ISO 9001 certification is the first step for a company towards success through improved customer service, better staff motivation and consistent improvements. This article delves into the important principles of ISO 9001 certification.
The ISO 9000 group of quality management systems consist of standards that enable companies to elevate performance, meet stakeholder needs and achieve regulatory compliance. While ISO 9001 is arguably the best-known standard of the ISO 9000 group, you’ll find that the ethos which underpins ISO 9000 runs through a variety of other standards, such as ISO 13845, which provides sector-specific application of ISO 9001 to the production of medical devices.
As one of the most important and esteemed international standards, ISO 9001 is highly valued by businesses, stakeholders and customers. To understand why, take a look at the seven key principles behind ISO 9001 now:
According to ISO 9001’s latest revision, ‘The primary focus of quality management is to meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations.’ By doing so, you can deliver increased value, enhance customer satisfaction, gain customer loyalty, expand your customer base and build your reputation.
Although most businesses assume that they put customers at the forefront of their decisions, this is rarely the case. With an emphasis on customer focus, ISO 9001 helps companies embed a customer-first approach and acknowledge the importance of understanding customer needs, expectations and experiences.
Effective leadership is a critical element of success, so it’s not surprising that it’s a key principle in the ISO 9001 handbook. To meet the requirements of ISO 9001, leaders at all levels should have a unified purpose and direction, and ensure people are engaged in fulfilling the organisation’s goals.
Improving leadership naturally leads to better performance, faster results, enhanced communication and a happier workforce, which means many commercial benefits associated with achieving ISO 9001.
Your workforce is arguably your most valuable asset, but you need to keep staff motivated and engaged if you want to get the best out of them and cultivate a healthy, inspiring working environment.
Businesses might improve communication streams, increase cross-team collaborations, facilitate open discussions and/or empower workers to take on a more active role in decision-making to meet the requirements of this key ISO 9001 principle.
When a process, team or department are examined in isolation, it doesn’t provide an accurate representation of their role or impact within the company as a whole. By taking a process approach, however, activities are assessed in context and as part of a cohesive system.
This allows improvement requirements to be quickly identified and ensures that resources are allocated where they are most needed. Additionally, taking a process approach ensures company-wide consistency and increases the predictability of outcomes, thus reducing risks throughout decision-making.
Businesses that continually strive to improve their operations and outputs are typically the ones that achieve the most success. When undergoing ISO 9001 training, you’ll find that a focus on improvement is a key part of achieving ISO 9001 certification, and there are many reasons why.
A commitment to improvement allows you to maintain your current standards, but it also allows you to adapt to internal and external changes that could affect your operations or your target audience. Moreover, continual improvement will enable you to transition to better processes and nurtures a sense of innovation throughout the company. As a result, your workforce and brand will be ready and willing to adapt to regulatory, societal and environmental changes and enhance its profitability despite macro and micro evolutions.
Business owners and managers are used to making decisions, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that process is simple or straightforward – or successful.
All too often, decisions are made based on gut instinct, top-level analysis or subjective experience. While this can sometimes have successful results, it elevates the level of risk involved and increases the chance of unwanted outcomes.
In contrast, evidence-based decision-making involves greater objectivity and analysis, with less room for error or unverified opinion. Often, businesses choose to formalise their decision-making processes when transitioning to evidence-based decision-making, which adds further benefits, such as clarity and transparency.
Every business has a range of ‘interested parties’, such as vendors, suppliers or stakeholders. Managing your relationships with these parties is important to ensuring long and fruitful cooperation.
When you understand the needs and wants of your interested parties, you’re better able to respond to them and can negotiate agreements which have mutual benefits. In some instances, simply improving the way you communicate with these parties can have the desired effect, as it allows interested parties to access the information they need in a timely and convenient manner.
With knowledge-sharing, segmentation and analysis, businesses can identify interested parties and develop a strategy to enhance relationships in both the short and long-term. By doing so, shared objectives can be set, mutual goals realised, and better outcomes achieved.
If preparing to meet the requirements of a new standard seems overwhelming or complex, think again. Complying with ISO 9001 can transform your company’s performance and lead to direct enhancements in your financial performance. From increased efficiency and productivity to a more engaged workforce and content partners, there are a variety of benefits associated with ISO 9001 certification.
While you will need to develop and implement an ISO 9001-compliant quality management system (QMS) to achieve certification, companies can reap numerous benefits from implementing a first-class QMS. Achieving ISO 9001 certification could be one of the best ways to improve operational performance and boost your company’s profile.
To learn more, or to start planning your ISO 9001 certification audit now, talk to our friendly team today.