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Congratulations! If you have reached this page, then it shows you are seriously contemplating pursuing your ISO certification and are wondering how to go about it. Getting an ISO certification is no walk in the park but it is well worth the effort.

In this post, we keep it simple and deliver a 6-step guide to becoming ISO 9001 certified.

Step 1: Set the Goals for Your Business

There is no one size fits all when it comes to setting the objectives for an ISO 9001 certification. You will have to first identify the results of your past quality efforts, do a gap analysis with regard to ISO requirements and delineate the right approach suited to your company’s culture and requirements. This will determine whether your effort is led by:

An employee, typically the quality manager
A hands-on consultant who can speed up the process though at a higher cost
A hands-off consultant who can prove costly but will also align the internal team to the process
Use a certification kit where internal efforts as well as the cost are low

Whichever approach you take, training and awareness programs will play a key part in realizing the benefits of the implementation better. Planning your project well for its successful completion is also essential.

Step 2: Document Management

ISO 9001:2015 standard lays stress on documentation capturing procedures, forms and work instructions. Documentation is important to maintain business continuity, affecting operations, efficiency and profitability, and is required during audits. It should describe workflows and processes lucidly – enabling readers to understand it well.

Step 3: Collaborative Mindset for Implementation

Implementation of ISO 9001 quality management system across the business should align with your documentation. It must clearly list out new requirements, if any, that came up during the gap analysis. Communicating the new requirements to the employees to help them understand the new way of working as well as its benefits is essential for its successful implementation.

Step 4: Automation of Internal Audit, Document Management, CAPA, etc.

On completing the implementation of ISO 9001 processes, evaluate the conformance to ISO 9001 internally. Trained employees or a subcontractor can do the audit, which is not a one-time affair but should be conducted periodically.

The key to conducting internal audits efficiently is an automated workflow. ComplianceQuest’s QHSE built on the Salesforce.com is flexible, scalable and customizable and will work well for a range of organizations.

Automation will enable a range of processes – document management, audit management, CAPA, incident reporting, compliant management, among others. The key point to note here is that getting an ISO certification is only the first step. It needs continuous improvement and monitoring. It needs an enterprise-wide buy-in from stakeholders across the lifecycle of a business.

Step 5: Getting Certified

Once you are sure that ISO 9001:2015 has been implemented as per the documentation you will need an independent, third-party ISO 9001 audit to achieve the certification. The ideal time is two months after the implementation process so that you have records proving your ISO 9001 compliance.

Step 6: Re-certifying

When you obtain the ISO 9001 certification, you have just begun the journey as it is not a one-time event. It is essential to continue to be vigilant since a surveillance site audit will be conducted once or twice a year in order to ensure your continued compliance and improvement. You will have to be recertified every three years to remain certified.

ISO 9001:2015 lays stress on a quality management system as that can smoothen your implementation and continued compliance. A QMS tool such as the one from ComplianceQuest, built on the scalable cloud platform Salesforce.com, is aligned with the ISO requirements and a natural fit. From design, documentation to training and implementation, it can make the ISO implementation process intuitive and easy. If you are embarking on your journey on ISO 9001:2015 implementation or recertification and want to automate your processes, contact us here: http://www.compliancequest.com/contact-us/

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