ISO 9001, or to give it its full and proper title, ISO 9001:2015, is an internationally-recognised standard for Quality Management Systems (QMS), intended to ensure that businesses are doing everything necessary to improve the quality of their products and processes on a continual basis.
ISO 9001:2015 certification is seen as a benchmark of quality all over the world, with companies in a wide array of markets all using their certified status to attain more clients, improve internal processes and establish a good reputation in their industry.
Businesses in Adventure, Arboriculture and Work-at-Height benefit substantially from a standardised system, as the inherent safety risks and service focus in these industries mean that improving quality management is essential to staying competitive, and staying safe!
Here are the main reasons why you should get certified:
1. Meet customer requirements
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of being ISO 9001:2015 certified is being able to meet the increasing demands of customers. Many customers demand that the brands, products and services they use are of the highest quality – and of course, ISO 9001 will help you to assure customers of that quality through documented procedures. Indeed, by continually improving the quality of your product and processes, you can exceed your customers’ expectations – meaning they’ll be more likely to come back again.
2. Generate new business
Once you receive your ISO 9001 certification, organisations and even entire markets you never thought accessible will be open to you. Furthermore, being ISO certified allows you to charge a premium for your service, which people will be more prepared to pay.
3. Improve company and service quality
ISO 9001, being a quality management system, is all about quality! So, when adopting a QMS, you can expect to see an increase in quality in every product and process across your entire organisation. This includes your safety management, training procedures, and even your staff rota.
4. Describe, understand, and communicate your company processes
Attaining ISO 9001 certification requires that you identify and analyse your business processes, with the purpose of optimising these processes – which can only be achieved through effective quality management. Safe to say, conforming to ISO 9001 requirements will help you to learn more about how your business functions.
5. Create a professional business culture
ISO 9001 can motivate and empower employees. A robust quality management system provides employees with everything they need to perform well: clear expectations (i.e. what their job consists and doesn’t consist of), the tools they need to perform the tasks expected of them, and quick, actionable feedback on their performance. Having a robust quality management system in place will also help considerably in establishing a positive safety culture.
How to Get Started With ISO 9001
Becoming ISO 9001 certified means to pass a physical certification audit by a registrar (a certifying agency independent from ISO). To get certified, the standard necessitates that every business issues and maintains the following six documented procedures.
Control of Documents (4.2.3)
Control of Records (4.2.4)
Internal Audits (8.2.2)
Control of Nonconforming Product / Service (8.3)
Corrective Action (8.5.2)
Preventive Action (8.5.3)
To get started with ISO 9001, it is worth thinking firstly about what your business wants to achieve, and about how these documented procedures function in your business as it stands. Obviously, if your business hasn’t adopted any of these procedures, it’s likely that you’re either a) operating against the law, b) not achieving your objectives, or c) operating very ineffectively!
If this is the case, it is vital that you hire someone, either internally or externally, with experience of implementing quality management systems as soon as possible, and let them start identifying how your operations can be improved upon.
Once these documented procedures have been set up and your ISO 9001 Quality Manual is complete, your business will go through two stages of auditing, where the registrar will check your documented procedures and ensure that they are actually being followed across your entire business. If all goes to plan, it should take between 2-3 months to become fully ISO 9001:2015 certified.
Using Papertrail for ISO 9001
Papertrail helps businesses comply with legislation, save time and reduce risk. To find out how to easily set up the documented procedures needed for ISO 9001 in Papertrail, book your free demo, and we’ll get in touch.