This is a given in today’s business environment.
Without it you will be trampled by the competition or die a slow death under the compiled weight of your own waste and inefficiency.
Since most quality systems are derived from some form of ISO quality standards, it is fair to assume that your organization would require formal certification to one of these standards in order to take advantage of the many benefits they offer.
But this would be an inaccurate assumption.
Is ISO 9001 certification required?
So when you are faced with the inevitable question from an executive of an organization if ISO certification is going to add value to the company, the short answer may simply be: No!
But the more detailed answer is going to be: It depends!
There are certainly circumstances where making the operational and financial commitment to formal ISO certification will be a business necessity.
It may us be a requirement or norm within your particular industry, or your clients may demand it before they will enter into a contract with your company.
In these circumstances it simply becomes a necessary cost of doing business.
Like insurance or utilities. However, there are many other circumstances that will not require your organization to cough up the hefty initial and recurring fees required for certification.
Now that doesn’t mean you do not require a quality system, or that you should not base that system on ISO 9001.
It simply means you can take advantage of the globally recognized structure of ISO 9001 without the high cost of becoming formally certified.
I have personally worked within many organizations that have structured their quality management systems under the ISO 9001 standard, yet have not sought certification and have successfully operated within their scope of work very well.
The majority of their clients could care less whether they have the certificate posted in the from entrance of the head office, but will certainly require them to demonstrate that they have a ISO compliant quality system in place and that they are indeed following it.
This demonstration usually comes in the form of a QMS documentation review which is followed up with periodic audits to show conformance.
This system works extremely well and allows organizations the ability to acquire contracts without certification which, let’s face it, can be a financial burden for many.
So why use ISO 9001 to develop your quality system in the first place?
Well one easy answer to that question is that it is the most widely used and recognized standards for quality management in the world and has been fort many years.
So you can be certain that your quality system will be accepted and produce valuable benefits to your company.
Another solid reason is the fact that it makes the process of developing and implementing a quality system very easy for the organization’s management team.
The structure and requirements are all laid out in a single document that you can use to ensure you are hitting all the necessary points.
Many organizational leaders do not have the experience or expertise to take on this activity, so the ISO 9001 standard makes this a much less daunting task.
Although you would still be advised to bring in some form of expert help in this process.
So as you can see, a quality management system based on the ISO 9001 standard can be very beneficial to an organization, but do not gasp at the thought of becoming certified as soon as you here the word ISO.
You can still get a tremendous amount of value from implementing a system that is simply compliant to the standard and yet not formally certified.
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