There are over a million organizations in the world today that are certified either to ISO 14001 or to ISO 9001, 2 international management system standards that have impacted the way companies are conducting their businesses. ISO 9001, in particular, is in such high demand that as early as 2009 approximately 800,000 small, medium and large companies had already sought to put their processes in line with ISO 9001 protocols. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Geneva-based developer of voluntary international standards, itself, only recently received certification to the popular standard.
What is ISO 9001 and why do companies are clamoring to get ISO 9001 certification? The answer is simple: it is very good for business.
ISO 9001 (officially known as ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management Systems—Requirements) is a family of standards which lays down a foundation of best practices and provides the requirements for a quality management system that a company needs to help it demonstrate and ensure that it consistently delivers quality products or services to its customers, that it meets legislated guidelines and regulatory requirements and that its system allows for the enhancement of customer satisfaction, staff motivation, and constant overall improvement.
Specifically, ISO 9001 does the following for the adoptive organization:
- Powers up marketing efforts and enhances marketing image
- Promotes international trade via conformance with international quality standards
- Retools operation into an efficient machine
- Improves employee motivation, awareness, and morale
- Pumps up productivity because of improved employee morale and a well-running operation
- Reduces waste
- Reduces costs
- Reduces audits
- Spotlights organizational and operational infirmities
- Increases customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Boosts profit
ISO 9001 certification is not only for all sizes of organization but also for companies in all kinds of industry. The ISO 9001 standards were developed to be universally applicable and are for all enterprises, irrespective of size, type, and product and services. ISO 9001 certification covers not just the people in the organization but also the training for them, the organization’s facilities, equipment, and its services.
It might seem though that ISO 9001 is only for managers and Quality Control, but nothing can be further from the truth. The standard is actually for the whole organization, quality management being a system-wide undertaking. Executives, managers, and workers are all in the loop and have their responsibilities under ISO 9001 specified for them.