What path will you take to achieving ISO 9001 Certification?

Your first steps on the path to achieving ISO 9001 certification is to have buy-in from Top Management; this is important to ensure long term success of achieving certification for your business or

With the right preparation and a good understanding of what is required for ISO 9001 certification, most organisations can expect to achieve certification within 3 to 6 months
depending on their size and complexity.

At this stage it would be beneficial to have someone who has experience of implementing Quality Management Systems and who knows what is needed to achieve ISO 9001

You do need to plan. How your business does it is up to you!

I have seen large variations of planning techniques and there is no right or wrong way on how you should plan the implementation project but having a planning process will help keep you on track and stay in control.

Generally, you will need to conduct a fact finding activity to identify any gaps in your organisations and if there are any potential weaknesses and areas for improvement in your current system. From this you often decide on a project plan to detail all your activities, highlight who will be responsible and plan key timelines needed for the implementation of an ISO management system.

Booking your stage 1 pre-certification audit and adding it to your project plan gives you a target date to work towards providing motivation for staff and encourages team work to achieve ISO certification. When selecting an appropriate certification body take into account your needs and budget. That’s not to say the cheapest is always best as there are a lot of factors you need to consider:

  • Are they accredited? e.g. United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS)
  • UK based or one with an international reputation
  • Proven track record, industry expert or localised certification body
  • Do you go on reputation or recommendation?
  • Continuity of service, is it important to you?

Dig into the groundwork

Once you have done your groundwork and the ISO management system has been started and is up and running you will be ready for your Stage 1 audit which essentially is a desktop exercise to ensure you are ready for Stage 2 Certification

At the Stage 1 audit, the 3rd Party auditor from a certification body will check that your management system meets the requirements of the ISO 9001 Standard and match what you say you are actually doing and highlight any areas of deficiency and potential improvement of the system.

On completion of Stage 1 you will be given a date for the Stage 2 Certification Audit either on the day or on receipt of your report.

When the report is received and once any required changes or improvements have been made, your organisation will then be ready for your Stage 2 Certification Assessment.

Generally, the same 3rd Party auditor will conduct the Stage 2 Certification audit and check that you are working to the requirements of your Quality Management System and meeting the requirements of ISO 9001 Standard.

During the audit process your organisation should have a clear idea of your objectives and what benefits it will gain by achieving ISO 9001 Certification. You have to be prepared to incorporate the Quality Management System into every area of the business.

All staff must be aware of what is expected of them and where their areas of responsibility lie, in order to achieve ISO 9001 Certification.

A Documented Quality Management System is required, together with the policies and procedures required by ISO 9001.

Defining your Quality Management System will require input from all of the departments in the organisation.

You will need to communicate to all of your staff, the importance of keeping records and using the correct documentation. Controlling the use of documents to ensure the latest version is being used is an important part of ISO 9001. You will need a robust system to ensure that old versions are removed and new versions distributed to the various internal departments, together with a system for version control.

To maintain compliance with the requirements of your ISO 9001 system determine from the standard what documentation and records you need.

Inevitably, processes can go wrong and you will need to have a defined process for fixing the problem and identifying where it went wrong, before making changes to prevent it from happening again.

You should keep a record of any actions you have taken to rectify a problem. Where possible you should identify potential problem areas and set up a system to prevent or minimise their effect before it happens.

Staff should be suitably trained to ensure they are capable of carrying out their job function. You must keep records of past experience, education and training to identify their capabilities.

Future training requirements can then be implemented together with any new skills that may be needed as the business evolves.

Using this information you will be able to identify any gaps in experience if you install new equipment or add new products.

Have a programme to conduct the internal auditing of your own system and where possible those who carry this audit are independent of within function of your organisation.

The internal auditors will check that the procedures in the business are being followed and will identify any areas of concern to be rectified. You must have a procedure for how audits are to be planned, conducted and recorded.

Contact DTC Consulting Ltd to discover what the benefits are for implementing an ISO and achieving ISO 9001 Certification.

Book a consultation with Douglas.