Wondering What To Do For ISO 9001 For Small Business? Best Practices For Certification

Wondering What To Do For ISO 9001 For Small Business? Best Practices For Certification

You may be wondering exactly what to do for ISO 9001 for small business. Keep in mind that ISO Certification is a significant step for a small business to raise its reputation. Indeed notes that ISO certification allows a company to establish its credibility among consumers, business partners, and other stakeholders. For small businesses, ISO 9001 certification can make them stand out in a crowded field. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) informs us that ISO 9001 deals with the establishment and maintenance of a quality management system (QMS). Unfortunately, the road to certification is complicated. Most companies need to delve into what to do for ISO 9001 for small business. Luckily, we can break down the process in an easy-to-understand way.

The Overview Of the Process

We’ve covered a simplified method of getting ISO 9001 certification before, but for small businesses we’ve condensed the process into a few appropriate steps:

  • Adopt the standard: Buy the standards publication, read it, and decide that you want to achieve certification.
  • Find a consultant: Ideally, a company that knows how to help small businesses meet the needs of the standard would be what you’re looking for.
  • Examine existing processes: See what your existing processes are and how they compare to the standard.
  • Make necessary adjustments: If your systems are already functioning in compliance with the standard, there’s nothing to do. If they aren’t up to standard, then you need to make changes and re-examine.
  • Select a registrar: This body will perform an external audit to ensure that you conform to the standard.
  • Deal with issues: After the audit finishes, you should address the shortcomings that the registrar found to achieve your certification.

The process seems simplistic when laid out like this, but each one of these steps has many smaller parts involved. Achieving certification is an ongoing process. Even after the certification, you will need to renew it every few years, which requires the systems you put in place to remain operational. Luckily, the ISO 9001 process has something designed just for this purpose.

The PDCA Cycle

If you want to know what to do for ISO 9001 for small businesses, the core of the continuous improvement process hinges on the PDCA cycle. PDCA stands for Plan-Do-Check-Act. It describes how a company should deal with meeting and maintaining the standards prescribed by the ISO 9001. Each of these steps has its own responsibilities:

  • Plan:

The planning stage defines the aims of the component, and the material and personnel needed to achieve those aims in line with the business policy.

  • Do:

Once the plan is finalized, the business proceeds to work to meet the previously outlined plan’s goals.

  • Check:

The process is monitored and compared to the plan. This step is usually where documentation happens, and corrective measures are suggested to ensure that the process conforms to the plan.

  • Act:

Suggestions proposed in the previous step are tested for viability, and if they are workable solutions, the business can then implement them.

A Wholistic Alignment: Understanding What To Do For ISO 9001 For Small Business

The ISO 9001 standard is unique in its approach since it allows businesses to align their business objectives with the implementation of their QMS. Part of the process requires that companies look inward and define their strengths and weaknesses, as well as external threats that could impact their industry. Additionally, the inclusion of employee awareness as an integral part of the process keeps everyone on the same page. It helps promote buy-in at the employee level to establish and maintain the ISO 9001 standard.

Interested in seeing what ISO 9001 can do for your small business? Contact Sync Resource today to find out what to do for ISO 9001 for small business.

What is the Simple Differences Between an ISO Technical Specification and an ISO Standard?

What is the Simple Differences Between an ISO Technical Specification and an ISO Standard?

We all know about ISO standards, and this very blog has covered several certifications, but we haven’t uncovered ISO technical specifications.

The International Standards Organization (ISO) has dedicated a lot of resources into setting up the standards needed so that companies can achieve certification. Standardized approaches such as using ISO 9001 for developing a quality management service (QMS) are ideal for businesses that need guidance in instituting this particular element of their company. However, standards, such as ISO 9001, aren’t the only documentation that the ISO produces. There is also the issue of ISO technical specifications, which this article will intend to shed some light on.

Defining an ISO Technical Specification (TS)

In a previous post, we covered what defines a standard, namely, a series of requirements for standardization and quality assurance. ISO technical specifications are distinct from this definition because they relate to areas that the ISO hasn’t fully developed complete standards on just yet. The ISO mentions that a TS addresses work that hasn’t completed the entire range of technical development.

In the future, the specification may form the basis of an International Standard. Unfortunately, unlike the rigorous feedback system that established ISO standards puts in place, technical specifications have no means of delivering feedback to know how well the system works.

Why Do ISO Technical Specifications Exist?

Even though they lack feedback mechanisms, technical specifications are still useful in providing a guideline for companies engaged in work within an industry that doesn’t have a current international standard. They are published to be used as-is, while the final instructions are going through the process of industry consensus.

