ISO Quality Management Systems

ISO9001 is the international standard for Quality Management.  It is part of a family of standards (ISO14001 for Environmental Standards, ISO45001 for Health and Safety, and many more), but ISO9001 is the best known and most popular.

Being accredited to ISO9001 gives suppliers, customers, investors and other interested parties the confidence that your business is managed to internationally acclaimed standards.  It follows the principles of Plan, Do, Check and Act.  The underlying feature of the standard is that of Continuous Improvement – something that all successful companies strive for.

Need to know more?  Here's a few frequently asked questions:

Do I have to change the way I do things when I implement ISO 9001?

Most likely not.  Your business is running, you and your staff know how to do things, you’re successful and customers wouldn’t keep coming back to you if they weren’t satisfied.  ISO 9001 will put a system to the running of your business so that your current standards are maintained and improved as the business grows.

Does ISO mean I have to keep loads of records?

Records do have to be kept for ISO 9001 compliance but the task is not onerous.  This is a lot easier now with the electronic systems that are available which means that transactions are traceable, and information can often be drawn out of the system for analysis and investigation purposes.

Will ISO take up a lot of my time to set up?

There are initial meetings for the compiler to analyse what happens in your company.  This is not a drawn-out process and there is little interference with the day-to-day business.  Once the system is written and agreed, then there is some time needed to implement it but as the system will be based on what you already do, this should be cut to a minimum.

Does ISO 9001 take a lot of time to run?

An ISO system will be based on what you already do.  For audit purposes (and for the benefit of your company) records must be kept and this may add to your existing workload in a small way.  Qualiform offers a service to assist with this on a monthly basis if it’s felt that there is not the staff to cope with it.

What does an ISO audit involve?

There are two types of audit – internal and external. An internal audit is conducted by staff or advisors such as Qualiform, and an external audit is conducted by the independent assessing body.  The length of the audit depends on the size of the business, but internal audits can be done section by section meaning little interference into the normal working day.  The least an external audit will take is a half day; auditors are not the ogres they are sometimes made out to be and often give the ‘benefit of the doubt’.

What is a quality non-conformance?

This is the word that everyone seems to fear about ISO9001!  Whether we call it a non-conformance, a mistake, an error, a complaint or a misunderstanding, something has gone wrong.  Well, things do go wrong, we all make mistakes.  The ISO9001 system will help you in the analysis and identification of the problem which, when investigated, may be different to what was originally thought.  It then helps you to look at ways to prevent the issue happening again - hence, continuous improvement.

Are there different types of accreditation?

Yes.  Qualiform recommend accreditation by a UKAS approved accreditation agency who are truly independent and operate according to the standards set out by the International Standards Organisation.  Some large organisations will only accept accreditation by UKAS approved accreditor.

What if I already am certified to ISO9001?

Qualiform has assisted many companies who already are certified, either by re-writing parts of the system to integrate changes made by the company, or in monthly maintenance or internal audits.

"Richard has always been a dedicated team player, both as an employee and as self-employed at Qualiform.  He has a good knowledge of ISO 9001 and it’s requirements.  More importantly, he can apply the knowledge in a practical way in order to assist any business striving to continuously improve."  NICK POLLARD, SENTURA GROUP

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