ISO 9001 – What is it and why is it so important?

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is recognized as the international standard for creating "Quality Management Systems" (QMS). This was created by the ISO (the International Organization for Standardization).

This well-known standard had its most recent updated back in 2015 and is now referred to as the 9001:2015 version of the ISO. For this version to be updated and made effective, it first had to have been approved by most member countries to be known as the current updated to the internationally recognized standard.

What is quality management systems?

According to the ISO definition, quality management systems are the standard in which a company's QMS requirements are defined. This system creates the processes, policies, and procedures necessary to provide products and services designed to meet customer and regulatory demands and improve overall customer satisfaction.

Quality management systems are the foundation of any quality assurance activity.

Why is it critical to have?

ISO 9001:2015 is known internationally as the recognized standard for creating, implementing, and maintaining a company's quality management system.

This standard was designed to be used by companies, no matter their size or industry. As the international standard, 9001 is recognized as the basis behind any company that wants to create a system that is designed to ensure customer satisfaction. As such, many corporations today require this certification from their suppliers.

Having the certification provides your customers the needed reassurance saying you have implemented a Quality Management System in place that is created on the seven quality management principles.

This certification is such an influential and essential industry standard that industry groups often use parts or all of the 9001 standards, such as the ISO 13485 for the medical devices industry, the AS9100 for the aerospace industry, and the AITF 16949 for the automotive industry are just a few examples.

A recent survey performed in 2017 for ISO certifications under 900 1 showed that, despite the global recession, the total number of companies that have implemented the ISO 9001 standard is still growing worldwide.

What is the current ISO 9001 standard?

The current ISO version is 9001:2015. The ISO 9001 2015 standard is often called ISO 9001 revision 2015. This version was released back in October 2015 and replaced any of the previous revision ISO 9001:2008.

This update includes many of the processes from the previous revisions to the ISO standard, with a greater emphasis on understanding the context of the organization and risk-based thinking.

Is ISO 9001 worth it?

The benefits behind having the certification cannot be overstated; companies of all sizes have used the standard to significant effect, securing cost savings and additional revenue.

Here are just a few of these benefits:

Improve your image and credibility – If your customers see that a recognized certification body has certified you, it will show them that you have implemented a system focused on meeting customer requirements and improvement.

This will improve their trust that you will deliver what you have promised, and it will help you get new clients.

Improve customer satisfaction – One of the main principles behind the ISO 9001 QMS is the concept of improving customer satisfaction by identifying and meeting customer needs and requirements. By providing this, you will grow your repeat business.

Fully integrated processes – By using the ISO, you look at the individual functions within your organization, but you also interact with those processes. By doing this, you will discover areas for improvement and savings within your organization.

Use of evidence-based decision making – Ensuring that you and your team are making decisions based on factual evidence is key to success. Ensuring that your choices are based on accurate information will help you target the resources to correct any problems and improve your organizational efficiency and effectiveness in a timely manner.

Create a culture of continual improvements – With ongoing continual modifications as the main output of the QMS, you can saving time, money, and other resources. By making this the culture behind your company, you can focus on your workforce by improving the processes that they are directly responsible for.

Is ISO 9001 a legal requirement?

No, there are no legal requirements, even though the certification is a requirement for many contracts. There are even awards, such as the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award.

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