ISO 9001 is an international standard that specifies the requirements for establishing a solid quality management system (QMS) at your company. Becoming certified should be one of your company’s strategic objectives—if it isn’t already.
Why? There are many reasons, and we will touch on 7 of them in this article but, essentially, ISO 9001 certification can go a long way in enhancing customer satisfaction at your company. Satisfied customers become loyal customers, and that can lead to further business opportunities down the line as your reputation improves.
ISO 9001 certification can achieve these results because it demonstrates your company's ability to consistently provide products and services that meet not only regulatory requirements, but also customers expectations as well.
9001 is the most popular standard in the ISO 9000 series and it is the only standard in the series to which you can certify. There’s a bit of history to all this...
A Short History of ISO
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO)—based in Geneva, Switzerland—is a non-governmental entity that was founded in 1947. Though first published in 1987, ISO 9001 traces back more than 20 years prior to that time and it has connections to government procurement standards and the Department of Defense.
Back then, companies that supplied services and products to the government had to comply with a variety of quality assurance requirements (as they do now).
ISO 9001: 2015
ISO 9001: 2015 is the most current version and was published in September of 2015. There are modifications in this latest version to note:
There is a greater emphasis on processes
New terminology makes the language easier to understand
A new chapter is based exclusively on “risk-based thinking.”
A few of the more appealing modifications include a greater focus on your customers, a closer look at the motivation of senior managers, and the processes that they follow to implement policies that yield a trend of continuous improvement at your company.
Your steps toward certification will manifest in greater efficiencies, consistent reduction of errors, and higher standards for service delivery at your company.
The maxim “Great things happen when the world agrees” holds true for companies that become certified to ISO 9001: 2015. Here are 7 of those great things...
7 Benefits of ISO 9001: 2015 Certification
A company holds its most precious asset—time—to heart so it's important for an organization to understand why they're getting certified in the first place:
Benefit #1 of ISO 9001: Improved Customer Satisfaction
Your customers will come to understand and appreciate the benefits of your certified status; there is a bit of pride on behalf of your customer in working with a company that is ISO 9001 certified.
The certification process identifies the key areas in your company that your customers believe are important and some customers will work exclusively with certified companies because they know they can trust the management systems in place.
Benefit #2 of ISO 9001: Fewer Returned Items
Certification ensures that quality issues are identified and resolved more rapidly, often without the customer being aware of them.
You can design the most sophisticated production system imaginable and still experience quality issues if your people aren’t trained properly.
Certification limits the probability and impact of human error resulting in a more solid product being delivered to your customers.
Benefit #3 of ISO 9001: Better Competitive Positioning
With ISO certification, your company can likely compete for contracts in both the public and private sectors. ISO certification is also a requisite to compete for public contracts.
The public sector often includes this requirement as evidence that it is spending taxpayer money wisely and investing in suppliers who take quality very seriously.
Benefit #4 of ISO 9001: Improved Operational Efficiency
The procedures that ISO certification puts into place are focused on quality.
One component of that quality is an emphasis on preventative measures that allow you to identify potential problems before they become mistakes.
Certification ensures that the key processes at your company are fully documented, and that documentation can be immediately retrieved if needed to help you resolve problems and improve process efficiency. A continuous improvement strategy is a major part of your certification so seeking ways to reduce waste and optimize business processes will be an everyday activity when you become certified.
Benefit #5 of ISO 9001: Boost in Employee Morale
Staff development programs are a component of your certification process, equipping your employees with the skills to handle customer requirements. Your company will operate more efficiently because of this and employees will feel more valued.
Benefit #6 of ISO 9001: Supplier Quality
Issues with supplier quality can manifest in unnecessary costs. Reducing costs associated with quality requires the ability to see deeply inside your organization.
ISO certification involves testing of your supplier procedures to ensure optimal quality of the raw materials that you use in your production processes. Certification also puts protocols in place that allow you to properly vet new suppliers and meet QC standards.
Benefit #7 of ISO 9001: Increased Revenue
When you get ISO-certified, you are sending a message to both existing and potential customers that your company is serious. In addition to streamlining your business process and removing wasteful spending, your company can look forward to winning more business from uncertified competitors, increasing your share of the market.
Certification can grow your revenues by boosting customer loyalty and laying the foundation for repeat business as well as expanding in new territories.
ISO 9001: 2015 Certification – How to Get Started
To get certified, you need to implement a QMS system according to the most recent standard, which is ISO 9001: 2015.
Afterward, a verification process needs to take place involving a certified auditor. After you earn your initial certification, you will need to complete a yearly surveillance audit, and a re-certification audit every 3 years to remain current with your certification.
That all may sound very intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be.
Plus, your certification process should be looked at as a strategic investment that can provide an ROI in the form of revenue growth, and cost savings.
With the help of Encompass Consultants, achieving ISO 9001 compliance shifts the focus from "how" to "when." We help small-to-medium-sized companies achieve ISO certification in as little time as possible while maintaining strong results.
See how we can help with your ISO 9001 certification »
Originally published Jun 22 2021
Frequently asked questions
What is ISO and its benefits?
ISO stands for International Organization for Standardizationffe. It is an independent, non-governmental, international organization. Companies benefit by becoming ISO certified, offering evidence that the company’s products or services meet high quality standards.