ISO 9001: to be or not to be?

More and more companies have the “ISO 9001 certified company” designation. More than a fad, this standard having exceeded one million certifications in 2009 brings with its most recent version (2015) a new approach to quality management. Can this version bring more to your business?

ISO 9001: a question of perception

When it comes to ISO certification, it is important for companies to distinguish the perception and the reality of the real role it should have. Indeed, companies often adopt the ISO 9001 standard with several prejudices. Here are some of the most common ones:

“ISO certification is a sign of great trust for the customer: many companies take for granted that their customers understand the implications of ISO 9001 certification on the quality of the services or products offered to them. Unfortunately, most cases, these companies do not promote enough the benefits the customer perceives through this. The impact is then reduced;

“This is a good way to respond positively to the growing need for certification of tender clauses. It is true that more and more tenders require ISO 9001 certification, but it must be kept in mind that it is not enough to obtain them;

“It’s a way of structuring your business and keeping it organized.” ISO 9001 works well because it is based on common sense and on principles of quality management; but also, on everyone’s adherence to the vision and philosophy that governs it.

It is therefore important, before considering the option of integrating ISO 9001 into your company, to understand the approach it advocates for quality management. In addition, the new version (2015) of this standard brings a new approach that is more flexible and closer to real business issues.

ISO 9001 2015: a new approach

Through each of its versions, the ISO 9001 standard has harmonized the principles and notions of quality with the values that govern increasingly competitive markets. Thus, the versions prior to the year 2000 were based on the principle: “We define in writing what we must do, we do what we have written, and we prove that we have done what was writen.’’ This has led to very “heavy” and centralized “administrative” quality systems. The 2015 version, for its part, is in a different approach.

In order to simplify the standard for those who use more than one management system, it is built on the same general “high level” structure as other ISO management system standards. The importance of the risk approach and the involvement of senior management are also being put forward. While maintaining control over the quality of the processes, this makes the document system much simpler.

Thus, implementing a quality management system according to the requirements of ISO 9001 (2015 version) consists of:

  1. Demonstrating the ability to always provide a product or service that meets the customer’s requirements and applicable regulations;

  1. Putting in place a process to improve customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system and the implementation of continuous improvement tools (Deming wheel, PDCA principle, etc.).

The ISO 9001 certification is, therefore, in no way a miracle solution fixed in time, but rather an approach that incorporates better work practices applicable to the processes (work mode and how to meet the requirements of its customers) that influence the quality of products and services. It is accessible to all companies, regardless of the service or product offered, ranging from the smallest company to the multinational: manufacturing companies, service companies, design offices, architects, accountants, notaries, lawyers, training workshops. machining, retail, etc.

Now, it’s up to you to choose the path of excellence!