ISO is a well-known product certification by name, but it can refer to a wide range of standards for products, services and systems worldwide…over 22,000 of them, in fact! Today we’ll specifically examine ISO 9001, which sets criteria for an organization’s quality management system. Read on to learn where ISO standards come from, why quality management systems are important, the ins and outs of the ISO certification process and the benefits of ISO 9001 certification that are passed along to distributors and customers.
What is ISO?
ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. It’s an “independent, non-governmental international organization” made up of members of national standards bodies from 164 countries and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. Through the organization, members use their expertise and knowledge to develop shared market standards, with the goal of supporting innovation and solving global challenges.
ISO’s standards are essential to international trade as they provide specifications worldwide for products and services to ensure quality and safety. In total, ISO currently has 22,877 published International Standards and related documents that apply to technology, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture and more.
Depending on the industry, certification based on ISO standards may be a legal requirement, or it may function as a tool to add industry credibility by demonstrating that a product meets customer expectations. Similarly to other industry certification processes, ISO does not actually perform the certification. The standards they develop are used for evaluation by designated certification bodies to assure that a product meets specific requirements.
ISO 9001 and Quality Management
ISO 9001 is a specific standard, first published in 1987, that outlines requirements of a quality management system – a system formally implemented by companies to document their procedures for meeting quality objectives. The goal of a quality management system is to guide an organization toward meeting regulatory requirements and continually improving its effectiveness and efficiency in doing so. ISO 9001 specifies quality management system requirements around which companies can build their own programs.
Examples of these requirements include:
-Quality policy and objectives
-Records and data management
-Customer satisfaction records relating to product quality
-Documented opportunities for improvement
ISO 9001:2015 Certification Process
The official name for the standard in which LoctekMotion is certified is ISO 9001:2015, as the current version of ISO 9001 was released in 2015. ISO 9001:2015 is “the most recognized and implemented quality management system standard in the world.” It provides a process-oriented approach to the documentation and review of every aspect of an organization’s quality management procedures.
Among the many topics covered in the standard are the quality management system requirements listed above, as well as management responsibilities, resource management (including staffing and work environment), product steps from design to delivery, and internal audits to continually measure and improve the system.
Certification in ISO 9001:2015 is awarded after a company completes a successful audit by a certification body (also known as a registrar’s audit) that confirms the organization meets all the applicable requirements. Once completed, the certification is valid for three years; however, the registrar returns periodically to ensure the quality management system and related requirements continue to be upheld by the company.
Benefits of ISO Certification and Quality Management
The benefits a manufacturer gains through ISO certification are clear and abundant:
Efficiency. A manufacturer strictly abiding to a quality management system is continually looking for ways to improve their processes, which naturally leads to improvements in product manufacturing procedures.
Lowering costs. Adhering to quality management guidelines minimizes waste of time and resources, offering the opportunity for cost savings down the distribution chain.
Innovation. Efficient compliance to regulations and automating quality procedures leaves more resources for growth in other areas, such as research and development.
Highly skilled employees. The continual improvement process helps to identify opportunities for training by quickly finding any weak points and working to prevent mistakes.
Staff engagement. A well-publicized quality management system increases staff buy-in, creating an environment of collaboration – sharing goals and overall company direction throughout.
Customer satisfaction. ISO compliance ensures that products meet customer requirements, which increases customer satisfaction, repeat business and overall sales.
We aim to pass along the benefits of LoctekMotion’s ISO 9001:2015 certification to distributors and end users in the form of superior products, top-notch service and affordability. Through quality management, price and product quality go hand in hand.