WHAT EXACTLY IS ISO CERTIFIED? AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Updated: Feb 22, 2022
In a global marketplace, checks and balances need to be in place. Otherwise, it would be difficult to maintain consistency and quality across industries and nations. International standards help to keep a level playing field, and one such organization is ISO.
WHAT IS ISO CERTIFICATION?
ISO certification certifies that a management system, manufacturing process, service, or documentation procedure has all the requirements for standardization and quality assurance. ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent, non-governmental, international organization that develops standards to ensure the quality, safety, and efficiency of products, services, and systems.
ISO certifications exist in many areas of industry, from energy management and social responsibility to medical devices and energy management. ISO standards are in place to ensure consistency. Each certification has separate standards and criteria and is classified numerically. For instance, the ISO certification we currently hold at Mead Metals is ISO 9001:2015.
ISO 9001 DEFINITION
The certification ISO 9001:2008 includes three components: ISO, 9001, and 2015. Here's what each component represents:
As mentioned above, ISO refers to the International Organization for Standardization. This organization develops the standards, and it does in order to certify businesses or organizations. Certification is handled third-party and tested annually.
The number appearing after ISO classifies the standard. All standards within the ISO 9000 family refer to quality management. ISO 9001 is among ISO's best-known standards, and it defines the criteria for meeting a number of quality management principles. It helps businesses and organizations be more efficient and improve customer satisfaction.
The final number in an ISO certification refers to the version of the standard that's being met and is represented by the calendar year those standards were launched. 2015 is the fifth edition of ISO 9001. It was launched in September 2015, and Mead Metals has updated its processes to meet the specifications of this newest version.
WHAT DOES ISO 9001 CERTIFICATION MEAN?
If an organization bills themselves as "ISO 9001 Certified," this means the organization has met the requirements designated under ISO 9001 (which you can read in full here). ISO 9001 requires organizations to define and follow a quality management system that is both appropriate and effective while also requiring them to identify areas for improvement and take action toward those improvements.
As a result, it's typically understood that an organization claiming ISO 9001 certification is an organization with products and services that meet quality standards.
ISO CERTIFICATION EXPLAINED
In order to sell to certain industries, being ISO 9001 certified is required — the automotive industry is a popular example. We were certified to ISO in 1998, and it's helped our organization in numerous ways.
ISO standards have given us a layout of what needs to be done on every order. We know the standards that need to be met, and we have the tools in place to ensure quality, consistency, and safety. What we do, how we check for quality, and what's required of us is all laid out by ISO.
ISO certification standards also help keep our products and services relevant. When the standards change, we change along with them. When we work with new customers, we send them our certification details so they know they can expect ISO standards be met.
HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT NEW ISO STANDARDS?
The best way to learn about new, revised, or updated ISO standards is from ISO themselves. As the organization that sets the standards, they would be the best source.
Additionally, there are outlets that offer summaries and explanations of ISO updates to help individuals and businesses understand them. For instance, the website 9001SIMPLIFIED detailed what changed when ISO 9001 changed from 2008 to 2015. the 2015 update has:
A different structure (High Level Structure)
A process approach
More focus on input and output
Risk-based thinking at its core
A focus on the context of the organization
Leadership and commitment updates
Better integration with other ISO standards
WHAT ARE THE TRAINING TIMELINES FOR ISO STANDARDS?
All in all, the training timeline will depend on numerous factors including the understanding of the requirements, the preparedness of an organization, and the size and complexity of the organization. Still, most can expect to receive their ISO 9001:2015 certification in three to six months.
Remember, individuals cannot become ISO certified. Only businesses and organizations can. It's also worth noting that ISO doesn't provide the certification. Instead, certification is made possible through third party organizations.
When ISO 9001:2015 became available in September 2015, there was a three-year transition period for businesses and organizations to receive training and update processes, which allowed businesses of all shapes and sizes the time they needed to receive training and update processes.