Developed over 50 years ago, the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, began as the first major step toward a fully integrated global economy. Seeing the impending economical merging of all countries, the initial group made up of representatives from 25 countries began laying the foundation of what is now considered the highest standards for businesses to use. Be it environmental, manufacturing or management, their professionals are continually writing the guidebooks that countless companies all over the globe seek to adhere to. With ISO certification, clients can be certain the companies they partner with have standards set at a global level.
ISO 9001 certification traces its beginning back to the 1987 premier of ISO 9000 which was itself based on standards set forth by the United States Department of Defense in 1959. The genre is related to quality management, and 9001 specifically outlines the criteria needed to be met for such a system. Its last iteration appeared in 2008, but the next will make its debut at the end of this year.
Adoption is typically based on a wide variety of factors. The most common is that major purchasers require suppliers to have certification if they are to do business together. Apart from this, those that have ISO 9001 certification have shown significant improvement in growth and customer retention, proving that it is a worthwhile investment to make. The jump from 450,000 certified companies to over one million in a span of 11 years further backs this up. Finally, new companies find it to be an incredibly efficient way to lay managerial groundwork that will help their business reach and exceed projections.
In order to keep certification unbiased, ISO does not perform any of them. They are solely responsible for writing the material. Interestingly enough, however, they do provide their approval to various third parties that can provide certification. Their approval is known as the CASCO standards. This means that when you seek out a third party, it should be accredited and adhere to CASCO. In terms of accreditation, third parties do not have to be accredited, however such a denotation means said party has been confirmed as a reliably competent body.
Once you have your third party chosen, you must now begin the process of gearing your company to fit the standards set forth within the ISO 9001 manual. It will all be laid out for you in list form, meaning all you have to do is go through each step and make sure your company adheres to each requirement. For some, this means an entire overhaul while for others, only small tweaks. Once you are ready, the third party will come in to perform their audit, assessing your understand of the guide with their understanding. They will point out all faults they come across and provide you a specified amount of time to fix these. This is generally around six months. They will return on the appointed day to check your progress. If nothing has been fixed, you have to start the process all over again. If you have fixed everything, you will be awarded certification. This means you can now promote to your customers and potential clients you hold ISO 9001:2008 (soon to be ISO 9001:2015) certification. Though the logo is restricted, you can reach out to ISO to try and obtain authorization.
ISO 9001 certification is a guarantee to your company and your clients that you are dedicated to continuing proven management practices to form lasting relationships both inside and outside the office. With proven, effective results, 9001 is proving to be a worldwide catalyst moving businesses toward unified standards that make communication and trade that much easier. While the new standards have yet to be seen, they will no doubt push the boundaries of success even further. All in all, 9001 is the way you learn how to connect your business to the greater web of global industry