What is ISO 9001?
Quality is something every company strives for and is often times very difficult to achieve. Complications concerning efficiency and quality present themselves everyday in business, whether an important document cannot be found or a consumer finds a product not up to their expectations. How can a company increase the quality of its products and services? The answer is ISO 9001.
As standards go, ISO 9001 is one of the most widely recognized in the world. ISO 9001 is a quality management standard that presents guidelines intended to increase business efficiency and customer satisfaction. The goal of ISO 9001 is to embed a quality management system within an organization, increasing productivity and ensuring quality of processes and products.
How does ISO 9001 work?
ISO 9001 is set up as a collection of guidelines that help a company establish, maintain, and improve a quality management system.
One important aspect of ISO 9001 is its process-oriented approach. Instead of looking at a company’s departments and individual processes, ISO 9001 requires that a company look at “the big picture.” How do processes interact? Can they be integrated with one another? What are the important aspects of products and services?
Once this process-oriented approach is implemented, various audits can be done as a check of the effectiveness of your quality management system.
However, this audit process cannot be viewed as impartial. Therefore, 3nd party audits allow for a consumer to evaluate the performance on an organization. In this case, an independent certification body comes into an organization and evaluates it in terms of the ISO 9001 guidelines. If an organization meets the requirements of the standard, it becomes certified in ISO 9001 and carries a seal of quality recognized throughout the world.
Why is ISO 9001 important?
The importance of ISO 9001 is the importance of quality. Many companies offer products and services, but it is those companies who put out the best products and services efficiently that succeed. With ISO 9001, an organization can identify the root of the problem, and therefore find a solution.
As a broad range of companies implement the ISO 9001 standards, a supply chain with integrity is created. Each company that participates in the process of developing, manufacturing, and marketing a product knows that it is part of internationally known, reliable system.
Not only do businesses recognize the importance of the ISO 9001, but also the customer realizes the importance of quality. And because the consumer is most important to a company, ISO 9001 makes the customer its focus.
Correcting Issues at Their Root Cause
Why is root cause analysis and systemic corrective action so important in management system standards, such as ISO 9001?
When problem solving, it is important to find the cause of problem in order to develop a solution. Sometimes, the most obvious cause is not the right one. This is why ISO 9001 stresses the importance of finding the root cause(s) of a problem. There may be multiple, subtle reasons why a process isn’t working correctly, and finding the actual causes will lead a company one step closer to a solution and implementation of corrective actions.
The goal of finding root causes is to improve the way problems are managed. Becoming adept in recognizing the root causes of a problem will lead to a reduced impact, a containment of error, and the prevention of recurrence. Identifying and correcting root causes will also lead to the reduction of unnecessary efforts which in turn will lower the cost of maintaining quality. As more and more corrective actions are taken, processes will become more stable, and continual improvement will face less interruptions.
ISO Certification vs ISO Compliant
The phrase ‘ISO Compliant’ gets used in the industry, what does it mean? Being ISO Compliant simply means you believe you meet a certain level or organization within your company. However, in reality, this does not mean anything or ensure any sort of real quality standard to the consumer.
When a company is truly ISO Certified it involves not only internal standards and auditing practices, but also involves a 3rd party organization who look over your ISO system and guidelines to ensure you meet a strict set of standards, insuring the best level of quality and standards for the consumer.