Almost every business today sees ISO 9001 as the best quality assurance certification that helps to validate their efforts for quality management. Businesses thrive on consistency in performance, customer satisfaction, and delivering quality products or services. Having an organized and functional quality management system (QMS) is the key for a business to ensure consistency in all of these aspects and facilitate the best products or services for the customers.

While the need for a QMS in businesses is crucial and demanding, what does ISO 9001 certification mean? Certification will help the business with the implementation of the QMS, and it will ensure through documentation that the QMS is fully competent in improving product and service quality. The next section will explain the road to implementation and the maintenance of the certification for an organization.

Understanding the ISO 9001 Standard

To get your QMS aligned with the ISO 9001 requirements and achieve ISO 9001 certification, you need to understand the conditions of the standard. Speaking justifiably, you need professionally trained consultants to interpret the standard’s clauses and certification criteria for a business. You can contact an experienced quality assurance services agency that helps businesses with various management certifications. ISO 9001 has been adopted by many businesses all over the world because it comprises a vast set of requirements that suits the quality management aspects of many different industries. Therefore, you need some professional expertise to understand the ISO 9001 standard requirements for your QMS.

Documenting the QMS

The next big leap towards implementing the ISO 9001 standard is documenting the QMS, which is a management system that underlines the processes and practices that the organization should follow to deliver the best quality products or services. When it is about documenting the QMS, all you need is to mention, in writing, the processes, practices, and even the roles of certain executives in quality management. Documentation is required to present manual evidence of your QMS structure so that everyone in the organization, from top leaders to mid-level managers and executives, is officially directed to follow it.

Implementation

Following documentation comes the crucial stage of implementation. At this stage, the organization’s top management needs to provide training or induction to the members to ensure the QMS is put into action and consistently improves processes, customer expectations, and the services and products of the business.

Certification

When implementation is successful, the next step is to achieve certification. But, before that, an internal audit must be conducted to ensure your QMS fully complies with the ISO standard’s requirements. For an internal audit, you can either contact professional auditors from an agency or get a self-made team of skilled examiners within your organization to assess the QMS. Once they ensure the compliance of the QMS, you are ready to go! They will point out any non-conformities in the QMS that you can immediately correct, and auditing will assure that your QMS gets certified at the first attempt!

Maintenance

After getting certified, the QMS will need updates or changes to ensure it consistently meets the requirements of the business. As the products or services improve, customer preferences evolve, or processes in the business expand, the QMS needs to be modified accordingly. Also, the ISO 9001 standard may be updated, and the QMS should be in line with the new standard requirements. Thus, you need to perform surveillance audits periodically to ensure the QMS maintains its compliance with the ISO standard and also check whether it is properly operating to ensure good outcomes for the business.

While implementing a QMS that follows the requirements of ISO 9001 certification is needed for businesses to prove their commitment to quality, maintaining the certification is equally essential. Periodically checking the QMS to see whether it is working well is a major practice to sustain the highest quality assurance certification. The listed steps will ensure the certification process goes smoothly.

Author's Bio: 

Damon Anderson is a dedicated quality assurance certification consultant who has handled the ISO 9001 certification journey for numerous businesses. He is a senior practicing consultant at a quality assurance services agency that supervises ISO certification projects of big and small businesses, helping them maintain certification at lower costs.

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