Before the TS becomes publishable, however, two-thirds of the participating members of an IEC technical committee or subcommittee must first approve a technical specification. The final approval is similar to that of a complete standard with the exception that the final vote for approval takes place at the Draft Technical Specification stage as opposed to the Committee Draft phase.

The Difference Between Requirements and Guidance

At its heart, the difference between an ISO standard and a technical specification can boil down to the question of guidance or requirement. Standards have a list of requirements that the companies that intend to seek certification must conform to. Among these include well-designed feedback mechanisms and audits to ensure that the company maintains the standards they previously achieved.

On the other end of the spectrum is the technical specification. The TS doesn’t come with any rules that a business needs to follow. Instead, they offer a valuable guide to developing systems that may achieve certification if the specification evolves to become a full ISO standard.

The major difference, therefore, between the standard and the specification are twofold. The standard states requirements for certification and is fully fleshed out to offer critical feedback for improvement. The specification, on the other hand, lacks feedback mechanisms, and offer suggestions as opposed to hard requirements.

Are ISO Technical Specifications Useful to a Company Seeking ISO Certification?

If a company is seeking certification for an established ISO standard, they can rely on the published requirements to help streamline their processes. However, if a business is investigating an area that hasn’t yet had an ISO standard defined, then the only publication they can rely on would be the technical specification. Sometimes it may take a while for a technical specification to become a standard because consensus hasn’t yet been reached or because standardization may be viewed as immature.

Even so, the technical specifications can rival compete ISO standards in terms of completeness. They can provide a useful roadmap to companies that don’t yet have a finalized list of requirements to work with to gain certification. Are you interested in following the guidelines set up for your industry by the ISO, but don’t know how to implement the suggestions of a technical specification? Give us a call today to learn more about how these technical specifications can improve your competitiveness and how Sync Resource can help you meet the high bar for international standards.

What is ISO Compliance and How Does This Save Money?

What is ISO Compliance and How Does This Save Money?

What is ISO compliance? An ISO-compliant business conforms to the rules, regulations, and requirements set forth by the International Organization for Standards (ISO). The ISO sets forth a series of standards that apply to the reliability, safety, environmental friendliness, and product quality of a firm. A company that is ISO compliant can apply to become certified by a third-party organization. If you’re interested in getting professional guidance on ISO certification, contact us today.

Who Is the ISO?

The International Organization for Standards includes more than 164 sovereign states. The organization regularly revamps standards processes, and the most recent changes occurred in 2015. The updates require the consultation of each of the members. The updated standards only come into effect when a majority of members agree to the changes.

The standards outlined in the ISO compliance documents focus on ensuring that enterprises have a quality management system instituted within their business. The quality management system for a company consists of processes, policies, and documentation that help the firm better serve consumers.

What is ISO Compliance for?

At the heart, the ISO’s regulations are about ensuring that a company conforms to internationally accepted standards. These standards exist across a wide range of industries.

At present, ISO compliance is particularly applicable in a handful of industries, including:

  • Construction
  • Healthcare
  • Engineering
  • Technology
  • Manufacturing

Businesses don’t need to have a minimum size to qualify for certification. Even small companies can conform to ISO standards and qualify for certification.

When Can a Company Seek ISO Compliance?

A business can assign a compliance officer at any point in time. Ideally, the compliance officer will guide their internal processes so that they will conform to the requirements set forward in the ISO regulations.

What is ISO Compliance Certification?

What is ISO compliance and what is certification: The difference between compliance and certification exists with how they interact with each other. A business that is compliant with the requirements of the ISO can go on to become certified. The same process by which a firm starts the process of certification can help the company become compliant. However, compliance without certification doesn’t benefit a business. If you would like to turn your compliance into accreditation, we can help with that.

How Does a Business Become Compliant?

ISO Compliant businesses should follow the same processes by which a company gains certification. ISO certification aims to have a well-documented quality management system in place. A company can achieve this in several ways. However, while a business might follow guidelines as to how to implement their management system, each one is unique to a particular firm, industry, or product. A company seeking to attain compliance may do so by following a few noteworthy steps, namely:

  • Prepare for Compliance:
    Preparation comes with the consideration of whether the business will apply for certification or not. Certification carries with it the burden of regular audits and eventual re-certification. It also offers significant benefits over compliance. If your company is interested in certification, we can help.
  • Outlining the Quality Management System:
    This step enables the business to have a general guideline of its quality management process. Within this step, the company needs to document every procedure that it intends to put in place to make for more straightforward implementation at the next step.
  • Making the Management System a Reality:
    At this step, the business seeks to bring its quality management system into its business procedures. Employees introduce the outlined elements into their daily processes.
  • Internal Auditing:
    Ideally, if a business intends to undergo certification, then they would have personnel assigned as their ISO compliance officer. This officer has the task of ensuring the business’s activities conform to the ISO standards through internal audits.Companies that intend to garner certification eventually can rely on their compliance officer for internal audits. However, external audits need to occur. This requirement falls to a third-party ISO registrar, chosen by the company.
What is ISO Certification?

