ISO 9001 Consultants - Overview
Brian Mead is an experienced ISO 9001 consultant with many years experience as a quality manager. Brian takes an honest, practical approach to implementing quality and environmental management systems, avoiding over complication and keeping processes as simple as possible.
The benefits of ISO 9001 certification
ISO 9001 can help improve the operation of any type of business provided it is implemented in a practical manner, whether private enterprise, public sector or even non profit organisations as the framework provided by ISO 9001 helps to place appropriate emphasis on critical performance areas such as the processes relating to service or product outcomes, customer satisfaction, continuous improvement etc.
Adopting ISO 9001 continues to help all manner
of organisations improve their way of working by encouraging more effective
processes and working practices which can lead to a reduction in waste and
therefore potential efficiencies or even cost savings.
It may be advisable to put in place additional processes or systems; however these should only include what is actually required to properly manage any business or organisation in the most effective manner. It is important to note that the implementation of ISO 9001 should certainly not introduce any unnecessary overheads.
Implementing ISO 9001 should allow management
to see more clearly how the organisation actually functions as the
internal processes will become more clearly defined. This can often
be quite illuminating.
One of the more immediate benefits of gaining
ISO 9001 certification is of course its importance in the public
sector or large contract tendering process where having ISO 9001
is increasingly a basic pre-qualification criteria.
We can therefore summarise the main benefits of ISO 9001 as:
- Allowing better visibility of how a business or organisation operates
- Encouraging a sense of individual ownership across a workforce
- Often a pre-qualification for public sector
- Enables easier identification of any areas of weakness
- Promotes continuous improvement
" running a formal quality and environmental management system helped us win a large contract that recently went out to formal tender”
MBM OMEGA LTD
Preparing for ISO 9001 certification
Depending on the size and nature of the organisation implementing ISO 9001 can take anything from five months to the best part of a year, however a good rule of thumb is that with commitment and a reasonable starting base most smaller SMEs should be able to reach readiness for certification in about SIX months.
It is important at the outset to first identify the key business or organisational objectives as well as the basic service or product requirements, rather than focus on any existing internal processes or procedures as this approach may result in documenting something that provides little benefit to the business or its customers.
The initial step is to draft the Quality Manual
(preferably regarded as the "Business Systems Manual")
which should describe the whole organisation (within scope) and
importantly show how the new management system operates in an integrated
fashion. This would then be followed by a period of progressive
implementation of whatever systems, procedures, records etc. need
to be put in place. In essence it is necessary to comply with the
Quality (Systems) Manual, and this should then bring about compliance
with the ISO 9001 standard itself.
ISO 9001 specifically requires only a limited number of generic documented procedures; any others being down to whatever is considered necessary to run the operation in the most effective way.
It is essential that everyone is involved from the start of an ISO 9001 implementation as it will not work effectively if it is seen as just the responsibility of say the Quality Manager, as is sometimes the case.
It will be necessary to commence internal audits
once the new systems or processes are in place. These are necessary
to not only ensure that the new systems are working as expected,
but also to ensure compliance with the ISO 9001 standard.
" assessor was
very impressed with the procedures and level of documentation.
He was positively glowing about the risk register..”
Attaining ISO 9001 certification
Once the new systems are settled and a round of internal audits and management reviews have been conducted an application for assessment can be made with an appropriate Certification Body who should ideally be UKAS accredited.
The assessment process involves two stages, or visits, with Stage 1 intended to ensure that all of the required systems and processes are in place, and the assessor may make any recommendations at this point. Stage 2 would normally follow after about four weeks and involves the in-depth auditing of the management system against the ISO 9001 standard.
All being well the assessor will there and then
"recommend" the organisation for certification (registration)
and the certificate will normally arrive shortly thereafter.
Maintaining ISO 9001
and via the objectives setting and management review processes,
there should be clear evidence of continuing improvements being
made to the systems.
If you want practical help
in achieving certification from an experienced ISO 9001 consultant,
or just some information or advice, then do email
Further information from the ISO accrediting body
ISO 9001 History
ISO 9001 Lessons
ISO 9001 Principles
ISO 14001 Consultants