How to get ISO 9001 certification

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is the international standard for quality management. The management system lays out specific requirements that organisations adhere to so that they become and remain UKAS accredited, ISO 9001 certified. Organisations use this standard to show the quality of products and services they provide to customers. ISO 9001 is the most popular certification in the ISO 9000 series.

You can use ISO 9001 to market your products and services and to gain new customers. A certified company, especially a small enterprise, can enhance their reputation and tender for larger projects.

Quality management systems: what are they?

If a business wishes to develop all of the policies, processes, and procedures required to offer products and services that fulfil customer and regulatory standards and enhance customer satisfaction, ISO 9001 gives the QMS requirements that must be put into practice.

We support a range of businesses from a variety of sectors in becoming ISO 9001 certified including engineering, manufacturing, recruitment, IT service providers and professional services.

What is the international organisation for standardisation for the 9000 family?

The ISO 9000 family of standards includes the QMS certification ISO 9001. With more than a million companies accredited worldwide, it is one of the most well-known and widely used ISO standards.

The ISO 9000 standard, which gives the ISO 9000 family its name, defines terms and outlines the seven quality management principles upon which ISO’s standards are based. These include a dedication to client service and ongoing improvement.

Based on those principles, ISO 9001 establishes a global framework for building effective QMS. The ISO 9001 standard can be applied to any organisation regardless of an organisation’s size, sector, or for-profit status.

The additional standards in the 9000 series are ISO 9004 and ISO 19011, which outline how to maintain quality improvements.

How to get ISO 9001 certification

How does a small company get ISO 9001 certification?

At first look, ISO 9001 certification for small businesses may appear complicated and challenging. However, the reputation of the standard as being unsuitable is just a result of a misinterpretation of what constitutes ISO 9001 compliance and certification.

As mentioned our bespoke packages can be developed to suit organisations of any size and SMEs’ find that the framework we provide helps to give structure for business growth.

The actual use of a quality management system for small businesses consists of using what a company has previously created, properly documenting it, and, if required, improving it. Compliant can supply a range of templated documentation within a user friendly structure to help get businesses started.

When done correctly, the ISO 9001 certification process offers companies the chance to analyse processes holistically and enhance the entire business. Hundreds of small organisations also invest the effort necessary to evaluate their systems each year in order to stay compliant.

Small companies who are dedicated to pursuing compliance frequently outperform their rivals by developing procedures to better service clients and expand the business. We can help your business to get ISO 9001 certification in place and grow organically.

The current ISO 9001 standard

The ISO 9001:2015 version of the standard is the most recent one. The previous revision, ISO 9001:2008, was replaced by the ISO 9001:2015 standard, which is also referred to as ISO 9001 revision 2015.

Many of the procedures from the earlier version of the standard are included in this updated revision, which places more emphasis on risk-based thinking and an awareness of the organisation’s context. A significant structural modification from the ISO 9001:2008 standard was made to enable this transition; the key clauses of the standard are different between the 2015 and 2008 iterations.

Why QMS certification?

The business must keep the Quality Management System in place after putting the ISO 9001 criteria in place. Employees of the company are required to do internal audits and at least one management assessment of the system throughout this period.

Following that, certified lead auditors from a certification body will evaluate the system in relation to ISO 9001 requirements. We have direct relationships with most of the certification bodies we can pass cost savings including preferential day rates directly onto clients.

An ISO 9001 certificate demonstrating that the company’s QMS is acceptable to satisfy the standard will be granted if the ISO 9001 certification company determines that the system complies with the standard and all of the certification requirements are satisfied. The company is then considered to be ISO 9001 certified.

Why is ISO 9001 a worthwhile investment?

ISO 9001 is a globally recognised mark of status and quality assurance. Organisations that have earned certification are presumed to have developed a reliable method for assuring high customer satisfaction and ongoing improvement.

Advantages of obtaining ISO 9001 certification:

  • Improved internal processes and procedures
  • Increased likelihood of profit and market share
  • Time saved through resource management that is more effective
  • Reduced or eliminated recurrent issues and abnormalities
  • Brand credibility and image increased
  • Process automation and integration
  • Using data and facts to guide decisions which increases organisational efficiency and effectiveness.

The ISO 9001 methodology examines both the individual processes and how they all interact with one another. You can identify areas ripe for optimisation and improvement by looking at how each of your business processes interacts with the others within the framework of a QMS.

Check out our ‘Benefits of ISO 9001’ article to find out more!

The big question: how to get ISO 9001 certification?

In order to become certified, you need to build up a quality management system in accordance with the most recent version of the ISO 9001 standard, and then have that QMS audited by a qualified auditor.

Once your organisation receives certification it normally lasts for three years before needing to be renewed.

Why invest in ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is suitable for 1-man businesses right the way through to large, multinational conglomerates. We specialise in supporting SMEs with ISO 9001 but offer a wide range of packages for larger organisations.

Any company that has had pre-qualification questionnaires or invites to tender will see that one of the questions listed is ‘please answer the following questions with regards to quality’.

There are numerous other benefits for organisations in implementing ISO 9001 relevant to the following areas:

  1. Management
  2. Employees
  3. Customers
  4. Business

A business’s management and owners will find an ISO certification inaluable. Management will be able to enforce obligations and regulations more readily if a formal, approved framework is in place.

