ISO 9001 Certification for Small Companies

ISO 9001 certification for small companies is recommended to ensure that management performance is at optimal levels. The concept was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and while it’s not mandated by the government, some customers will require it before doing business. Certification requires a two-phase audit that should be performed by an accredited body. Here are some of the steps to receiving ISO 9001 certification for small companies.

1. Train All Employees
All employees should be trained on the intent and the company’s QMS requirements. All employees should be aware of the quality policy and all procedures that relates to their work. Some companies hire certified internal auditors or consultants to handle this task. The choice depends on the company, but training is instrumental to the success of the employees.

2. Choose an Accredited Registrar
The certification body should be a partner of your company for the long term. This will help your company meet the requirements for long term surveillance audits. Companies that need a CB can find one through the United States ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board, which is an accreditation body.

3. Request a Pre-Assessment
A pre-assessment will be performed in advance and can be seen as a trial run. There is no pass or fail in the pre-assessment, which gives companies a chance to know where they are and what they need to change to meet the requirements for QMS.

4. Schedule a Documentation Review
The pre-assessment is optional, but the documentation is not. The documentation review should be scheduled during phase one of the registration process. This will involve an audit of documentation for ISO 9001 compliance. There should be a quality manual and top-level policies and procedures.

5. A Registration Audit Should Be Scheduled
The phase-two registration audit is recommended. There is an extensive assessment of the company’s QMS. The number of auditors and audit days is most often calculated based upon the size of the company. The audit will typically involve interviewing employees at every level of the organization. Audits also involve careful observation of processes being performed. A sampling of all records will be reviewed additionally.

6. Non-Conformance
Action requests on an audit report often indicates some of the major components of non-conformance. The company should always be actively working towards making an action plan to correct problems, and the auditor will provide a time-frame for the response.

7. Confirm the Certificate of Registration
Always receive the certificate of registration to adequately respond to action requests and close out any problems that a company may have. With the certificate of registration, it will be easier to register business and provide proof that the company is registered. This means a lot to vendors.

8. Surveillance Audits
Annual surveillance audits should be scheduled to cover each different aspect of the QMS over a three-year cycle. Every three years, the QMS will be re-examined, which means that the certificate will need to be updated.

Though it seems like a lot of work, the investment is well worth the effort. Every person should try to obtain their certification and build vendor confidence in your brand and your company. If you want to learn more about ISO 9001 certification, contact your local provider.

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