How to Get ISO 9001 Certified

If your company is seeking ways to increase your market share, improve customer satisfaction, implement cost-cutting strategies and advance operations, then it’s time to consider learning how to get ISO 9001 certified.

The first step to ISO 9001 certification is truly realizing its value

Before we outline the path that organizations should follow in order to get ISO 9001 certified, the number one step is truly realizing the value that the certification process provides.

While companies recognize that ISO 9001 is the standard in quality management systems, learning how to get certified and going through the process is beneficial in and of itself. Within every organization there’s an opportunity for change and improvement. The certification process not only uncovers improvement opportunities, but it also helps companies implement needed management system changes that will result in better business operations.

When going through the process, it’s important to remember that your company is not just preparing to become ISO 9001 certified; your company is also preparing for the implementation of quality management systems that are going to be put into action on a daily basis. These systems are an integral part of future success and staying competitive in today’s business market.

Keeping the immense value of the process in mind, the following outline will assist your organization in getting ISO 9001 certified.

How to get ISO 9001 certified – reviewing the standards

Before starting the ISO 9001 certification process, it’s important to review ISO’s quality systems management requirements. This information is essential in helping your organization become familiar with the standards and the level of quality that is expected in order to achieve certification.

How to get ISO 9001 certified – choosing your consultant

While some companies opt to perform assessments and audits themselves, there are several downfalls in this approach. The main goal of the certification process is to improve management systems so that they meet or exceed ISO standards. When organizations choose to do the certification prep themselves, it’s very challenging to be completely unbiased and to uncover all of the areas that require improvements. In addition, prepping for certification internally results in management having to spend a great deal of time away from normal day to day operations.

5M Solutions approaches ISO 9001 certification preparation objectively and without bias. Our focus is helping your business assess its current state of operations and the changes that need to be implemented in order improve management systems and meet the standards. This leaves your internal staff available to focus on business rather than the preparation process. We will also teach your company how to use quality management systems and realize all of the benefits associated with them.

How to get ISO 9001 certified – document preparation

ISO 9001 certification requires very specific documentation, including:

• Quality policies and objectives

• A quality manual

• Detailed documentation on how employees perform their jobs and additional procedural documentation

The documentation process is essential to certification as the auditor will verify that the needed documents are in place.

How to get ISO 9001 certified – gap assessment

Having a gap assessment completed is a valuable step when going through the certification process. Unless a company is just starting out, there should already be quality

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management systems in place and a gap assessment will help your organization determine the steps that need to be taken in order to improve the system so it meets ISO 9001 standards. The gap assessment is part of the planning stage – providing organizations with the pertinent information needed in order to implement the required changes in the next step.

How to get ISO 9001 certified – implementing required changes

Once it’s determined what changes need to be set in motion within the organization, it’s time to implement those changes. This is often the most time consuming and challenging step, especially if an organization has been working under their current quality management system for quite some time. Change can prove to be difficult, but when provided with the right tools and the mindset that the changes will assist with business improvement, the transition can be completed smoothly.

During the implementation process, another step that takes place is training. Management and employees have to be trained to use the new system and use it correctly. Once training

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has been conducted and your organization starts living the new system day in and day out, you will soon start to see the added value and improvements.

How to get ISO 9001 certified – assessing changes

During the certification process, companies have to ensure that they are following the new system and the new system has to be followed for a minimum of 2 months prior to the certification audit taking place.

How to get ISO 9001 certified – certification audit

Once the proper documentation is in place, assessments have been completed and the company has fully implemented their new quality management system for the time required, an audit is conducted by an ISO 9001 registrar. The registrar will verify that the documentation and operating procedures meet ISO 9001 quality management system standards and if no issues are found, the certification is issued.

Embracing the ISO 9001 certification process for improved business results

Going through ISO 9001 certification improves business systems and when companies embrace the process and find the true value, they acquire valuable knowledge and skills that will not only help them improve business operations, but will also assist the company in facing future challenges with ease.

Your next step to ISO 9001 certification

Obtaining ISO 9001 certification may present itself to be a challenging task, but with the right people and the right tools in place, the process and transition can be completed in a time effective manner, setting your organization on the path to business system improvements and your ultimate goal – getting certified.

5M Solutions provides assessment, management and business improvement services to manufacturing and services organizations in the United States. Our professionals have over 25 years in the certification and management system fields. We are ready to help you prepare for ISO 9001 certification.

The new ISO 9001 Standard is almost here – is your business ready to get certified?

A new version of the ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems Standard is almost ready and is expected to be published at the end of 2015. Once implemented, the current ISO 9001 certification (2008) will be phased out after a couple of years. Make sure your organization is ready for the new certification standards and contact 5M today!