The workforce will gain from an ISO certification as well. Certification ensures that the implemented system complies with requirements that are advantageous to employees. They will have formal obligations, and procedures will be in place for them. Everyone will full understand their responsibilities and who is accountable for which activities.

Customers will be delighted due to the efficiency that an ISO certification would bring to a business. They will gain a better quality of service or standard of products from the systems that have been implemented for the company.

The business as a whole will gain from ISO since management, staff, and customers will all be working from the same framework. The business won’t struggle as much with staff or management changes if it has effective systems in place.

The improved productivity will also be advantageous to the company. There will be no doubt as to who is responsible for what once the roles of employees and management are established and standardised by your ISO documents.

With paperwork, auditing, and revisions, implementing ISO 9001 can appear to be a challenging process. The challenges that could arise from adhering to the ISO 9001 certification procedure, however, are worth it for the gains that this certification process will produce.

ISO 9001 is worth it especially if your business is quickly growing and needs more credibility for its reputation. As brands build their businesses, more people will ask for proof of legitimacy, and one of the best pieces of evidence you can provide is your ISO 9001 certification. It improves your quality management system, but it also develops the sustainability of your organisation to possible threats in the future.

We can help with ISO implementation, audits and ongoing support to embed your management system.

Check out a recent video of ours ‘Is ISO 9001 suitable for my business?’ here.

ISO 9001 Principles

Our steps to get ISO 9001 certification

Here are our steps to getting you ISO 9001 certified:

  • Investigate certification bodies and consultants
  • Make the choice to get certified and decide on whether to progress with a consultant (If you decide to partner with Compliant we will liaise with the certification body directly on your behalf)
  • Provide your current procedures and processes to your consultant for review
  • Continue using your current procedures if they satisfy the standards (We will review all documentation to help decide what is applicable and what isn’t)
  • If they don’t satisfy the requirements, we will provided you with templates that are compliant
  • Together with our framework a bespoke management system is built
  • An audit is booked with the chosen certification body (we attend all audits with and on behalf of our clients)
  • Post audit – Address any non-conformance concerns found, if necessary, and then become certified.

The standard’s requirements are very independent. The standard enables businesses to create a certified QMS that is entirely tailored and especially created to serve their unique business, from papers and record-keeping to rules and processes to strategic growth plans.

It’s about using the ISO 9001 standard as the guiding blueprint for continuous development and long-term success.

How having ISO 9001 certification helps your clients

Having ISO 9001 can benefit your clients and customers:

  • guarantees that you are a trustworthy, excellent supplier – delivering the highest quality products and services
  • ISO 9001 places a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction – with processes for complaints and complements
  • when you prepare ahead, problems are handled before they have a chance to inconvenience your customers

Focusing on enhancing customer satisfaction by knowing their wants and goals is one of the key elements influencing the adoption of quality management systems. Enhanced customer satisfaction ultimately results in continued business.

How obtaining ISO 9001 certification will benefit your employees

Having ISO 9001 can benefit your employees:

  • everyone is fully aware of their responsibilities
  • with greater corporate success, jobs are more secure
  • due to their roles being streamlined and clearly defined (what to accomplish and how to perform it), employees report increased job satisfaction and workplace happiness
  • resources for training, onboarding, and education are more easily accessible as a result of better organisational design
  • the adoption of a QMS can promote a culture of continuous improvement inside an organisation

Fostering a culture of continuous improvement can help to improve employee morale and general workplace happiness. Employees feel like they’re actively involved in, and responsible for, the development, implementation, and optimisation of the processes they use on a daily basis.

Employees become more engaged and feel more responsible for the processes they are using.

Documentation Required for ISO 9001 Certification

The categories of documentation that are covered by the standard include:

  1. information that has been documented and is needed by the standard
  2. information in writing that has been deemed necessary by the company for the quality management system to function effectively

Each business is free to decide for themselves how much documentation is necessary to show that their processes are effectively planned, operated, and controlled, and that their quality management system is being implemented and continually improved.

Compliant will support with the review of documentation and make recommendations where necessary.

The information that is documented is utilised to convey a message, offer proof of what was intended and accomplished, and for the general exchange of crucial business information.

How to get ISO 9001 certification: getting started

How the certification can be achieved depends not only on the leadership of the organisation but on the cooperation of the staff.

Compliant can support a company through ISO 9001 certification in just 7 days if needed. However, we recommend an initial 6-week period to enable time for discussions, implementation and making the management system bespoke to the individual company. We then move onto a stage 1 audit with our chosen UKAS certified certification body.

During this audit your system is evaluated in relation to ISO 9001 standards by certified lead auditors. If the ISO 9001 certification body determines that the system complies with the requirement and that all other conditions for certification have been satisfied, an ISO 9001 certificate demonstrating that the organisation’s QMS complies with the requirement will be provided. The business is then regarded as having ISO 9001 certification.

Compliant ensures that clients are fully ready for stage 2 audits and ongoing surveillances. The stage 2 audit is always within 3 months of the stage 1 audit.

Get started with Compliant

Compliant will go the extra step in an initial teams meeting to fully understand your business, its requirements, the structure of the management system required, and the organisational context. We will then submit all your information to one of our preferred certification body partners.

We successfully deliver ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22301ISO 27001 and can help businesses to access funding for their certifications. We offer flexible payment plans and can pass cost savings from certifications bodies directly onto our customers.

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