What is ISO Certification?

What is ISO Certification? The International Standards Organization (ISO) has outlined a series of requirements for standardization and quality assurance. The ISO is an internationally recognized body that is responsible for developing standards of quality assurance. The ISO itself doesn’t grant certification. Instead, the certification comes from a third-party organization that is responsible for ensuring that companies who want to be certified adhere to the ISO’s requirements. Certification is usually a requirement for bidding on individual contracts.

What is ISO Certification for?

Businesses that want to increase their marketability should think about certification. The International Standards Organization is recognized worldwide as an organization that focuses on maintaining quality. As a result, certification makes a business more likely to be chosen as a contract awardee.

Where Can a Business Get Certified?

Several third-party organizations exist that allow for certification. The process for accreditation differs for each organization. The cost for smaller businesses will be less than for larger firms. At its core, the ISO certification process deals with ensuring that a company documents its processes extensively. In addition to the initial assessment, companies that are certified will need to undergo periodic audits to retain the certification. The certification process has several steps, including:

Preparation: The company decides whether it wants to hire a consultant or undertake the certification process themselves. Consultants can help the business because of their knowledge of the certification process, saving the business time. If you’re interested in getting professional advice with your ISO application, contact us today.

Documentation: Businesses should document their quality management systems. Ideally, a business should spend time documenting every detail of its management systems. More documentation is better than less.

Implement the System: After outlining the system, it’s up to the business to ensure they apply the processes. The aim is to incorporate the [process improvements into the daily function of employees.

Internal Audits: Certification requires both internal and external audits. the internal audits happen first, usually conducted by the company’s lead ISO certification personnel. The audit helps the business to understand where it needs improvement to conform to the requirements of the ISO.

External Audits and Certification: the final part of the process relies on third-party auditors that are part of an ISO registrar. These businesses audit a company to ensure that it conforms to the guidelines set out by the ISO. If they do, then the company is granted certification.

What is ISO Certification Process?

While the best-case scenario runs between six to eight weeks, typically, there is no set period for a company to attain certification. On starting the process, a business usually gets a letter that they can include with any tender submissions to show that they are in the process of obtaining ISO certification. After the company attains certification, they will receive an announcement letter that states their compliance.

Why Should a Business Get ISO Certification?

Aside from making the business more marketable, there are a few essential points that certification addresses. Certified companies will demand greater respect within their industry. Their business processes will demonstrate a higher level of consistency and control as long as they conform to the requirements. Customers particularly will have the peace of mind that the business is certified to follow best-practices. Additionally, companies that maintain ISO standards have to keep employee training in line with those requirements. Its employees, therefore, have a firmer grasp of the organization’s goals and procedures. This translates into better employee performance.

What is ISO Certification Time Frame?

As mentioned before, companies that are certified need to undergo periodic audits to ensure they retain the certification. These occur yearly. In these audits, the auditing body examines the company’s quality management system to ensure that it conforms to the ISO’s standards. After three years, a re-certification audit happens. A company has the chance to lose its certification because of severe violations. Occasionally, auditors might allow for some leeway to businesses that are in danger of losing their ISO certification to make changes.

ISO 9001:2015 – Quality Management System Performance Evaluation

ISO 9001:2015 – Quality Management System Performance Evaluation

A quality management system (QMS) is a formulized system that documents processes, procedures and responsibilities for achieving policies and objectives. A quality management system (QMS) provides a basic cadre to meet customer requirements and legal requirements and improve the effectiveness and efficiency on a continuous basis, by not compromising on the productivity and loss of time. ISO 9001:2015, the international standard specifies the requirements for effective quality management systems and is the most prominent approach to quality management systems.

Evaluating Quality Managements System:

1. Monitoring, Measurement, Analysis and Evaluation:

The ISO standard emphasizes on process approach and the review or checking phase. The standard describes that what type of data is to be collected, how data is interpreted and what actions to be taken against the data. ISO registration or internal audits based on quality costs, customer response or elimination of errors measure the effectiveness.

a. Quality Reports:

Quality Management System effectiveness lies in the record of quality department for that purpose quality reports must be designed and implemented on regular basis. These reports must not be just a showoff rather for the analysis and must base on reality so that reality base decision making can be done.

b. Quantify the quality:

Value measurements that demonstrates a quality system’s effectiveness in terms of rework or scrap costs clearly provides a cause and effect relationship between quality and profit. If scrap and rework costs are in defined limits then Quality Management System is working effectively.

c. Production Error Rate (Rejection Rate):

Every production system involves the four factors (Man, Machine, Method, and Material) contribute potentially in quality. Product errors range from 2 percent to 5 percent. If the product error is in control limits then the System is working effectively otherwise some serious actions are needed to be taken.

d. Quality Defect Reports:

Customer satisfaction can be used as a yardstick for measurement of effectiveness of Quality Management System. Feedback reports can help a lot in this manner from the consumer side. Highlighted issues must be resolved in proper and serious way.

