It’s essential for businesses to know that the companies they work with meet the highest standards. ISO 9001 is an internationally-recognised quality management standard - allowing your organisation to prove its commitment to excellence to both customers and suppliers.
What is ISO 9001?
ISO 9001 is an international standard specifying criteria for a company’s quality management systems. It defines the ways that your organisation can achieve, as well as monitor and benchmark, the consistent performance of any product or service provision.
To meet the requirements of the standard, your organisation must demonstrate excellence across a number of quality management principles, such as:
- A strong customer focus
- Effective management
- Coherent and comprehensive processes
- A commitment to improvement
A business with strong quality management systems consistently delivers products and services to a high level.
ISO 9001 and ISO 27001: An integrated management system
Although ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 are different standards and address different issues within an organisation, there is a clear link between the two. Quality management and information security both contribute to an organisation’s long-term success.
Both standards also follow the Annex SL structure, which means that many of the procedures and documentation required to implement the system are aligned. This synergy between the frameworks makes it possible to combine resources and streamline processes when pursuing compliance for both ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 as part of an integrated management system.
By offering ISO 9001 as an add-on to our ISO 27001 solution, the Hicomply platform helps your organisation to develop an integrated management system – maximising the benefits of compliance whilst reducing the time, resource and cost often associated with certification.
For organisations that have already implemented one of these standards, the Hicomply platform helps you to build your implementation project around your existing framework. Or, if you intend to gain both certifications at the same time, the platform enables you to take a single, seamless approach tailored to the specifics of each framework.
When was ISO 9001 last updated?
ISO 9001 was last updated in 2015, so it’s common to see the certification referred to as ISO 9001:2015. In the latest revision, an increased focus has been placed on risk-based thinking: asking your organisation to demonstrate an understanding of potential business risk and opportunities, complete with actions to address them.
The standard incorporates the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, enabling your business to effectively plan its processes and interactions with adequate resource.
In 2015, changes were made to sections of the standard as it relates to the context of the organisation and interested parties, with additional elements relating to the control of processes, products and services provided by external entities.
The aim of the revision was to ensure that quality management systems were devised to integrate effectively with other business activities, allow for performance monitoring and generate greater involvement from senior management, among others.
Who needs ISO 9001?
ISO 9001 can be of benefit to any organisation, no matter the size or sector. In fact, it is internationally recognised because it has applications across a spectrum of production and service industries.
Holding ISO 9001 certification is a significant benefit. It instils confidence and trust in your company and immediately showcases your commitment to quality. ISO certifications provide a recognisable seal of approval that helps your business build a positive reputation with customers and collaborating organisations.
It’s important to note that the standard isn’t a legal requirement for any organisation and running a business does not depend on proving compliance with the standard. Often, however, organisations will require their supply chain to hold ISO 9001 certification in order to do business with them. Being certified can even open up your organisation to working with a whole host of new businesses.
The standard acts as a reliable and effective way of vetting other organisations. It helps a business to quickly ascertain whether a potential partner or supplier is productive, efficient and trading with quality at its core. In particular, this can be found in industries such as:
It’s also common to find ISO 9001 on the list of essential requirements of organisations putting work out to tender.
Why get ISO 9001 certified?
In many industries, ISO 9001 is a common requirement within tendering and procurement processes.
The benefits of certification go beyond meeting criteria set by other companies. Fundamentally, compliance with the standard can help your business to monitor and measure its performance, identify areas for improvement and make positive changes to drive productivity, efficiency, cost management and quality.
There is no doubt that ISO 9001 is also a powerful marketing tool. It raises your brand’s value and builds trust – which is fundamental to new business generation and customer retention efforts.
An indication of the value placed on ISO 9001 can be found in the many industry-specific standards based on it. Just a few examples of this are:
- AS9100 – a core standard in the aerospace industry
- ISO 13485 – a key certification in the medical devices industry
- IATF 16949 – a standard valued in the automotive industry.