How to Meet Quality Standards with ISO 9001

In today's hectic business environment, it is vital that we are all on the same page, right? But how do we know if we meet those standards? Business owners and executives can avoid the uncertainty, and that's where ISO 9001 certification comes in.

Standardizing Quality Systems

The ISO, or International Organization for Standardization, was established in 1947 to develop international standards for everything from electronics to management systems. Having over 13,000 standards currently in place, ISO has created the auditing and certification process known as ISO 9001. This began the drive toward quality standards.

Improving Customer Satisfaction

Companies choose to implement ISO 9001 and get certified because many customers and industries require it. By keeping customers happy, they can increase sales and profitability for their business. And if an area of the company's program appears to be too bureaucratic and non-value-adding, then it might also be an area for continuous improvement efforts.

Enhancing Company Policy and Performance

Both customers and industries alike use ISO certification as a way to evaluate and audit their suppliers and products. Through an independent verification process, customers can gain assurance of their suppliers' products. And as a supplier becomes certified, the testing requirement is waved, which saves the company both time and money.

Developing a Best Practices Process

Employed as a "Best Practices" model, ISO 9001 utilizes the philosophy of the "Plan-Do-Check-Act" continuous improvement cycle to achieve requirements. This process approach centers around eight quality management principles used by management as a guide toward improving performance and identifying the main elements needed in a good quality system:

1. Customer Focus

2. Leadership

3. Involvement of People

4. Process Approach

5. Systems Approach to Management

6. Continuous improvement

7. Factual Approach to Decision-Making

8. Mutually Beneficial Supplier Relationship

Building Stable Processes

ISO 9001 policies, procedures and forms can provide employers, managers and employees with a systematic and consistent approach to implementing policies, plans, procedures and work routines. Instead of building their own policies and procedures from scratch, some companies prefer to hire professional writers that have already prepared a set of written policies and procedures to help on the way to certification.

Auditing a Company System

In the certification process, an independent registrar will perform an on-site audit of a company's operations to verify that it complies with the ISO standard. If the business complies, then that company will be registered as ISO 9001 compliant.

Effective Policies and Procedures

On the way to certification, a business can meet its ISO needs by:

? Using well-defined processes and procedures to build stable processes

? Training in the audit and certification process

? Continuously improving with ISO 9001 standards

Quality Management System

With complete procedures manuals for ISO 9001 Quality Management System, required HR procedures, and an ISO training class, a template like an ISO 9001 Quality Manager Procedures Manual Series can help a business on its way to ISO 9001 certification. Sometimes the effort can be very great, but companies typically notice a remarkable difference in efficiency and effectiveness after the first year.

Chris Anderson is currently the managing director of Bizmanualz, Inc. and co-author of policies and procedures manuals, producing the layout, process design and implementation to increase performance. To learn how to increase your business performance, visit: Bizmanualz, Inc.

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