Before purchasing any item or availing a service from an organization, a customer wants to be sure about the quality of the item or service being consumed. If the quality is certified by some universally accepted organization, then the customer will be confident about the quality and will buy that item or service. ISO 9001 is such a certification which defines quality management system of an organization. This is the reason that every good organization strive to get ISO 9001 certification, so that it may not have to put extra efforts to assure the customer about the quality of its products or services. In this post, we will learn about the ISO 9001 certification and process of getting it. Before moving further, let us know what is ISO 9001 Certification.
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ISO 9001 Certification
ISO 9001 is an international standard for defining the quality management system of any organization. This is one of the standards of ISO 9000 family. ISO 9000 series covers quality management. While there are few standards in this family, this is the only one which you can be certified in. Every organization seeking certification in quality management should have this certification. This standard was first published in 1987 and last updated on 2015. The standard details how the quality management system of your organization should be in place to produce quality products and services. It is customer focused and places an emphasis on continuous improvement and top management processes. The focus of this standard has now shifted to risk management. This standard is generic and can be used in any organization and across any sector.
In principle this standard has following objectives:
- To ensure that the products and services are provided as defined.
- To establish a system in place that monitors the effectiveness of the quality management system, processes, procedures and their outputs to detect non- conforming products and services.
- To ensure that the roles and responsibilities of the management system are clearly defined.
- To ensure a system of continuous improvement.
How to Get ISO 9001 Certification?
To get certified in ISO 9001 certification, you have to implement a quality management system according to ISO 9001 standards, verify it and then undergo an audit by a third party registrar.
Small and businesses choose to set up ISO 9001 in- house using a toolkit. It is simple, inexpensive and easy, even for the people who are not familiar with the ISO 9001.
Large organizations may go for either full- service consultancy or a mix of service consultancy & in-house set up.
How Much Time it Takes to Get Certified?
Time taken into the certification process depends upon the size & complexity of the organization. Generally, the time required is as follows:
Small organizations: 6 to 8 months
Medium organizations: 8 to 12 months
Large organizations: 12 to 15 months
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of developing and registering a management system depends upon the size and complexity and the internal processes of the organization. Mainly, there are three costs associated with the development and registration of the management system.
(a) Development cost, i.e. costs incurred in time spent, documentation and implementing the system.
(b) Costs associated with the training employees, costs to be incurred in preparing the necessary documents and costs related to conduct internal audits.
(c) After establishment of the internal management system and preparing all the necessary documentation, next process is registration of the management system. So, the third type of costs are that associated with registration process, which includes conducting the audits and registering the management system. The cost depends on the number of locations, the scope of work, the number of shifts, etc.
If you engage an external consultant, then it may help you reducing some of the above costs since the risk of moving in the wrong path or missing some of the critical standards is reduced up to a great extent in this way.
The overall average cost comes between USD 12,000 to USD 50,000 to implement a formal management system plus USD 2,000 to USD 30,000 per year for registration and audits, which depend on the maturity of your existing management system, the size and complexity of your organization and the scope of registration.
Steps to be Followed in Getting Certified
There are four basic steps for achieving ISO 9001 certification:
(a) Development of Management System
- Identification of your business processes
- Documentation processes with the involvement of employees
- Review, approve and distribute the documents to those who need access to the information
(b) Implementation of Management System
- Ensure that the procedures are running as described in the documents.
- Proper training of the employees for the task they have been assigned.
- Establishment and implementation of effective reporting system to perform implementation, testing, corrective & preventive actions, review meetings, etc.
- Monitoring of the effectiveness of your processes through measurable data & techniques, if possible.
- Review and implementation of corrective actions, if needed.
(c) Verification of Effectiveness of the System
- Audit is conducted to review the processes for effectiveness.
- Identification of strengths and weaknesses of the system.
- Taking corrective or preventive action as required.
(d) Registration of the System
- Appropriate auditing body is selected for the external registration
- Submission of the management system documentation for review to ensure that the system complies with the applicable standards.
- Prepare for review by an external auditor to confirm that the system’s requirements are being complied and the management system is implemented effectively.
ISO 9001 is one of the most popular and desirable certification which every organization strives to have. It is the only standard in the ISO 9000 family, which you can be certified in. This certification is concerned with the quality and ensures that the quality management system of your organization is in place to produce quality products and services. Any organization whether small or big should get this certification if they want to establish a well-defined and well documented management system. Apart from having a good management system, this certification has many other benefits like, continuous improvement, better customer retention, increase in business and profit, good quality and consistency, international recognition, etc. Therefore, for future sustainability and better business, this certification is crucial for organizations.