The Unmistakable Value of an ISO 9001 Certification
ISO 9001 certification is the process whereby a firm that wants to prove their compliance with the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard, becomes certified. After completion, documented proof of compliance is attained.
People often talk about ISO 9000 certification. However, this is incorrect since ISO 9000 is the family of standards regarding quality management, while ISO 9001 is focussed on the setup of quality management systems and maintenance. ISO 9001 certification is thus about the design, development, and maintenance of an ISO 9001-compliant quality management system (QMS).
ISO 9001 is the standard against which your firm is evaluated to determine whether your QMS is efficient, relevant, and has improved according to the requirements of ISO 9001. Here, the focus is also on continual improvement.
Another myth that needs to be addressed is that ISO 9001 is a general management system. The truth is that it can be integrated with many of your existing management systems, but it is focussed on the management of quality. If you are looking for a standard that provides the requirements for commerce systems and business operations, then the ISO 26000 family of standards must be studied.
An ISO 9001 certification holds several important benefits for your firm, a few of which are discussed below.
Many trading partners are only willing to partner with ISO 9001-certified companies. Various international clients are not willing to buy from companies that have not undergone ISO 9001 certification. Clients and trading partners want assurance of quality. A firm that is ISO 9001-certified has proven that they are able to meet and exceed customer requirements regarding quality and consistency. Such a company is able to ensure ongoing customer satisfaction, which translates into a higher amount of return customers. With more customers retained, the firm saves money on marketing and efforts to find new customers.
The global business environment is exceptionally competitive. Your firm requires a competitive edge to stay successful, and an ISO 9001 certification can help you achieve this. Companies that have been certified are able to use certification as part of their marketing strategy. It shows customers that they have gone the extra mile to ensure quality. It also shows an ongoing commitment to quality management and consistency.
You cannot use the ISO logo in the marketing process, but you can stipulate that your firm has been ISO 9001-certified. Every recertification also adds a notch to your firm’s reputation, and certification can thus be seen as an investment in marketing as well. With such, you are able to expand your business and penetrate markets that were previously not open to your firm.
Let us not forget what ISO 9001 is about. Yes, certification provides your firm with proof of compliance, but quality improvement should be the focus, which is why you should setup and maintain an ISO 9001-compliant quality management system. With such a QMS in place, you ensure consistency in product quality and ongoing improvement. This helps to improve customer satisfaction, and can translate into more return customers. It also reduces costs related to product returns and replacements. With quality as an inherent feature of your firm, your brand image improves, as well as the value of your products and services.
Employees who have to deal with customer complaints about quality and consistency of service- or product delivery on a daily basis, lose their trust in their employer’s products and services. With improved quality, fewer complaints can be expected. This, in turn, helps to improve employee morale, translating into increased employee loyalty and the ability to retain valuable employees. A culture of quality and professionalism is created, which adds to your brand image.
Obtaining an ISO 9001 certification requires the proper documentation of processes. As such, you will gain a better understanding of the business processes, which will enable you to reduce bottlenecks and problems in the system. You learn more about your business and can thus streamline processes.
Records and other documentation regarding policies, procedures, and processes related to quality management, allow for a complete audit trail. As such, employees gain accountability for their roles in quality management. They have the required documents to consult, and because they are well-aware of policies and procedures, are properly trained, and are confident about the applicability of the procedures, they are more likely to see the value of such. With an audit trail available, it is easier to identify and correct problems that affect quality in the company.
Take the first step towards realising the above benefits. Let us help you prepare for ISO 9001 certification through our consulting services, training, templates, and audits.