Nuts & Bolts of ISO 9001 Certification
What does certification to ISO 9001 mean?
ISO 9001 certification involves an independent third party assessing an implemented Quality Management System (QMS).
The certification body will assess conformity of the system your business has in place to the ISO 9001:2008 standard.
This assessment involves visiting the organization and appraising the relevant systems and processes.
Once the assessment is complete, and recommendations are presented by the assessment team to be considered and perhaps acted upon by your organization, a certification will be issued. Once the assessment is successfully completed and recommendations are considered, a certification indicates that you have gone through the assessment, and your systems have been compared to the ISO 9001 standards.
Maintaining ISO 9001 certification will involve periodic reassessments.
While this is a general outline of the process, there are some basic steps involved in the certification procedure.
Basic Steps to ISO 9001 Certification
Make contact with a third-party assessment group specializing in ISO 9001 certification and ISO training. The assessment team will outline a solution detailing the best services for your business, along with a proposal for estimated costs.
Work with the assessment team, usually through a Client Manager who acts as your main point of contact throughout the process and beyond. Over that time, the assessment team will develop an in-depth knowledge of your business and support you through each stage of assessment.
Consider relevant training for your organization. Whether you are looking to implement a management system or simply to increase your general awareness of the standard, there are a range of workshops, seminars and training courses you can chose from. In addition, there are many different training formats available for your business. Most of these are available as open or e-learning courses, either off-site or on your premises.
The assessment itself has two stages: assessment and review. First, a desktop review of your management system against ISO 9001 is necessary, where omissions or weaknesses that need resolving before formal assessment can be identified. Once these issues have been addressed, full on-site assessment can be completed, after which the assessment group can make their detailed recommendations.
Once the assessment has been successfully completed, the assessment team will issue a certificate of registration, which is valid for three years and explains the full scope of your management system.
There are professionals who specialize in ISO 9001 assessment and certification. They are prepared to be able to walk you through the process from start to finish, to get you through the basic steps to ISO 9001 certification.