FAQs About ISO

The ISO story began in London 1946 where 65 delegates from 25 countries met to discuss the future of International Standardisation. In 1947 ISO officially came into existence with 67 technical committees. (Group of experts focusing on a specific subject.)

Over the past 50 years ISO have developed into a family of standards that cover almost anything, from the plates we eat off to the Wi-Fi networks that connect us invisibly to each other.

By addressing these and more, International Standards mean consumers have the confidence that their products are safe, reliable and of excellent quality. ISO on the transport, Medical and cleaning are just a few that help make the world we live in a safer place.

The most popular ISO Standard is the ISO 9001:2015, which is based on the plan-do-check-act methodology and provides a process based approach to documenting and reviewing the structure, responsibilities and procedures required to achieve effective quality management in an organisation.

Formally known as International Organisation for Standardization. ISO is derived from the Greek word “isos” meaning equal.

The benefits to any organisation of gaining accreditation in ISO standards is endless. Overall performance becomes easily measurable and areas for further improvement easily identifiable through continual review of business practice carried out through all levels or the organisation.

When you achieve an ISO certification you have the ability to show customers and stakeholders your commitment to quality products and services. It is a great opportunity to celebrate your achievement, promote your business, and show that you are a trusted supplier which could open new business opportunities moving forward.

Below are just a selection of benefits / impacts that being accredited to an ISO standard can have on your organisation:

  • Meet regulation requirements.
  • Increase your chance of success when tendering for new contracts.
  • Gain you tremendous competitive advantage over those without ISO accreditation.
  • Provide Senior management with an efficient management process.
  • Gain Market access across the world.
  • Build Customer confidence that your products are safe and reliable.
  • Set out clear areas of roles and responsibility's across the organisation.
  • Highlights any internal / external deficiencies.
  • Identifies and encourages more efficient and time saving processes.
  • Reduce costs.
  • Provides continuous assessment and improvement.
  • Marketing opportunities.
  • Maintain a higher retention rate of your existing customers.

A few benefits to your customers may be:

  • Improved quality and service.
  • Delivery on time.
  • Right first time attitude.

Every organisation is different so implementing an ISO certification will vary depending on the size and complexity of your organisation and on whether you already have some elements of a quality management system in place. It can generally take an organisation anything between 3-6 months to create and implement a system in readiness for the UKAS third-party assessment. 

Some factors that may influence cost and time:

  • How committed and quality aware your business owner / senior management are.
  • The size and complexity of your business or organisation.
  • The number of sites within the scope of certification.
  • The gaps between you and the requirements of the standard. for example: You already have a structured and disciplined system in place to manage your business and deliver services/products consistently however does not conform to the requirements of the standards.
  • What current resources are in place, personnel, skills, equipment, infrastructure etc.
  • The effectiveness of your current procedures, SOP's, WI, flowcharts, checklists, forms, polices, job descriptions etc.
  • When you aim to have certification in place?
  • Culture of your organisation: level of quality awareness, how much change is required and are people willing and open to change.

Our fully IRCA qualified lead Auditor consultants are here to support you each step of the way, through to accreditation from the third-party body. During your initial meeting your consultant will familiarize themselves with your business scope, strategy, core business processes and explain the ISO certification process you have chosen to you and your team.

Cost and time allocated will then be based on your overall requirements and the timescale in which you aim to have accreditation in place.

Your dedicated consultant within Clear Quality will provide you with a full list of certification bodies and their costs on initial meeting however there is no need to be concerned as we will fully audit all aspects of your company to ensure your system is working for you, is fully compliant against the required recognised standards and that your people are effectively working within it.

You may also wish to follow the below prior to our meeting to assess a Third-Party Auditor yourself.

  • Evaluate several certification bodies.
  • Check if they are UKAS accredited.
  • Accreditation is not compulsory, and non-accreditation does not necessarily mean it is not reputable, but it does provide independent confirmation of competence. To find a UKAS accredited certification body, contact the national accreditation body in your country or visit the International Accreditation Forum. However Clear Quality will provide you with a full list of certification bodies and their costs on initial meeting pointing you in the right direction to suit your business needs.

Your Third-Party Auditor’s role is not to interrogate you but to ensure you are being fully compliant with your own systems and the ISO 9001 standard itself. This process can be daunting to those experiencing it for the first time – “Fear of the unknown” however that is where your Clear Quality consultant use their experience to allay those fears and help you point your Auditor in the direction of evidence required.

Contact Clear Quality on 01709 918501 or Email: info@clearquality.co.uk for an informal chat to discuss your business and it’s needs to see how Clear Quality can support you moving forward.

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