In the world of global business, standardization is a must. As different countries have differing quality, labor, and organizational standards, these differences can lead to problems when entering business on a global scale. That is why organizations like The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) exist. ISO is a leading organization in standardization and offers multiple certifications that businesses can earn. One such certificate is ISO 9001.
ISO 9001 is a certificate that focuses on an organization’s quality management system (QMS). The Certification focuses on ten clauses that range from organization leadership to company support and operation. If an organization meets all requirements of the ten clauses, then it can receive the ISO 9001 certification.
The Certification Process
To receive an ISO 9001 certification, a company will have to undergo several audits and reviews. First, the company wishing for certification goes through an internal audit to check the processes of their QMS. This audit should inform company leaders of any weaknesses or shortcomings of their QMS processes compared to the ISO 9001 requirements. Next, a management review is conducted to assess the systems used by management. Again, this is done to discover any shortcomings. Finally, the company then corrects any flaws and documents those corrections.
After the process of self-auditing and evaluation, the organization can apply for an ISO 9001 certificate. The certification process is conducted in two separate audits. The first audit will review the company’s documentation to ensure that requirements are met. The second is a more extensive and more comprehensive audit. This audit conducted by certification representatives is conducted over company practices, documents, and records. The auditors compare these criteria and ensure that they comply with the standards for an ISO 9001 certificate. This certificate is renewed annually.
Are ISO Certifications a Must?
In specific industries, global commerce cannot or will not be conducted without ISO certification. Other industries are less strict, but many global consumers will not do business with anyone not certified. ISO certification is a powerful statement in global industries that the certified organization is committed to high-quality standards and the best business practices.
What Happens if the ISO Standards Change?
Occasionally, ISO standards have been subject to updates and changes. Companies, organizations, and corporations that are ISO certified must change to account for new ISO standards when these changes occur. An example of this is the ISO 9001 certificate. In 2015, the ISO 9001 standards were changed and updated from the 2008 certificate. This update included some changes to the terminology of the certification and some updated standards. Some of these updated standards dealt with leadership structures, improved integration with other ISO processes, and focused on risk-based thinking.
As changes or updates occur in the ISO standards, companies have a transition period to comply with the new certification. For ISO 9001-2015, the transition period lasted three years.
ISO 9001-2015 is the most current rendition of the certification. This certificate details that whatever organization that holds it uses the best QMS processes. Also, this certification stands as a testament to a company’s dedication to improved business and practices year after year. There is a reason that many industries require ISO 9001 certification. It is because this type of standardization across global companies improves the overall quality and trust of international commerce.