ISO 9001 certification represents a formal acknowledgment by an accreditation organization that a company meets the intent of quality management standards issued by the International Organization for Standardization. A company receives this award after successfully passing an audit examining how well the standards were implemented and verifying the compliance of the company`s employees to the guidelines.
The International Organization for Standardization has issued more than 18,000 standards since it opened its doors in 1947. This non-profit group, based in Geneva, Switzerland, invites countries to join its efforts in homogenizing industrial standards so equipment, services and working methods become compatible across national borders. ISO 9001 started being developed in the late 1980s and addresses quality management.
ISO 9001 History
The British standard, BS5750, became the inspiration and foundation from which ISO worked to develop the ISO 9001 standards. BS5750 was deployed during World War II in the United Kingdom to help munitions factories prevent disastrous explosions during the assembly of bombs. The principles of process control and close monitoring of defects were adopted by ISO 9001
ISO 9001 Standards
ISO 9001 aims at implementing processes that ensure customer satisfaction on a continuous basis. Its principles follow the motto "Document how to do things best and follow the instructions accurately." ISO 9001 places great emphasis on writing down how employees best perform their work. This ensures anyone who performs an activity can refer to a book of instructions. Secondly, ISO 9001 promotes the implementation of checkpoints that report deviations from the norm. When a defect surfaces, employees must investigate immediately and correct the process or retrain the operator.
Certification is a two-step accreditation process. It starts with contacting an accreditation firm residing within the country of the plant seeking the award. The accreditation group then contracts auditors to visit and evaluate the company. One or more auditors spend several days on site. Upon successful audit, the accreditation firm grants certification. This process needs to be renewed every three years to maintain the certification. Auditors will continue to visit annually to monitor the closure of past issues.