What is ISO9001 And How Can It Improve Your Business?

When people ask me what I do and I reply, ''I am an ISO9001 consultant'', most of the time I get a confused look back ...

So, in order to help increase the number of people who know what ISO9001 is and how it helps businesses I decided to write this blog post about it.

"Firstly, what is ISO?"

ISO is the 'International Organisation for Standardisation'. It is an independent, non-governmental body that has 161 members. A member is a county that has a national standards body. There can be only one member per country. In the UK the national standards body is run by The British Standards Institute (BSI).

ISO has 783 technical committees who produce international standards such as ISO9001. A standard basically 'makes things work' across the world. It is no coincidence that countries from all over the world produce goods that work together. It is because there are technical standards that they adhere too.

There are 22,247 standards at the time of writing this blog post. The standards cover everything from graphical symbols on equipment ISO7000 to more generic standards on quality management such as ISO9001.

"ISO9001 has been around since 1987. It has been revised in 1994, 2000, 2008 and lastly 2015!"

Each revision has made the standard more user-friendly for all types of industries from manufacturing to services. It is a quality management system. In my opinion, if we got rid of the word 'quality' and replaced it with 'business' it would make more sense. This is because your quality system is how you run your business, it is not separate from your business.

ISO9001 covers the following areas:
  1. Context of your business what your business does, where it does it and who is interested or involved with your business.
  2. Leadership your leaders need to be involved in your quality management system, promoting, engaging and setting policies.
  3. Planning How do you plan in business changes? Do you have objectives and plan how you are going to meet them?
  4. Support how do you support your business with people, training, documentation, and equipment.
  5. Operations how do you do, what you do? How do you link in with customers and suppliers? How do you know you have delivered what was expected?
  6. Performance evaluation and continual improvement How do you know you have achieved what you set out to do? Do you carry out internal audits and management reviews to help run your business? Do you set out to continually improve your business? If so how?

As you can see, ISO9001 covers the whole of your business. This is why having ISO9001 is integral to how you do business. You should never have a ISO9001 documentation for instance that does not reflect your business and sits on a shelf getting dusty until the day before the next external audit is due.

If you would like to know more about anything I've mentioned in this blog post, do give me a call on 01858 414226 or leave a comment below and let's see how I can help you.