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ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) is probably the most popular and recognised of all the ISO standards used by businesses to demonstrate that they are operating efficiently to provide quality products or services to their customers.

ISO 9001 is one of a range of ISO standards that benefits businesses and institutions by providing audited certification to help them to increase sales and trade at home and abroad. It is often the first of a raft of other standards that a business will use to demonstrate their focus on customer satisfaction.

Other standards regularly combined with ISO 9001 include ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 (ISO 45001) and ISO 27001.

ISO standards are implemented by businesses to provide consistent and measurable management systems that can be used by their customers (buyers) to select suppliers. Achieving an ISO certification such as ISO 9001 will open doors to new customers and markets.

ISO is an international organisation and currently spans 162 member countries which recognise the importance of these standards to increase international trade. ISO, though recognised by the EU is not connected to the EU.

Certification bodies will continue to be audited by UKAS to provide organisations with UKAS accredited certification to help them retain and win new business in international markets.

Whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal, the UK government will continue to recognise UKAS as the sole national accreditation body and UKAS accredited certification will retain international recognition.

The UK government has confirmed this through the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial strategy drafted in a statutory instrument in preparation for a no deal Brexit.

As far as ISO standards are concerned, it is business as usual.

Containers-international-tradeEffects of a no deal Brexit on business
The UK has been granted an extension to Brexit until 31st October 2019. This gives businesses additional time to prepare for a possible no deal.

Some commentators have increased their odds on a no deal resulting from the stalemate in negotiations for Brexit.

We may find that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, exporters will face difficult trading conditions for a while.

Headlines from a variety of forecasters are expecting a downturn in trade due to the disruptions that will be caused at the border and lack of clarity on customs tariffs.

In these circumstances, UK businesses that have an ISO standard such as ISO 9001 can gain advantages over some of their EU competitors that do not. Also, while trade barriers with the EU may lead to a reduced market in the short term, gaining access to new markets outside the EU will support businesses through the Brexit no deal transition.

Your ISO 9001 QMS will provide the framework you need to meet the challenges of a Brexit no deal.

If you have implemented ISO 9001 QMS in your business, you can help to minimise the effect of a no deal because risk assessment is a fundamental part of ISO 9001. Carrying out a Brexit no deal risk assessment will help you to:
  • Identify areas that will impact your business.
  • Analyse solutions.
  • Instigate changes.
Following a no deal, there will probably be an increase in administration costs and more forms to fill in to continue to trade with the EU. As part of your continuous improvements, ISO 9001 will help to streamline your administration and identify unnecessary and time-consuming tasks to free up more time to deal with the extra paperwork.

Leadership from top management and involvement in the businesses management system is one of the new requirements for ISO 9001:2015 (ISO 9001:2008 revised) which will help drive through the changes that will be required to prepare for a no deal.

Get expert help. If you think ISO 9001 would help your business to survive Brexit or if your certification is coming up for renewal and you would like to discuss some of the challenges you may face, call 0121 241 2299 and talk to one of our team.
The ISO 9001 standard is one of a suite of ISO standards that are trusted by every industry sector to provide a globally recognised quality management system (QMS).

Whether you are in manufacturing, construction, automotive, aerospace, transport, local authority, charity or the service sector, ISO 9001 demonstrates to your customers that you have a quality management system in place that will consistently deliver to recognised standards.

Maintaining ISO 9001 certification or any other ISO standard will require regular audits to maintain and continuously improve your quality management systems. This gives your customers confidence that the quality of your products or services will be consistent and maintained to a high level to give them the best customer experience.

cogs-showing-delivery-and-quality-for-ISO-9001Benefits to your business
It is not only your customers who will benefit when you achieve ISO 9001 certification.

You can expect to increase profits by reducing waste and being more efficient and productive. Implementing effective management systems will improve employee relations and minimise mistakes. Better internal communications between all areas of the business will help to provide better reporting and delivery to customers.

Winning new business and retention of existing customers will be easier to achieve. Some of your customers or potential customers at home and abroad may even require certification before working with you.

If established correctly, the QMS should be unique to your business and implemented across your organisation to provide all the benefits without being over complicated and getting bogged down in paperwork. It should also have the backing of top management to drive the changes and focus on the benefits.

ISO 9001 certification bodies  
The success of ISO standards is down to the process of continuous improvement and checking, or auditing, that is carried out to monitor management systems. This provides proof to your customers that your business has processes in place and is maintaining them to the recognised standard.

The certification body you choose to carry out audits must not have any connection with your consultant or trainers who have helped set up your QMS. This ensures a completely impartial review of your documentation to maintain the integrity of your certification.

Choosing a UKAS accredited certification body means they have been assessed against internationally recognised standards to ensure competence, performance and impartiality.

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the only national accreditation body recognised by government. Achieving UKAS accredited certification means your customers do not have to carry out multiple assessments before they can start trading with you which will help you to open new markets for your business.

The stages to achieve certification include:
  • Preparation for an audit. Carried out internally or by a consultant.
  • Stage 1 audit to review documented management system, ideally by a UKAS accredited certification body.
  • Stage 2 audit to check any corrections from the first audit have been actioned.
  • Certificate decision is made once any non-conformities have been addressed.
  • Issue of certificate.
  • Ongoing surveillance audits.
To take your business to the next level and achieve a globally recognised certification, call one of our team on 0121 241 2299.
One of the key changes to the revised ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards and the migration of OHSAS 18001 to ISO 45001 is the increased priority given to risk-based thinking across all areas of an organisation.

The changes to these standards require a pro-active approach by management and particularly top management, to identify and manage the risks associated with the operations of the organisation.

If you are not already aware, ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 revisions are complete and all audits are now carried out to the revised standards; old certification prior to September 2018 is now invalid. OHSAS 18001 is currently being migrated over a period of 3 years. The final date for migration to ISO 45001 is 12th March 2021.

