No matter how large or small your business may be, productivity is key to using all of the resources you have available to you. You want to be able to do more with less, reduce waste in your processes, and ensure that your customers are receiving the highest quality you can deliver. From your product integrity to the way your customers are serviced, having policies and procedures in place can act as a guiding reference to achieve those higher levels of productivity.
ISO 9001 can help you get there. It is a set of requirements with which an organisation should comply to achieve best practices and establish processes for continual improvement. One of the ways that organisations meet the requirements of the standard is by developing and implementing policies and procedures.
What is ISO 9001?
ISO 9001 is a quality management standard- and it is a popular one. More than one million companies around the world have adopted the ISO 9001 standards set forth by the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO).
ISO 9001 is a set of quality management principles. Having a strong customer focus is included as is the importance of following a process and continually improving the flow of those procedures. The idea is to help make sure that your customers receive consistent quality and service at every transaction or interaction with your company.
To achieve the standards set out by ISO 9001, you will need to do a series of audits to make sure that your company's performance is up to par, some internal and some led by an outside group. Note: When you are ready to become certified, you will need to contact an independent certification body. ISO only created the standards. They do not provide certification.
Reasons Why a Small Business Should Comply with ISO 9001
Getting certified as ISO 9001 can be a big help to your business, even if it is a very small one. The ISO 9001 certification is your signal to your customers, competitors, and the market at-large that you are committed to delivering quality products and services - and with that comes certain advantages.
1. Process Framework
One of the most vital reasons why a small business would want to follow ISO 9001 is the quality management system (QMS) framework it provides. "Standards make market access easier, in particular for SMEs," explains Jens Albens, CEO of Germany-based Nanotron Technology Ltd. "They can enhance brand recognition and give customers the guarantee that the technology is tested and reliable."
2. Cost Reduction
In addition, following ISO 9001 could help you reduce costs. This happens in a couple different ways. Most notably, by reducing waste and error in your processes, you can actually do more with less and with fewer returns, scrap, and mistakes. Over time, your cost savings can be considerable.
In turn, this can lead to greater customer loyalty and repeat business. When your customers know that you follow ISO 9001 standards, they may have more confidence that your products are safe than if you didn't have such a framework in place. The ISO 9001 certification says that your quality reliable.
3. Market Share
Finally, by having ISO 9001 certification, you may be able to work with companies in different markets and of greater scale than you may have been able to otherwise. "An independent verification of your internal QMS demonstrates a commitment to quality, customer service, and continuous improvement," explains UK-based Talk Business. "ISO 9001 is an internationally recognised standard that speaks the language that businesses understand. It gives stakeholders confidence in your business' ability to deliver."
What Does ISO 9001 Address?
ISO 9001 "promotes the adoption of a process approach when developing, implementing and improving the effectiveness of a quality management system, to enhance customer satisfaction by meeting customer requirements," explains ISO. The standard "specifies requirements for a quality management system." This includes competence of employees, the ways in which customer complaints and feedback are handled, communications with customers and internally, monitoring performance, traceability, resources, and much more.
Ultimately, the ISO 9001 standard is all about creating a measurable and specific process for everything and continually improving that system. The process approach helps companies to more effectively integrate their different systems and divisions so that the company as a whole communicates well and uses resources as efficiently as possible. It also involves making sure that management is focused on process improvement and that employees are engaged in focusing on the customer and building relationships.
Where to Start Complying with ISO 9001?
You can start complying with the ISO 9001 standard by examining its requirements and seeing where your company stands in comparison. This process is called a "gap analysis" because it helps you see what "gaps" you have in meeting the ISO 9001 standard. After that, it is generally a good idea to work with a consultant who specializes in ISO certification. He or she will help you better understand your company and the processes it needs to have in place in order to meet the standard and eventually earn certification. Together, you can write down how the process should look and create the system documents that will help guide your operations towards ISO 9001.
ISO 9001 is a powerful tool for helping your small business succeed, so why wait? Take action today. ISO Templates can help your company work towards the standard with document templates that you can modify and implement in your own business.