3. Customer Satisfaction:

Data about the extent of customer satisfaction must be collected, analyzed and monitored to ensure that quality is aligned with customer’s expectation. Data can be collected through surveys, quality defect reports, warranty claims, sales channel reports. On time delivery and order accuracy must be included in the data collection.

4. Analysis and Evaluation of data:

Collected data shows the performance of quality management system that’s why data must be analyzed and evaluated to suggest corrective and preventive measures accordingly.

  • Internal Audit:

Planned Periodic Internal Audit confirm that the efficacy of QMS. A formal internal audit program needs to be established and results of the internal audits are used to make corrections and improvements in the system.

  • Management Review Meetings:

Management review meetings conducted periodically help to manage the change and to properly address the improvements suggested previously.

Benefits of Effective Quality Management System:

Implementation of an effective quality management system has very significant impacts in every aspect of an organization’s performance. Two important benefits of implementation of documented quality management systems are:

  • External Benefits (Meeting the customer’s requirements):
  1. Improves: Product and service quality, Customer satisfaction, Repeat sales, Company Image, Market Value
  2. Reduces: Complaints, Warranty claims, rejection ratio,
  • Internal Benefits (Meeting the organization’s requirements):
  1. Improves: Management efficiency, Planning, Problem Solving, Supplier Control, Communications, Change Management, Discipline, Staff Morale, Training program, growth, Profit
  2. Reduces: Over processing, Over Production, Travelling, Rework, Waste, Costs(Direct or Indirect), Staff turnover, Absentees, Production Delays

Improvement of image and credibility:

Quality management system is based on ISO 9001 which is internationally recognized standard. An effective quality management system ensures the consistent production of good quality products and that’s why helping in improve the image of the company. When companies look for supplier, it is often a requirement to have quality management system or company is ISO certified. So, certification can be used as a powerful tool when in competition with other companies.

Improvement of customer satisfaction:

The ultimate goal of a quality management system is to meet or exceed the customer’s expectation by providing good quality products with a continuous improvement plan. Customer satisfaction is one of the quality management principles. Loyalty of the customer is linked with its satisfaction and it helps in retention of the customer. At the end loyal customers bring in more revenues and profits.

Improvement in processes:

ISO 9001 emphasizes on process approach and devise a plan for continual improvement, by finding out the flaws and issues associated with the processes. These issues may include like travelling, inventory, wastes, unbalanced lines, unequal distribution of workers and not efficiently using the workers skills. This can be done by having an improvement plan for the timely maintenance of the machines and training of the workers to hone their skills. Skill development plan for the staff can better help in it.

Evidence based decision making:

Collected data and a comprehensive analysis and results obtained from it provides basis for decision making. A good decision is that which is made on actual place, in actual conditions and on actual time. Gemba Walks (Genchi Gembutsu) can be conducted to realize the reality of problem and help in analyze the situation.

Effective change management:

Change management is also a key factor which is a hurdle as well as an opportunity for the improvement of the business. Workers and staff always oppose the change because they do not want to come out of their comfort zone. That’s why an effective change management plays its role here and convinces the workers that this improvement is a good improvement both for them and company. To overhead this, awareness sessions can be conducted, in which workers and staff is told about the benefits of the new system and how will new system help them and increase efficiency and productivity. Benefits may be related to ease in work, better environment, better health activities and Pollution free environment.

Change implementation is a tough task because it involves a complete change of mind of working staff. That’s why ISO standard focuses on continual improvement rather than a complete and abrupt change.

Relations improvement between supplier and vendors:

Firm must know that their relationship with other parties in the supply chain impacts on overall success of the firm. It is better to develop a strong bond with suppliers and customers by mutual understanding. An effective Quality Management System provides a frame work to evaluate the vendors on the basis of their quality and on time supply schedule. For evaluation of vendors audits are best way.

Better Control of records and documents:

Documents are the evidence of judging the improvement or effectiveness of a system and they are evidence of conformity to the requirements of ISO standards. Therefore, quality management system provides better control of documents which are easily identifiable and retrievable when needed.