If you’re thinking of going down the route of ISO 9001 Quality Management, there are two crucial points to remember. It takes work to achieve ISO 9001 certification – and it takes work to maintain it. And that’s precisely the point of having it!
If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, which kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think? ISO certification is intended to be a point of difference over your competitors, so the hard work is well worth it.
To clarify, ISO 9001 concerns Quality Management. Achieving certification proves that your organisation consistently produces quality goods or services, that are fit for purpose and meet customer expectations.
A properly implemented Quality Management System should improve efficiency and quality, boost customer numbers and profit, and increase opportunities for doing business with major corporations or Government bodies.
Implementing an ISO 9001 system involves consultation, the drawing up of a management system, and comprehensive training.
Maintaining ISO 9001 involves consultation and auditing, regular monitoring and system reviews, and possibly further training.
When you achieve certification, you get something very special. You gain the right to use the ISO 9001Mark in all your marketing and packaging. By maintaining your ISO 9001 accreditation, you will enjoy the ongoing benefits of such an important achievement.
Continual growth and Improvement
As with any International Standard, ISO 9001 is all about continual growth and improvement. It’s not a piece of paper you frame and hang on the wall – it’s a living, breathing management system that needs regular attention.
Use it properly and it will repay you a million times, and you’ll see your organisation reach new heights of success.
With an ISO 9001 Quality Management System in place, you may decide to add further ISOs, and create an integrated system. Generally, in order to do this, you would add an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, and either OHSAS 18001 Safety Management or AS/NZS 4801 Safety Management.
Meeting Customer Expectations
By doing this, you are taking the initial system and growing it, adding benchmarks and goals, with the aim of growing the business, better meeting customer expectations, meeting legal requirements, and reducing your impact on the environment.
To maintain your systems, and therefore your accreditation, you will also need to embrace the principle of regular audits. By using your organisation’s internal audit system, in conjunction with third party auditing, you can demonstrate consistency, and identify any areas that need work.
Auditing is not something to be afraid of! While the word conjures up an image of accountants and the Tax Department, that’s not what it is about. Auditing is simply a method for analysing, assessing and adjusting systems to be more effective.
Motivated Management Team
And the truth is, if you have an effective internal auditing system in place, you need never worry about the results of third party audits. By that, I mean you should have properly trained internal auditors on your team, reporting regularly to a motivated management team.
Queensland’s top management system consultants are generally those who also offer auditor training, as they fully understand the importance of this role within an organisation.
So, for example, in Brisbane there are organisations offering Internal Audit Training Courses and QMS ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training Courses.
SC Training Centre offers fully Exemplar Global-certified Internal Audit Training Courses. Run over two days, the course includes an introduction to the concept of quality and outlines the evolution of quality management systems. Participants will also learn about mandatory requirements and responsibilities.
The course highlights the importance of continual improvement, and corrective and preventative action, as well as the steps for conducting an audit. Process-based auditing and sampling is also discussed, as well as communication techniques, audit planning, and reporting.
Internal Audit Training Courses are an excellent mix of theory and hands-on training, and are highly recommended for any size organisation.
As you would expect, the QMS ISO 9001 Lead Auditor Training Course is far more detailed and is delivered over five days, again with that mix of theory and practical training.
There is a lot more information to cover, including legal and moral responsibilities, Codes of Conduct, advanced communication skills, and non-conformance writing, as well as a more detailed analysis of the Standard itself.
Remember, an internal audit reports to management, while an external auditor reports to the certification body, thereby giving an independent assurance to your stakeholders.
The secret, of course, is to actually make use of the audit findings! It’s not a matter of simply ticking a box to say you’ve done it. Act on the information received and you will continually grow and improve your organisation.
The good news is that an increasing number of small to medium-sized businesses are now implementing and maintaining quality management systems. There was a time when many SMBs considered Standards to be the realm of bigger organisations. Now, they see that these systems are, in fact, perfect for smaller businesses, as they improve efficiency and reduce costs, allowing more time and money to actually grow the enterprise.