How to Get ISO 9001 Certified

by Cathy O'Brien; Updated September 26, 2017
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The ISO 9001 certification validates a company’s quality management system. ISO is the International Organization for Standardization. Certification is given to companies that are registered with ISO and have had an internal or external audit of their internal procedures. The ISO 9001 certification is internationally recognized. ISO 9001 is beneficial to companies in most industries. High-tech, engineering, manufacturing, law and finance companies can all benefit from having a standard, quality management system. Obtaining the certification validates a company’s ability to properly serve its clients through a recognized quality management system.

Step 1

Purchase and download the ISO management process documents for the ISO 9001 certification from the ISO website. The “Quality Management Systems Requirements” product offered by ISO can be downloaded in English, French, Russian, Arabic and Spanish. The most current version of the “Quality Management Systems Requirements” is ISO 9001: 2008.

Step 2

Read the ISO 9001 “Quality Management Systems Requirements” PDF files. It is important for all members of management to read and understand the ISO 9001 requirements. The requirements for ISO 9001 include quality tracking systems for internal procedures such as accounting, staffing, employee relations and file management. It also includes quality management processes for customer accounts, sales tracking and service or product delivery.

Step 3

Implement the processes put forth in the ISO "Quality Management Systems Requirements" files. There should be processes for both internal employees' daily activities as well as for customer satisfaction. Management should be prepared for a lengthy transition process. It is important to not rush the process.

ISO 9001 will show managers how to implement processes that track employees' daily activities such as email, phone calls and database entry. For example, a recruiter in the human resources department will be required to enter a candidate's resume into a resume tracking database. This will create a candidate profile in the database where the recruiter can make an entry every time the candidate has had an email interaction or phone call with the recruiter. The recruiter also can track interview schedules, feedback from hiring managers and whether or not an offer was made to the candidate.

ISO 9001 quality management processes also will show managers how to implement a sales and client tracking system. This system can help companies increase and maintain high customer satisfaction. For example, a sales database will require a sales account manager to create a file within the database for each customer. The file will track every order, when it was processed and when it was received. The database also will track all communication between the sales account manager and the customer.

Step 4

Create an internal audit system to ensure all internal processes are being met. The internal audit can be conducted by an internal audit team, the organization's management, or it can be outsourced to consultants.

The audit team will need to be provided with a detailed manual of all processes put in place by management through the ISO 9001 system. Auditors should know managers' expectations and be able to recognize if those expectations have been met, or are on track to be met.

Step 5

File your audit results with ISO to obtain the official ISO 9001: 2008 certificate of conformity. This certificate can be used as a sales tool to let potential and existing customers know your company conforms to the international management standards put forth by ISO.

Tips

  • ISO offers a free online auditing kit that a company can use before certification day to make sure it is ready to pass the certification test.

    ISO asks that companies are continually audited. Companies that want to be ISO certified or have already been certified should continually update their internal processes and employee standards to keep up with ISO 9001 requirements.

Warnings

  • If you conduct the audits internally, ensure that the auditors are being unbiased and factual in their findings.

About the Author

Cathy O'Brien is a San Francisco/Bay Area native. She has 15 years of experience writing corporate training materials. Her corporate background is in human resources, sales, management and high-tech start-ups. O'Brien has published business and fashion articles on eHow and Answerbag. She earned her Master of Business Administration from Dominican University and her Bachelor of Arts in English/writing from the University of San Francisco.

Photo Credits

  • business men image by Ivanou Aliaksandr from Fotolia.com