Why do ISO 9001?
A very good question. If you want to get external certification to this Standard - often called (but incorrectly) getting ISO 9001 accreditation - you should have at least one good reason to do it.
And just 'getting the certificate' is not a good reason - in fact, that's one of the most common mistakes with 9001.
Common reasons for doing ISO 9001
Some of the most frequent reasons include:
- greater client assurance
- our customer/s want us to
- to qualify for tenders/government work/work with large companies
- because it's the best model for a quality system
need it to reach an international market
- to get the known benefits of ISO 9001 certification such as increased sales, improved processes, improved communication at all levels, greater business control, greater internal consistency and discipline, and reduced costs through doing things faster, better or cheaper and/or reducing errors or customer complaints.
Should everyone 'do ISO'?
No. In the sense of using the Standard as a model for your quality management system, then yes, just about anyone will get value from it if they do, regardless of whether they want to get the system externally certified.
But if you want to get ISO 9001 certification, that involves certain costs.
Yet too often people don't count the real cost of quality, and only focus on the immediate cost of certification.
Try turning that thinking around: consider the cost of not having quality. What's the real cost of business lost because of poor services or products? The cost of dissatisfied customers? Of repeating the same mistakes, again and again? Duplicating work? Of having ineffective or inefficient processes, because it's much cheaper and faster to do things once and get them right the first time (rather than the second, third or even fourth).
But if you won't get any extra customers, clients or 'customer satisfaction' (eg, you're a welfare organisation with a 'captive market') then certification may not be valuable for you. If you're not sure, ask a certifier or consultant; any reputable one should be able to advise you.
Author: Jane Bennett