ISO 9001 is the internationally recognised Quality Management System standard for organisations to prove their ability to provide products and services that meet the needs of their customers.
Accreditation demonstrates that an organisation not only meets the standard’s regulatory requirements, but also adheres to the objective of enhancing customer satisfaction through process improvements.
ISO 9001 certification is applicable to and can benefit any organisation, irrespective of size, industry, and type of product or service delivered.
Certification proves that the principles of ISO 9001 have been successfully implemented in an organisation. This gives stakeholders and clients confidence in a business’ ability to deliver on its promises. Certification is also a useful asset when bidding for contracts and can be specified as a tender requirement by some organisations.
To achieve certification, many organisations choose to work with professional providers who can guide them through the process. A key element of the standard is the evaluation of risks and opportunities. The right provider will ensure that your organisation not only conforms to the standard but is also focused on identifying opportunities for improvement.
With a wealth of providers from which to choose, follow our top tips to ensure you pick the right one for you.
1. Check company credentials
A Google search for certification providers is bound to bring up reams of firms from far and wide. It’s important, therefore, to do your research and make an informed decision about the reputation of potential providers.
The first step is to dedicate some time to checking out companies’ credentials. Online reviews enable you to see how other customers have rated a provider’s services, helping you to make a sensible decision and ensure you choose the right provider for your business. Don’t risk wasting time and money on a hastily-chosen provider only to uncover a track record of poor service halfway through the certification process.
While it may seem an obvious consideration, ensure you check that your chosen ISO certification provider is accredited. There are questionable operators in every industry. A little research could save you a considerable amount of stress. Take a look online and check that your chosen provider is accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).
Being UKAS-accredited means that a provider has been judged to be a competent certification body by a highly-qualified independent source. This helps to ensure that your chosen firm will provide accurate and impartial certification services that you can trust.
2. Seek experience
It’s helpful to choose a provider with proven experience in your particular industry. This will eliminate the need to expound on your business and will avoid lengthy explanations of how your organisation operates. A provider with industry experience can press on with scheduling audits, identifying gaps or weaknesses in your current Quality Management Systems and giving practical advice on how to improve.
It’s also important to choose a provider that can help you achieve the best possible results. Don’t be afraid to request case study evidence or genuine examples of how they’ve actively achieved positive results for their clients.
3. Pick the right partner
It’s important to choose a firm with the right cultural fit for your organisation. Pick a provider that promotes an open, honest and approachable culture. Ask potential providers about the type of service they offer, their customisation options and level of flexibility. The kind of industry you work in will affect the level of support or services you require. As such, take the time to discover what each provider can offer your business.
Talking to potential providers can give you a good understanding of their attitudes, the way they communicate and how they are likely to work with you. Your business will be much better off working with a provider that understands your organisation and seeks to build an effective partnership.
When picking a certification provider you need to carefully consider the type of working partnership you want. After all, your chosen provider will be working with you to achieve effective Quality Management Systems. If their services and support are substandard or their working methods don’t meet your expectations, this may prevent your business from achieving your quality management goals.
4. Size may matter
From small, customer-focused firms to large organisations with many team members, you will find a wide range of providers offering their services. Some may be local, whereas others will work online from a remote location.
You might prefer a personal approach with ongoing support and a commitment to customer service. Equally, you may place more emphasis on a cheaper, less personal option or a faster certification process.
Whatever the circumstances of your organisation, choose a partner committed to providing a cost-effective route to certification. A reputable provider’s processes will add value at every stage, delivering the best possible value for money.