and consistent procedures to guarantee specific outcomes. A well-planned, -implemented, and -maintained QMS guarantees this.
Keeping the Organisation Focused
How many times do people plan and never execute their plans? How often does it happen that an entrepreneur writes a business plan, but doesn’t keep to the goals? It is easy to lose focus, even if it is a large organisation. For employees, it is even easier when they are not reminded of the overall objectives of the organisation. More often than not, smaller companies start out well, but soon the quality of products and service decreases. It is simply because there are no clear quality objectives and proper and relevant metrics and procedures in place to keep the top-level management and all the employees focused. With the implementation and maintenance of an ISO 9001 QMS, there are clear objectives, metrics, control, procedures, and maintenance processes to ensure that the focus doesn’t deviate from the objectives set for quality management.
Let WWISE help your organisation, regardless of size, to become and stay ISO 9001 compliant, to ensure that your company can reap the benefits of consistency and ongoing improvement in quality.