The International Organisation for Standardisation is an independent, non-governmental, international organisation. It has a membership of 164 national standards bodies. They create and define sets of standards to ensure quality, safety, and efficiency.
What is ISO 9001:2015 for Quality?
ISO 9001 is an international standard that sets out the criteria for a Quality Management Systems (QMS). It outlines a framework to improve quality and is the only standard in the 9000 family that an organisation can become certified in. Businesses do not need to be large enterprises to pursue ISO certification, but rather, organisations of all size and fields can strive to be certified, and by following this standard, it ensures customers are given consistent, top quality products and services.
By adhering to ISO 9001, IComm is proving our commitment to organise processes, improve efficiency and costs, identify gaps and/or inconsistencies, and continually improve as a company. In addition, having an independent view of our systems allows us to objectively manage risk to ensure that we are truly striving for progress.
There are seven principles that ISO focuses on:
- Engagement of people – open discussion of issues, knowledge sharing, and ensuring everyone understand their roles and feels valued
- Customer focus – strong customer focus and consideration of all stakeholders' interests
- Leadership – strong leadership and a clear vision of the company’s future
- Process approach – processes are clearly in place, and specifically the use of ISO's ‘Plan Do Check Act’ principle
- Improvement – continual improvement is a core principal to strive for by the organisation
- Evidence-based decision making – decisions are determined by accurate and reliable data
- Relationship management – ensuring mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers
While the ISO does not certify organisations itself, there are many third-party companies that can ensure compliance. We chose to engage with Compass Assurance Services, an Australian consultancy that specialises in certification and assessment against international standards, but not only for ISO.
The journey to certification is not merely a checklist, but a process that involves stringent initial assessment and resulting actions for the company, audits, and constant re-evaluation.
The company must first define, then implement, a quality management system – a massive undertaking in and of itself, ISO certification aside. Once this step has been completed, the organisation must then perform a rigorous internal audit against the ISO 9001 requirements. After the internal audit is complete, the company must then problem-solve and action any gaps or inconsistencies to ensure adherence to the ISO requirements. The company is then ready for the first stage audit.
This process of audit – action – audit – action, can take many cycles to finally arrive at certification. After almost a full year of effort, IComm was audited by Compass Assurance Services in December 2019 which resulted in our achievement of ISO 9001:2015 for Quality certification in January 2020.
ISO 9001 Certification Requires Continuous Effort
This is not a “one and done” certification. Organisations must re-certify every three years in order to maintain their ISO 9001 certification status. In addition, in between the re-certification audits every three years, each year we must pass a "surveillance audit" to ensure that we are continually adhering to the standards. This means that we will not rest on our laurels, and continue to ensure that we evolve as a company and in the delivery of our services.
We are thrilled to be formally recognised for the quality of our processes and we will continually strive to uphold these principles.