Risk is inherent in every organisation; whether you are a business or institution, profit or non-profit, every decision made and operation undertaken involves an element of risk.
Risks to an organisation may include:
  • Risks to employees and customers from health and safety issues.
  • Risks from disasters such as fire and flooding.
  • Environmental risks from business operations.
  • Risks associated with industry regulations.
  • Security risks to physical structures including IT infrastructure from cybercrime.
  • Risks to the financial security of the organisation.
Risk management planning
Risk_ManagementPreparing a risk management plan will help you to achieve certification to the above standards.  It will also provide the organisation with a framework to identify risk, assess the frequency and impact of the risk and work out a process to manage the risk.

Time and resources need to be allocated to the process by top management and implemented throughout the organisation. An effective plan will increase profitability, reduce costly incidents and create a safer environment for your employees.
Your plan may include:
  • A list of risks that could affect all areas of the organisation.
  • An analysis of the risk and rank the likelihood and level of effect.
  • How you will manage the risk.
  • Implementation of ongoing monitoring and reviewing.
Depending on your organisation, a good way to start might be by setting up a risk matrix to rank the risks you have identified.

Ranking the impact of a risk on the organisation between a range of “negligible” to “critical”, for example, and including an estimate of the financial loss and the disruption it would cause, will provide information to help you to manage and minimise the risks going forward.

The above could provide the framework that your ISO auditor will be looking for when they audit your organisation for certification to the revised standards.

If you need help with your risk management planning, call one of our team on 0121 241 2299.
Now the transition from ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015 is complete, any organisation holding an out of date certificate (from before September 2018) will find some of their customers are not willing or able to work with them as a supplier.

Your organisation may be working to procedures audited 3 years ago; however, without regular independent 3rd party auditing to check quality management processes are working and are continually being adapted and improved, customers will lose confidence that your organisation can continue to provide the same high quality of service or product expected.

With the ISO 9001 revision in place, now is a good time to look at the benefits provided by ISO 9001 certification and how the revision will improve your quality management systems.

ISO_9001Maximise the benefits of being ISO 9001 certified
If you consider certification to ISO 9001 as simply a tick box exercise, you will fail to reap the full potential of your Quality Management System (QMS) to transform your organisation, making it a better place to work for your employees and a more professional entity for your customers and suppliers to work with.

Some organisations may be obliged to gain certification to ISO 9001 to meet the requirements of a client. Government, local authorities and larger organisations often require certification before they will consider a tender from a supplier. Even if certification is not a mandatory requirement for a customer, it will give you an advantage over your competitors.

Whether you are forced or whether you decide to achieve certification to improve your organisation’s QMS, implementation needs the backing and leadership of top management. In fact, this is one of the main changes in the ISO 9001 revision.

The QMS should be an integral part of the organisation, not a side project that achieves certification by ticking off a series of actions and ignored when other priorities take over. Supported by every level of management, it will continually improve processes and quality, with customer satisfaction being the main focus.

The ISO 9001 revision aims to provide an organisation with a QMS that will support growth and continual improvement as internal and external factors change. This will help your organisation to:
  • Improve your ability to satisfy clients.
  • Maintain the relevance of your QMS as other elements change.
  • Keep all user groups up to date with the latest operating environments and technology developments.
  • Maintain consistency during the next 10-year period.
  • Use ANNEX SL to easily integrate other standards into your organisation.
If you are still undecided whether ISO 9001 is going to benefit your organisation, talk to one of our team to find out more.

If you have a good management system and processes already in place, you may find it easier than you think to achieve certification to ISO 9001.
The ISO 9001 transition period ends on 14th September 2018 and every organisation that relies on this standard to trade with its customers at home and abroad should have now transitioned to the revised version (ISO 9001:2015). Your certificate will be void unless you have your audit booked and you are ready for the transition in the next few weeks.

If you have not booked your audit to the revised standard ISO 9001:2015 by 14th September 2018, you will have to start the process of certification from scratch.

The same applies to ISO 14001:2008 revised to ISO 14001:2015.

Better integration and support from top management
One of the main revisions to the standard is the Annex SL framework.

Annex SL is a high-level structure that will provide consistency throughout ISO management system standards. This means that if your organisation has more than one standard (ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 for example), the management systems, structures, definitions and requirements will be consistent. This saves time and resources and makes it easier to comply with multiple standards.

The new ISO 45001 which is currently going through migration from OHSAS 18001 has also been designed around the Annex SL framework. Other standards already incorporate Annex SL, such as ISO 27001, and others will use it as they come up for revision.

ISO_9001_2015_RevisionOne of the other main changes is the involvement of top management. Leadership from management to drive the processes and support the quality management system (QMS) is now essential if it was optional before. QMS is a business process that delivers continual improvement and customer satisfaction and will need to be given the full backing and commitment at every level of the organisation.

This will inevitably lead to increased scrutiny of the management review meetings to ensure they are carried out with adequate frequency and actions are followed up. Identification of risks and risk management has also been prioritised and actions will need to be included as part of the management review process.

This all makes good commercial sense if you are serious about improving your business opportunities. The benefits can help you to grow your business and increase profits.

ISO 9001:2015 benefits
If you have been thinking about implementing ISO 9001:2015 into your organisation and need to convince top management that it makes good business sense and the investment of time and cost is worth it, here are some valid reasons:
  • Globally recognised standard to improve your credibility.
  • Less waste, increased productivity = more profit.
  • Better customer retention and satisfaction.
  • Improved internal management systems.
  • Identification and reduction of risks.
  • Employee engagement.

To find out more about implementing ISO 9001:2015 into your organisation, call one of our team on 0121 241 2299.