How Can You Get the Most from Your ISO 9001:2008 Certification?

ISO consultant - Lots of people believe that the ISO 9001 certification is merely an exercise that compiles documents to show an\the auditor in order to obtain a certification. This is a popular misconception. In the past, the ISO standard concentrated less on the outcome and required a lot of documentation. This is based on those who have worked with ISO for lots of years. A lot of managers and business owners considered this just a basic overhead cost to the company with no measurable benefit.

ISO consultant - The good news is that the focus on the revised ISO standard is more on improving business processes and not on putting together documentation for the auditor. The outcome is that achievements of certified companies these days have a great impact and lots of shareholders, employees, customers and even the top management see this. This new "Process Approach" is a sensible way to align improvement efforts throughout the company with actual business and customer needs.

Through working with lots of companies each year in attaining ISO 9001 certification ever since 2000, our consultants have developed three basic rules for implementing ISO in order to attain measurable, meaningful results from the investment:

The most common "mistake" we have seen companies make in implementing ISO for the first time is to make it very complex. This results in procedures nobody looks at, records nobody needs, training that does not impact the job. The reason behind this is commonly because of the implementers of the system taking a "better to be safe than sorry" approach because they don't really understand what the auditors will look for during the audit. All this does is (inadvertently) increase the current cost of the ISO certification without adding value to the business.

Instead, a conscious effort should be made to keep the number of documents to a minimum and concentrate on implementing those specifically needed by the company or required by the standard.

The second rule is to improve performance for both the company and the customer and this could be attained by improving the company's processes. Thus, you must implement everything to support the requirements of the customers and according to the company's operations. Because of the general language in the ISO standard, companies could specifically tailor their QMS to meet their unique needs while still complying with the intention of the certification.

Your business must benefit from the results of working with a particular requirement which is aligned with your management approach.

The third guideline is based on an understanding that the worst reason to implement something is only to show it to the auditor. If an ISO requirement is being talked about during your implementation and a comment is made like "I don't know why we are implementing this but we have to do it to satisfy the auditor", then return to guidelines one and two above. So as to meet ISO requirement, a flexible system must be developed and implemented to suit and add value to your business. Make certain that your ISO processes and documents are simple enough to add value to your business. If you do so, the auditor will surely be pleased.