This article sums up the tips to maintain the ISO 9001 certification of your business once you have achieved it by implementing a QMS (Quality Management System).

Achieving ISO 9001 which is the world’s top-level quality assurance certification is a strategic priority of most businesses today. It helps them to implement a structured Quality Management System (QMS) to assure the quality of products/services. Apart from that, a QMS makes way for cost-optimization in the business by removing inefficiencies, reducing errors, eliminating redundancies, and enhancing employee productivity.

However, businesses achieving the certification must keep in mind that it is not a one-time process or achievement for them. To ensure that their business continuously benefits from the certification, they need to maintain its compliance. They need quality assurance services from an expert agency to maintain their certification. Besides, these are a few golden rules that will help them maintain the compliance of your business with ISO 9001.

5 Tips to Maintain Compliance with the ISO 9001 Quality Assurance Standard in the Long Run

Follow the PDCA Methodology

The first tip that ISO itself suggests to organizations for maintaining compliance is adopting the PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) methodology. This model continues in a cycle and helps organizations in managing change, improving processes, and solving problems.

In the context of ISO compliance maintenance, the first step of the model involves the ‘Plan’. It means the setting of specific objectives of the QMS that you wish to achieve at the time and deciding how to achieve them. The second step is ‘Do’ which means you should implement what you have planned. The third step is ‘Check’ when you need to measure the impacts in your processes/results from the implemented actions. The last step is ‘Act’ when you need to take necessary actions to mitigate any recognized issues in processes and improve their performance.

Perform Internal Audits

Apart from the ongoing PDCA cycle, what most organizations need to do is perform periodic internal audits. They are systematic and detailed on-site assessments of the processes, employee roles, documents, and the QMS. The audits can be performed by a few selected members (having the skills of assessment) or by an external third party. Through the audit procedure, you can identify the problems in your current processes and QMS. Thus, you can determine the actions required for resolving the processes and improving them.

Provide Training to Employees

Also, to maintain the compliance of your company, you need to keep employees in the loop. They must be provided training on regular basis and made aware of the latest requirements. To make the training programs effective, you need to plan them after evaluating the lack of skills in the employees. In other words, you should have a systematic approach to boost the competence of your organization regarding compliance with ISO 9001 requirements.

Control Your Suppliers

It may seem a daunting task, but you need to approach it for ensuring that your organization maintains compliance consistently. Regarding this too, you need a structured approach and need to ensure that all information regarding compliance requirements is conveyed properly to the suppliers and outsourcing partners. You should assess the supplier processes and make sure they are complying with the requirements.

Assess Customer Satisfaction

You know that customer focus is one of the inherent principles of the ISO 9001 standard. Thus, to make sure your business remains compliant with the standard, keep up the level of customer satisfaction. There are many ways to ensure that. You should conduct surveys and collect feedback to perceive their preferences and needs. You should also regularly go through the complaints of the customers and respond to them in as quick time as possible.

By following these tips and consulting with a quality assurance services provider, you can assure to maintain your certification. Maintaining compliance is not only a necessity for the certification but also adds value to your business by driving overall improvement. From consistent fine-tuning of processes to skill improvement of workers, suppliers’ compliance to improved customer satisfaction, all these are essential value-additions that your business gets by maintaining compliance with the ISO 9001 certification.

Author's Bio: 

Damon Anderson is the head consultant at a reputed ISO-certified consultancy that assists businesses in their journeys through quality assurance services such as gap analysis, internal audit, and documentation. Being certified themselves, they can better guide through the complexities of the certification procedures. He is an article writer in his free time and likes to talk about his knowledge and expertise in the field for 15 years.

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