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ISO 9001:2008 Implementation Helps to Gain a Competitive Edge Internationally

Irrespective of the size of the organisation, the country in which it operates in or its main services and products, ISO 9001 is relevant. It is this characteristic that has led to widespread adoption of the standard across the globe, with it already implemented in well over 168 countries and by more than a million enterprises.

It is important to understand the requirements of ISO 9001:2008 to ensure proper implementation in compliance with the standard. ISO 9001 provides the framework for setting up, implementing and maintaining a Quality Management System within any type of organisation.

Although originally developed for improvement in quality and consistency thereof in the manufacturing industry, the standard has been widely adopted across all industries. It is generic enough to be applied to product or service delivery.

Quality management forms an integral part of modern organisations. Customers want and expect consistency in quality. The development of a quality manual to provide the necessary guidelines and requirements for delivering consistent quality in compliance with the implementation requirements of ISO 9001:2008 is therefore essential for certification.

Process Approach

The standard follows the process approach with the aim of continuous improvement in the quality of products and services. With consistency expected from compliant organisations, more and more international trading partners only do business with other ISO 9001 certified companies.

Easy to Integrate

The standard can easily be adopted alongside other ISO standards, including the ISO 14001, which is focused on the development of and environmental management system.

Transition to 2015 Version

With the introduction of ISO 9001:2015, companies that have become certified under the 2008 version have three years to make the transformation from the 2008 to 2015 standard, which is focused on leadership and risk management.

Why Companies Adopt the Standard

Enterprises that have adopted the standard have noted improvement in their quality, consistency in quality and more opportunities to trade with international business partners. They have also reported improved customer satisfaction levels, which translate into loyalty and customer retention benefits.

Adoption of the standard implies that the company is committed to quality and this instils confidence in customers and business partners regarding the company’s ability to deliver on their quality promises. The enterprise benefits from improved accountability of all employees, including top level management, quality consistency, ongoing improvement, higher morale among employees, process improvement and involvement of all employees. The above benefits help the company to grow its market presence and to gain and retain a competitive edge over competitors that have not yet adopted the standard.

Cost Savings

An ISO 9001 compliant QMS helps the firm to save on costs, as the expenses associated with faulty goods are reduced since fewer items are returned. Full integration of the QMS with other management systems helps the company to reduce the costs of administration related to compliance with the requirements of all the relevant ISO standards.

Why Certification?

Certification provides the enterprise with proof of its compliance. It also provides the organisation with incentives to ensure ongoing compliance. As said earlier, international trading partners prefer compliant firms and the certification helps the organisation to gain a competitive edge on the international market.

What is a GAP Analysis?

The GAP analysis is performed to determine areas in which the firm needs to make improvements or changes to ensure compliance with the requirements of ISO 2008. We, however, strongly recommend becoming ISO 9001:2015 certified, even if you have already implemented ISO 9001:2008. It will help you manage risks better and gain the benefits of improved involvement of the firm’s leaders. The new version doesn’t focus as much on the quality manual as the 2008 version, although documentation still plays an important role.

The results of the GAP analysis are used to provide a quote on the preparation for certification and actual certification. Once certified, it is still important to follow a maintenance plan for ongoing compliance. Such a plan includes management reviews and addressing of problem areas.

Training Needs

Internal audits are also important, as such help the firm to identify risk areas and to take corrective steps for ongoing compliance. Part of the preparation of ISO 9001:2008 implementation entails internal audits. For such, the relevant employees must attend training regarding the procedures of internal audits and how to lead auditing teams.

Training, as available from us at WWISE, includes everything from an overview and introduction, to ISO 9001 and the implementation thereof, internal audits and external audits. Training provides the employees with the necessary skills to perform audits, while such also gives them insight as to the requirements of ISO 9001:2008 and how to make the transition from the 2008 to 2015 version of the standard.