‘ISO 9001 is a tick box exercise’
For many, the very mention of ISO 9001 conjures images of red tape, tick box exercises and a high maintenance system that slows down getting on with the job. It’s seen as a sales tool, a certificate to wave at prospective clients and hang proudly in reception, and a process that slows the business down every year when the auditor is due.
While it’s true that many organisations set out to implement ISO 9001 because they have been told it’s a requirement of their customer, those who invest their resources in ensuring the system is implemented in the correct manner have found the benefits far exceed simply ticking a box on a client’s wish list. Operational efficiencies, new market opportunities and employee engagement are just some of the benefits that are consistently reported.
‘ISO 9001 tells us how to manage our business but it doesn’t fit for us’
The standard has come a long way since its original form in 1987, with each revision becoming less prescriptive whilst adapting in line with the most up to date management principles. The standard is often thought to be purely for big businesses or purely for the manufacturing sector, but ISO 9001 is deemed a generic standard, meaning it can be applied to any organisation, across any sector, large or small, irrespective of whether it produces products or is service-related. It has already been implemented by more than a million organisations across 175 countries.
The emphasis of the latest revision of the standard, ISO 9001:2015, is on maintaining well defined operating processes, risk-based decision making and striving to continually improve what you do to the benefit of all stakeholders.
A good quality management system is built around the business and not simply to satisfy the standard. It should be easy to maintain and set up so you can focus on your business needs and not on ISO 9001. It does not force you to change any of your operating processes but ensures that they are appropriate to your business, communicated, consistent and controlled.
The standard simply provides a framework for improving any organisation’s quality system by addressing seven quality management principles:
- Customer focus
- Engagement of people
- Process approach
- Evidence based decision making
- Relationship management.
‘ISO 9001 is something the quality team do’
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Whilst a quality manager may take overall responsibility for the system, for any management system to function and be effective it must become ‘business as usual’ for all staff and form part of the company’s culture and DNA. In developing a QMS, staff at all levels should be engaged and consulted and the management team take responsibility for their departmental processes … after all they are the ones who will live and breathe the final solution.
‘ISO 9001 is expensive to implement and maintain’
While there are certainly costs associated with implementing and maintaining the standard such as certification, external audits, internal resource, additional monitoring processes etc. the benefits of implementation far outweigh the costs in both increased revenue potential and increased efficiencies.
ISO 9001:2015 Implementation
At Executive Compass, we have a team of experienced consultants who can support you at any stage of the process to ensure your journey to certification is not just a tick box exercise but a genuine opportunity to gain additional respect for your business. Check out our quality management system services here
Contact our team today to discuss how we can help.