Achieving an ISO 9001 certification (or making headway toward that goal) is something to be proud of. It’s not a Herculean task, but it is one that takes dedicated focus and effort over time along with a thorough understanding of each requirement.
However, many organizations that have earned their ISO 9001 certification still feel like they fall short of keeping their customers happy, meeting key deadlines, and consistently achieving their short- and long-term goals. These are all areas that ISO 9001 is designed to improve and support, so why is there still a disconnect?
The answer is not a bare-faced one, as the reasons for gaps after implementing ISO 9001 can be just as much of a mixed bag as the results your certification delivers. Some report their quality system has created noticeable cost savings and improved productivity. Others say they have yet to see these benefits. Ironically this can increase costs, lower employee morale, and create unnecessary complexities.
Every organization wants to avoid becoming part of this latter group. Doing so starts with pursuing ISO 9001 (or any type of certification) for the right reasons and with the right mindset.
A Process for (Almost) Perfection
Many organizations pursue ISO 9001 certification to attract key customers by earning an authorized supplier status and leveraging it as a competitive advantage. But working one layer deeper from this goal, it’s easy to see why ISO 9001 can create these customer perceptions of quality.
In essence, certification hinges on a company’s ability to not only establish a quality management system but make it their standard of operation. This includes documenting processes, understanding how these processes generate business value, maintaining records of these processes, among other things.
It truly takes the full organization to achieve this, so visibility across the organization is important. In turn, better leverage of these processes helps people make better decisions faster. Frontline workers, supervisors, and company leaders have the right standards by which they abide by and aim for.
These systems can (and should) be designed to go above and beyond minimum requirements. This is the hallmark of excellence. Pushing your quality management system to a higher level allows its makings to be fully embraced, understood, and supported by the organization, giving it the best chance of success.
Achieving True Organizational Excellence with ISO 9001
It’s important to note that while you can meet ISO 9001 standards without getting an official certification, the inverse is not true: you cannot achieve certification without first meeting compliance standards.
ISO 9001 certification isn’t just about meeting requirements and ticking boxes on a check-sheet; it’s about the quality management system that becomes engrained in your organization. This system develops habits and practices among people and processes put into action every day. Unless an organization consistently internalizes its core values, the entire quality management system could be at risk.
Ultimately, it is the people in your organization who make quality systems work. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog series on how to weave excellence and quality into the fabric of your culture.
Contact us to feel secure partnering with an ISO 9001, AS9100-D supply chain partner.