Obtaining ISO 9001 certification: 5 points to remember

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You are the manager of a training organization or a consulting firm and you want to differentiate yourself from certified organizations with ISO 9001 certification. What is it? What are the advantages? How to get it?

What is ISO 9001:2015?

The ISO 9001: 2015 standard is a standard that provides the requirements for the implementation of a quality management system. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent organization that publishes international standards. ISO 9001 certification is aimed at organizations of all sizes. More than a million companies are already ISO 9001 certified.

The ISO 9001:2015 certification process details the steps from obtaining ISO 9001:2015 certification to obtaining the certificate. Note that the certification process is identical to ISO 21001: 2018 certification.

Why obtain ISO 9001 certification?

The advantages of ISO 9001: 2015 certification are numerous and varied. First of all, it allows you to improve the performance of your organization by implementing a structured management system recognized by all. In the UK, 48,000 organizations are certified; ISO 9001: 2015 certification gives you a competitive advantage and allows you to differentiate yourself. The constant search for improvement is a guarantee of quality to your customers and demonstrates your ability to satisfy them and meet their requirements. Then, ISO 9001 certification allows you to control the risks and opportunities identified which can be a vector of an increase in turnover. Finally, the advantage of ISO 9001: 2015 certification is that it is international and allows you to be recognized outside our borders.

The benefits of implementing an ISO 9001: 2015 management system are recognized, as evidenced by the number of ISO 9001: 2015 certified companies which continues to grow over the years.

The principles of ISO 9001: 2015

According to the ISO 9000 standard, the definition of quality is as follows: Ability of a set of characteristics of an object (product, service, etc.) to satisfy requirements.

The ISO 9001: 2015 standard is based on the 7 principles of quality management:

  • Customer focus
  • The leadership
  • Staff involvement
  • The process approach
  • The improvement
  • Evidence-based decision making
  • Management of relations with interested parties

The ISO 9001: 2015 standard provides a framework for organizing and managing company activities. It is the management system that is certified, i.e. how the company is organized, performs, and satisfies its customers.

These main principles of the ISO 9001: 2015 standard allow the control of the organization’s processes but also the management of them.

How to obtain ISO 9001: 2015 certification?

ICPF offers you 6 steps to obtain certification:

  • Registration and request: After creating your account, a request form must be completed. This form allows you to retrieve information from the organization to be certified and analyze its needs.
  • Contracting: Once the form is completed, a contract proposal is sent to you and a certification assistant will contact you to assist you in the registration process. Upon signing the contract, you are engaged in the ISO 9001 certification process.
  • Preparation: The preparation phase for the ISO 9001: 2015 certification audit then begins. Once in possession of the ISO 9001: 2015 standard, the organization involved in the certification process meets its requirements by implementing implements a quality management system.
  • Audit: When the organization can demonstrate its compliance, the audit can be carried out.
  • Certification: At the end of the audit and after having demonstrated its compliance with the ISO 9001: 2015 standard, ICPF issues the certificate following the technical review of the audited file. The certification cycle begins on the day the ISO 9001:2015 certificate is issued.

The ISO 9001 certification process

When signing the contract, you commit to the ISO 9001: 2015 certification process. The initial ISO 9001: 2015 audit takes place in 2 stages described below. Once ISO 9001:2015 certification has been issued by ICPF, the 3-year cycle begins. During this cycle, one audit per year is to be planned, i.e. 2 follow-up audits as well as a renewal audit. Once the certification has been renewed, the organization starts again for a new 3-year cycle.

During the initial audit and the renewal audit, all of the organization’s processes are audited. Conversely, during follow-up audits, sampling is carried out on the audited activities. All activities are audited based on the accumulation of follow-up audits.

The ISO 9001: 2015 pre-audit

The purpose of the pre-audit is to communicate to the candidate organization a factual assessment of its state of readiness about the certification requirements, and in particular any possible deviations. He does not understand the recommendation of solutions to resolve them.

It must be clear to the applicant organization that the pre-audit does not constitute an exhaustive evaluation of its quality system and a guarantee of obtaining certification. The pre-audit can take place remotely or on-site.

The initial ISO 9001: 2015 audit

The ISO 9001: 2015 certification audit is carried out in 2 stages:

  • Step 1 is a documentary review of the quality system. This step, which can take place remotely, will make it possible to define whether your organization is ready to move on to step 2 and to validate the audit plan.
  • Step 2 is the assessment of your system according to the requirements of ISO 9001: 2015. The auditor will audit your system process by process. The closing meeting of stage 2 allows the conclusions to be presented to the auditee as well as areas for improvement, strong points and sensitive points as well as possible non-conformities. If there are no non-conformities or they have been lifted, ISO 9001: 2015 certification is issued to you after your file has been audited.

The ISO 9001: 2015 surveillance or monitoring audit

ISO 9001:2015 surveillance audits are planned on-site at least once per calendar year. Their objective is to ensure the ability of the candidate organization to remain compliant with the certification requirements in the interval between two certification renewal audits.

The ISO 9001: 2015 renewal audit

The aim of the ISO 9001: 2015 renewal audit is to confirm the maintenance of conformity and effectiveness of the management system as a whole as well as its relevance and ongoing applicability to the scope of the certification. A certification renewal audit should be planned and conducted promptly to arrange for renewal before the certificate expiration date.

Conclusion

The ISO 9001: 2015 certification process allows the organization to put its quality system under control and identify possible deviations or non-conformities. The corrective actions and solutions provided make it possible to involve the organization in a constant process of continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.

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