ISO is an international body that co-ordinates industrial standards. There are numerous standards contained within the ISO family, each defining policies and procedures for a different area of industry. ISO 9001 refers specifically to Quality Management Systems.
ISO 9001 defines systematic processes that must be documented, followed, and reviewed, all in relation to a company’s quality management. Some of the documentation required for ISO 9001 certification include: Control of documents and records, identification and control of non-conforming product, Corrective and preventative measures recorded and implemented and an Audit of conformance to these standards undertaken annually.
The purpose of ISO 9001 certification is to keep a documented record of product quality and improvement procedures to ensure customer expectations are not only met but exceeded. Also, to ensure that an organisation’s processes are as efficient and effective as possible.
The ISO 9001 model is based on a cycle of Plan, Do, Check and Act. It starts by defining customer requirements and expectations. It then outlines the production procedures that will be used to ensure the quality goals and consistency of the product are maintained over time. ISO 9001 provides a set of guidelines around recording and documenting possible risks within the project parameters and keeping records of anything that does not go to plan, or any risks that are discovered in the process. It then outlines the review procedures for managing these risks and continually improving the process so that incidents do not occur.
ISO 9001 also sets guidelines for communicating processes and changes to team members so that improvements are implemented by all staff involved in an effective and efficient manner.
Finally, the standards set out a review schedule to ensure the continual development and improvement of all procedures and policies.
ISO 9001 certification is conducted by ISO accreditation certified companies, who work through the process of setting up the ISO management system requirements and audit the ongoing process and utilisation of the system. Once the accreditation certified company is satisfied with the evidence provided that the organisation is operating and correctly documenting their ISO systems, they will supply the company with an ISO certification.
To customers an ISO accreditation gives the assurance that their manufacturer is following proven Quality Management Procedures throughout the entire production process. All finished products will meet the highest possible quality standards.