ISO 9001 Certification: Who Uses it and Why?
ISO 9001, an internationally accepted standard for quality management in business. It belongs to the family of ISO 9000 quality standards wherein it was established and is revised periodically by the International Standardization Organization. All the ISO 9000 standards are administered by international certification and accreditation bodies where ISO 9001 is among the most important standards in this category.
It has been specially designed so that it may be applied to any service, product, or process anywhere around the globe. ISO 9001 applies particularly to those processes which create and manage the services and products supplied by an organization. It requires that systematic control be maintained over all the business activities in order to make sure that the customers’ expectations and needs are met on time.
What is the Importance of ISO 9001 Certification?
Any organization or company, which has been certified and audited as conforming to the ISO 9001 standards is entitled to call itself as ‘ISO 9001 Registered’ or “ISO 9001 Certified” which guarantees the quality of the end product or the service offered to the end consumer. It certifies that the business processes which are involved in the production of the final product is formalized, and meets the ISO 9001 requirements. Although ISO 9001 was initially used only for manufacturing processes, it is now used widely across a wide range of industries, including the ever-growing IT industry.
The most important requirements under ISO 9001:2008 standard are as follows:
- Maintaining adequate records
- Monitoring business processes regularly to ensure their effectiveness
- Well-defined quality management procedures covering all the key business processes
- Assessing output periodically for defects and taking corrective actions, where necessary
- Facilitating continuous improvement
- Constantly evaluating quality system and the inpidual processes for effectiveness
The Evolution of ISO Standards
ISO 9001 has been revised a number of times since its introduction. A brief overview of the history of all four versions of ISO 9001 certification is as follows:
ISO 9001:1987 Version: This version was one of the 3 models of quality management systems included under ISO 9000:1987, and they had a structure similar to that of BS 5750 (UK standards). It was associated with the assurance of quality in production, servicing, installation, development, and design. ISO 9001: 1987 was meant primarily for those organizations and companies that were involved in the development of novel products. As it was derived from the existing defense standards of the U.S. and other countries (Mil SPECS), it was best suited to manufacturing industries. The foundation was laid more for compliance with the standard procedures than for the overall management process.
ISO 9001:1994 Version: This version of the standard focused more on taking preventive actions for quality assurance in business processes. According to the 1994 standards of ISO 9001, it is not enough to simply check the final product to ensure quality of the process involved in manufacturing it. Preventive action taken to improve processes right in the beginning can save a significant amount of money that would be otherwise spent on eliminating or correcting the defects in the end product. However, like the older version, the 1994 version also required the organization to provide substantial evidence to prove that their processes complied with the ISO 9001:1994 standards. The 1994 version corrected the disadvantage of the 1987 version illuminating the need for organizations to create a shelf-load of many procedure manuals and ISO bureaucracy.
ISO 9001:2000 Version: This version combined the requirements of all 3 models – 9001, 9002 & 9003 – under one model, named 9001:2000. It introduced the ‘process management’ concept in order to bring about a revolutionary change in thinking with regards to the quality management systems in businesses. Process management referred to the optimizing and monitoring of the activities and tasks of a company, rather than merely evaluating the quality of the final product. This version also demanded active involvement by top-management to ensure quality systems were well integrated into business processes. ISO 9001:2000 also aimed to use a process performance matrix in order to improve the effectiveness of the processes. The main goal defined in this particular version included regular tracking of customer satisfaction and continuous process improvements.
ISO 9001:2008 Version: This version was released only to clarify the existing ISO 9001:2000 requirements. No new requirements, as such, were added to the 2008 version. Nevertheless, a few minor details were added to increase consistency with the ISO 14001:2004 standards.
Who Uses ISO 9001 Certification?
Today, almost every organization in a wide range of industries is using the ISO 9001 systems to optimize their processes. A large variety of institutions, ranging from professional Mexico soccer teams to the United Kingdom’s city councils, have already implemented the ISO 9001 systems successfully. The ISO 9001 quality standard is abstract and generalized. Therefore, to ensure that it makes sense when implemented in an organization, it is necessary to interpret it carefully. Various sectors have now standardized their particular interpretations of the ISO 9001 guidelines to ensure smooth functioning within the industry. The following are a few instances of the industry-specific standards that have been derived from ISO 9001:
The TickIT: Software development and IT industry; developed by UK Board of Trade.
AS 9000: It refers to the quality standards of the Aerospace industry. Some of the most popular manufacturers following these standards include McDonnell D., GE Aircraft engines, Rockwell Collins, Pratt & Whitney, etc.
PS 9000: Applies mainly to the pharmaceutical packaging industry.
QS 9000: Commonly followed by automotive manufacturers worldwide.
Benefits of ISO 9001 Implementation – Why Use ISO 9001 Certification?
Organizations usually look for ISO 9001 certifications for a number of reasons. Some of the main reasons why the majority of the organizations today seek to get registered under ISO 9001 are as follows:
This certification improves the image of the company to employees, customers, and shareholders. This leads to customer satisfaction and loyalty, greater employee retention, and greater reliability.
Having ISO 9001 certified processes offers the organization a great competitive edge and helps the company to achieve sustainable growth in the future.
Getting registered under ISO 9001 by an accredited body reflects the company’s mission to serve customers with quality, efficiency, and determination.
It reflects the fact that the company has effective quality management systems, which satisfies the requirements of any external audit.
ISO 9001 international standards for quality management within an organization are vital, as they not only increase profits by creating effective operations, but also enhance marketing and international trade.