Many companies still wonder whether it’s worth the time and effort to obtain ISO 9001:2015 certification.
What Does Becoming ISO 9001:2015-Certified Mean?
As with any regulated standard, it means proving to the certifying agency that your organization meets the rules and regulations of the standard and complies with its guidelines.
To pass the audit, your company must make a commitment to make the internal changes necessary to show you hold yourselves accountable to the standard. Becoming compliant the first time is likely the largest investment. Retaining certification requires less work, assuming your organization doesn’t create non-conforming situations since the last certification.
Do We Have to Become ISO 9001:2015-Certified to Reap Benefits?
Actually, no, your company doesn’t have to become certified. You are welcome implement the 9001:2015 standard’s requirements to drive improvement and manage risk at any time and level you choose.
However, your customers may require you meet certain standards to be one of their suppliers. While you may simply state your company is compliant, your customers may still ask for evidence or choose to audit you. Having multiple customers audit your organization through the year will cost time and resources to produce the same evidence for each one. The cost of going through the official certification process is likely to be less.
If your organization has become truly compliant, then certification should be a simple next step.
What Are the Benefits of Being Certified?
If your company has taken the time to become compliant, then getting certified can have the following immediate benefits:
- You can easily prove compliance to customers and other interested parties.
- You may use the fact that your company is certified in your marketing materials.
- Many companies are now demanding that their suppliers are certified to ISO standards. You may become an eligible supplier to a more customers and in more industries.
- The ISO organization has published a document with facts and figures of the financial benefits companies have received worldwide from conforming to ISO standards, especially 9001: ISO Standards: What’s the Bottom Line?
The standard itself says (on page iv) “The potential benefits to an organization of implementing a quality management system based on this International Standard are:
- the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements;
- facilitating opportunities to enhance customer satisfaction;
- addressing risks and opportunities associated with its context and objectives;
- the ability to demonstrate conformity to specified quality management system requirements.”
One caution: The ISO 9001:2015 standard does not certify the quality of a product or service. Rather, it attests that a company has fully documented company quality-control processes and consistently adheres to them. If that’s done, quality products and services generally follow.
Does the ISO 9001:2015 Standard Apply Only to Certain Industries or Companies of a Minimum Size?
The standard states, “All the requirements of this International Standard are generic and are intended to be applicable to any organization, regardless of its type or size, or the products and services it provides.”
If your company is new or has just a few people, it might still make sense to start to develop the company’s processes to comply with this standard as much as possible, even if you don’t plan to pursue certification for a while. Doing so will help you manage the complexities that come with growth across these quality management principles that are the focal point of the standard:
- Customer focus
- Engagement of people
- Process approach
- Evidence-based decision making
- Relationship management.
Good business reasons for becoming ISO 9001:2015 are:
- Your customers demand it.
- It can substantially improve and strengthen your company.
- It helps clarify the goals, roles, and responsibilities of your employees, which increases cooperation and reduces conflict.
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