Quality assurance and manufacturing standards are increasingly important in today’s international marketplace. Consumers, stakeholders, and other business partners trust ISO certification because it demonstrates credibility and trustworthiness. In business situations, especially in trade, ISO certification guarantees compliance with global standards. How to earn ISO certification, what ISO is and why it’s important are discussed in this article.
What is ISO Certification?
In order to determine products, services, and systems for quality and efficiency, ISO is a non-governmental organization. Due to the strict requirements this organization sets forth, its standards play a crucial role in international trade. The organization’s ultimate goal is to increase safety and security levels worldwide for all industries.
In order to create a standard that is well-rounded, dedication and research are required. An expert group gathers to discuss ways to improve a particular area. Following these discussions, the organization reaches a consensus through a vote. Generally, it takes three years for the entire process to be completed. Four conditions must be met before an organization can create standards:
- The market has a need for it
- Experts from all over the world gather
- Processes of multistakeholder development
- Consensus is reached by all parties
History and accomplishments
A new standardization for international cooperation and organization was developed by international delegates in London in the mid-1900s. ISO was formed as a result of these meetings. With more than 23,000 published standards across 164 countries, their efforts have become increasingly prevalent over the decades. ISO certification proves to the world that a company’s quality standards are up to par.
Why are ISO certifications important?
As proof that a company complies with ISO standards, ISO certifications are obtained from third parties. The conduct of a company is reflected in the confidence of its clients and other stakeholders. In addition to proving a company’s commitment to customer satisfaction and production, ISO certifications also establish a company’s professionalism. Companies are sometimes required to have ISO certification before conducting business with public and private organizations. ISO certifications can be categorized into four types:
There are many certifications out there, but ISO 9000 is one of the most common. A quality management system (QMS) is a system used by companies to meet both customer and stakeholder demands. ISO sets out to accomplish what it sets out to do with this form.
Conformance to standardized requirements is established through ISO 9001 by companies. As well as services, materials, hardware, and software, the product refers to these elements. Certifications certify products more than entities. They are proof a company offers quality products.
In the automotive industry, ISO 13485 is a sector-specific certification. It establishes quality and efficiency standards for automotive manufacturers and distributors. International shipping of vehicles is especially benefited by these standards.
A company’s environmental impact is addressed by ISO 14001, also known as an Environmental Management System (EMS). These organizations control their general activities in order to minimize their impact on both flora and fauna. Nowadays, consumers are more concerned about the impact of corporations on the environment, which is causing this kind of certification to become more prevalent.
Standards are increasingly needed as circumstances in which they can be applied grow. Several areas are now certified by third parties under the ISO, and the scope of the organization has expanded through. In addition to OHSAS 18001, AS9100, ISO ITAR, Lean Manufacturing, and R2 certifications, these organizations have also received additional certifications.
How to get ISO certified
Mass-producing and international shipping companies are the most likely to seek ISO certifications. Due to the nature of their work, they are required to certify global standards due to trade agreements and laws in various countries. It is for this reason that ISO 9001 has become one of the most sought-after certifications. In order to contact a certifying body, however, a company must meet certain requirements. ISO 9001 certification and auditor certification can be attained through the following steps:
1. Develop a quality management system
Establishing a quality management system specific to your business is the first step in earning ISO certification. Find out where improvements can be made to core business processes. Document the processes of all managers and teams. Then, develop a QMS that is effective by using the ISO standards. The new process should be outlined in a document and distributed to all levels of the company.
2. Implement the new quality management system
After launching the new QMS, it will need to be monitored to ensure it is running smoothly. Perform procedures in accordance with the new documentation at all levels. Team members should be trained in new methodologies if the new system requires new processes. To help managers and team members deal with issues in a timely manner, a reporting system is often helpful. In the event that these issues need to be addressed, review and address them as appropriate.
3. Conduct an external audit
A certified body audit should be scheduled after some time has passed and all problems have been resolved. During the audit, an expert auditor checks the new QMS for possible errors and assesses whether it is in compliance with ISO standards. During this period, formal documentation should be available for comparison with the actual work.
4. Register the quality management system
The company registers its QMS for certification if the inspection is successful. To be reviewed by the certifying party, all documentation must be gathered. The company earns certification once the documentation passes review. There is, however, a tendency for standards to change over time. An audit of the QMS is required every three years in order to maintain certification. A company that passes an audit is also certified again after each audit.