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ISO 9001 Certification : Getting Certified

With the right preparation and a good understanding of what is required for ISO 9001 certification, most organisations can expect to achieve certification within 3 to 6 months depending on their size and complexity.

At this stage it is vital to have someone (internal or external) who has experience of implementing quality management systems and who knows what is needed to achieve ISO 9001 accreditation.

Once the groundwork has been done and the ISO 9001 Quality Manual completed, you will be ready for your first assessment.

The assessor will check that your written quality management systems match what you are actually doing and make any recommendations for change that may be needed.

Once the changes have been carried out you will then be ready for the actual audit that is carried out to the ISO 9001 standard by an independent 3rd party, accredited certification body.

Quick guide for the achieving ISO 9001 certification
Your organisation should have a clear idea of your objectives and what benefits it will gain by achieving ISO 9001. You have to be prepared to incorporate the quality management systems into every area of the business.

You will need to establish what measurement you will use to check on how well you are following your quality policy.

All of your staff must be aware of what is expected of them and where their areas of responsibility lie to achieve ISO 9001 certification.

A documented system will be needed to describe the organisations quality system together with the policies and procedures required by ISO 9001.

Organisationís ISO 9001 champion
It is important to make one person within the organisation responsible for ISO 9001 implementation.

They should be at senior management level with the authority to make decisions and take the necessary action to get the job done.

Management of documentation
You will need to communicate to all of your staff, the importance of keeping records and using the correct documentation.

Controlling the use of documents to ensure the latest version is being used is an important part of ISO 9001 auditing. You will need a robust system to ensure that old versions are removed and new versions distributed to the various internal departments together with a numbering system for version control.

You need to identify which records need to be kept to comply with the requirements of your ISO 9001 audit and what you need to successfully run the business.

Corrective and preventive measures
Inevitably, processes can go wrong and you will need to have a defined process for fixing the problem and identifying where it went wrong before making changes to stop it happening again.

You should keep a record of any actions you have taken to rectify a problem. Where possible you should identify potential problem areas and set up a system to prevent or minimise their effect before it happens.

On-going support and training
Staff should be suitably trained to ensure they are capable of carrying out their job function. You must keep records of past experience, education and training to identify their capabilities.

Future training requirements can then be implemented together with any new skills that may be needed as the business evolves.

Using this information you will be able to identify any gaps in experience if you install new equipment or add new products.

Regular Quality ISO 9001 Auditing
Regular Internal Quality Auditing of your own system is required. Persons within your organisation who are independent of the function being audited can carry this out.

The auditor will check that are being followed and will identify any areas of concern that will have to be rectified.

You must have a procedure for how audits are to be planned, carried out and recorded.

ISO 9001 : 2008

ISO 9001 Certification Consultant

Benefits of ISO 9001

Some of the benefits to your organisation:
  • Provides senior management with an efficient management process
  • Sets out areas of responsibility across the organisation
  • Mandatory if you want to tender for some public sector work
  • Communicates a positive message to staff and customers
  • Identifies and encourages more efficient and time saving processes
  • Highlights deficiencies
  • Reduces your costs
  • Provides continuous assessment and improvement
  • Marketing opportunities
Some of the benefits to your customers:
  • Improved quality and service
  • Delivery on time
  • Right first time attitude
  • Fewer returned products and complaints
  • Independent audit demonstrates commitment to quality