ISO 9001 in three steps and your organization is ready for the audit!
We invite you to read this blog to introduce you to the world of quality and pass an external quality audit by an accreditation institute, good luck!
Nearly every time I approach an organization at the beginning of its process to implement a quality management system, I encounter the same surprised faces, not understanding what has happened… the first this I do after smiling and calming them down, is explaining to them what we are heading for, and this is exactly what I will specify here.
In order to simplify the process, I will divide it according to what most organization do when implementing the ISO 9001 standard, into three stages:
The first stage is understanding the organization’s activity and processes and writing procedures (as the standard defines is – “the quality guide”) according to the standard’s requirements and the organization’s activity.
In order to understand how the organization operates (who, when, how, how much, why…) I will meet with the organization’s representatives in various fields, and go over the existing work processes in the organization, and accordingly we will write procedures matching the activity. Naturally, if there are already work procedures in the organization, we will incorporate them with the quality guide.
The second stage of the implementation process is performing a audit, which ensures that the organization is indeed managed as it has defined (called an “internal audit” in the standard), and naturally this is all managed according to the standard’s requirements. Beyond the organization’s survey of its compliance with defined procedures and the standard’s requirements, the purpose of the test is mostly locating findings for improving the organization’s ongoing activity. Many organizations attest to continuous improvement following the implementation of a quality management system.
The third stage is concentrating the quality activity for the organization’s management (called “executive summary” in the standard). As part of an executive summary, we present all activities made in the organization as an executive summary and refer to what will interest the management. According to this data, the management adopts decisions and sets policies, goals and purposes for the organization in the short term, as well as how to measure the organization’s success (as well as the quality system).
To summarize, the standard is not scary! It is a methodology for organization management and proper conduct. Using the ISO 9001 standard, the organization learns to work in a defined, organized and measurable manner.
According to these tools, organized procedures are written, and work is being performed according to them.
When we finish the three stages and the organization is ready for the audit, we invite an external quality audit by one of the accreditation institutes (in Israel there are 5 accreditation institutes: the Standards Institution of Israel, the Institute of Quality and Control, Ronet, the Technion and SGS. In some cases a surveyor is invited from abroad) intended to verify that the organization meets the standard requirements and upholds them regularly.
The surveyor who arrives on behalf of the accreditation institute will survey the organization’s activity and go around the organization’s employees in order to see the standard’s compliance with the procedures, and the procedures’ compliance with the actual performance of the work. Between two weeks and a month from the time of the external audit, the organization will receive the accreditation certificate for ISO 9001. And if you want to know… you receive 2 certificates: in Hebrew and in English.
The ISO 9001 standard has been a global business standard for years. The regulator, the consumer and your business partner are looking for the standard. No matter what your organization’s area of activity – it’s time to advance and meet global standardization.