ISO 9001 Quality Management

29 September 2010

The ISO 9001 quality management standards are the leading quality system that is recognized around the world.  This is the quality system that is currently being used in over 170 countries by nearly 900,000 companies, as a framework to guide their quality management plan.

The ISO 9001 quality management standards are just that, standards and not a process for guaranteed quality into a product. While it is true this process of becoming certified does have a side benefit of usually increasing the quality of the deliverables of a business, it does not occur in all cases.

Plainly put, an ISO 9001 quality management program is taking what a company is saying it is going to do, then make sure they do what they say they are going to do, and then document it. It boils down to that basic principle.

The purpose behind the ISO 9001 quality management system is to bring the highest level of customer satisfaction to a business by way of delivering a quality product. This is done by following the standards that comprise the program.

For a company to be certified in the ISO 9001 quality management standards, they must meet certain requirements. One of the main requirements is to have every procedure that is a part of business be properly documented. These processes must then be overseen to ensure they are being followed as written.

During the certification process of ISO 9001 quality management programs, all of the documents will be examined, so keeping thorough records is a must. The process must be in constant review to see if any improvement can be made. There must be a documented process for changing a process to the new and improved version.

One of the key components to becoming certified in ISO 9001 quality management is to have a working improvement program that itself is well documented. When all of this is in place, then an internal audit should be conducted. Anything that is exposed in the audit must be corrected before the next step should occur.

The last step in ISO 9001 quality management certification is to have your company audited by an independent agency. If it passes the audit, then the company can claim to be ISO 9001 certified.