Why should I get ISO 9001 cer­ti­fied?

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS - MICHAEL VOSS is a sea­soned busi­ness ex­cel­lence pro­fes­sional, and owner of PYXIS Con­sult­ing. He may be con­tacted at michael@ pyxis.co.nz.

I am of­ten asked by busi­ness own­ers “Why should I get cer­ti­fied to the ISO stan­dards?”

For many busi­nesses it can be a very easy de­ci­sion to be­come ISO cer­ti­fied. A statu­tory or reg­u­la­tory body may in­sist that you are cer­ti­fied, other­wise you can­not op­er­ate. Th­ese are very easy choices to make where you want to do busi­ness in a reg­u­lated en­vi­ron­ment. The most com­mon man­age­ment sys­tem stan­dard is ISO 9001 for qual­ity, but ISO 14001 for en­vi­ron­ment is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­por­tant. Also the new ISO 45001 health and safety stan­dard is due for re­lease late in 2016.

Sim­i­larly it is an easy de­ci­sion where you want to do busi­ness with a cus­tomer that in­sists on ISO 9001. For ex­am­ple if you are sup­ply­ing crit­i­cal com­po­nents in the au­to­mo­tive sup­ply chain then it is likely that your man­age­ment sys­tem must com­ply with the ISO 9001 and other stan­dards. Al­ter­na­tively, as one of my clients ex­plained re­cently as a long stand­ing sup­plier to Fon­terra, they were told that fu­ture ten­der­ing con­sid­er­a­tions would in­clude whether the sup­plier was ISO 9001 cer­ti­fied. Clearly if this busi­ness wants to con­tinue sup­ply­ing to Fon­terra then they will need to get cer­ti­fied.

In many in­stances it is not so clear. It is use­ful to con­sider the stage or ma­tu­rity of the busi­ness. Busi­nesses that have sur­vived the start- up stage, have a few good cus­tomers and are now look­ing to grow are gen­er­ally go­ing to gain sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fit from in­stalling bet­ter sys­tems. For a busi­ness at this stage sys­tems for ef­fec­tively man­ag­ing the de­liv­ery of prod­ucts and ser­vices to cus­tomers be­come im­por­tant to max­imise profit. Busi­nesses ex­pand­ing by em­ploy­ing new staff, hir­ing se­nior man­agers, and es­tab­lish­ing gov­er­nance struc­tures also need ad­vanced sys­tems. Also small busi­nesses can gain con­sid­er­able cred­i­bil­ity by hav­ing be­come ISO cer­ti­fied. The stan­dard pro­vides guid­ance in what th­ese sys­tems need to in­clude even if cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is not re­quired.

While not ev­ery­one will have the same set of rea­sons, it is left to each owner to de­cide whether cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is right for their busi­ness.

At the most fun­da­men­tal level all cer­ti­fied com­pa­nies share a com­mon un­der­stand­ing. This un­der­stand­ing crosses geographic, cul­tural and lan­guage bound­aries that helps to de­velop the trust in each other nec­es­sary to do busi­ness to­gether.


Most own­ers who have used the ISO man­age­ment sys­tem stan­dards to de­sign and build their in­ter­nal sys­tems dis­cover ben­e­fits. Re­search has shown that those com­pa­nies us­ing ISO 9001 will have im­proved fi­nan­cial per­for­mance. Busi­nesses mo­ti­vated in­ter­nally for pro­duc­tiv­ity and ef­fi­ciency gains are more likely to achieve great­est ben­e­fit than those look­ing for a quick cer­ti­fi­ca­tion to meet ex­ter­nally mo­ti­vated cus­tomer re­quire­ments. The great­est suc­cess comes from us­ing the stan­dard and em­bed­ding its prin­ci­ples in day-to­day op­er­a­tions.

Those own­ers that go fur­ther still and be­come cer­ti­fied see even more ben­e­fits. Some of the com­mon com­ments I have heard busi­ness lead­ers who have ob­tained ISO 9001 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion make, in­clude:

• It en­hances our brand im­age in the mar­ket­place.

• It pro­vides com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage.

• It adds to our cred­i­bil­ity.

• Peo­ple take us more se­ri­ously now.

• We re­ceive more com­pli­ments and less com­plaints from cus­tomers.

• Reg­u­la­tors spend less time in our busi­ness.

• It forms part of the Board’s risk mit­i­ga­tion plan. • Our staff are clear about their own role.

• It has be­come eas­ier to at­tract good staff.

• Ex­ter­nal au­dits ver­ify how ef­fec­tive our sys­tems are.

• My life has be­come eas­ier through bet­ter pro­cesses and sys­tem.

• I feel the busi­ness is more in con­trol.

• I am more re­laxed.


Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is car­ried out by a Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Body. Only a Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Body can sup­ply an ISO 9001 cer­tifi­cate to your busi­ness.

The Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Body will typ­i­cally fol­low a four step process 1. Con­duct a doc­u­ment re­view of

your man­age­ment sys­tem 2. Pro­vide feed­back on ar­eas where cor­rec­tive ac­tion is re­quired for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion 3. Con­duct a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion au­dit 4. Is­sue a cer­tifi­cate of com­pli­ance once no cor­rec­tive ac­tions are out­stand­ing A cer­tifi­cate lasts for three years af­ter which a full re­cer­ti­fi­ca­tion au­dit will be re­quired. Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Bod­ies will usu­ally con­duct a sur­veil­lance au­dit an­nu­ally to sat­isfy them­selves that the man­age­ment sys­tem con­tin­ues to be ef­fec­tive and is be­ing im­proved. Where a com­pany fails to demon­strate this the Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Body may in­crease the fre­quency of sur­veil­lance au­dits un­til it is sat­is­fied.

The costs of th­ese ser­vices can be sig­nif­i­cant. Care needs to be taken to un­der­stand the process used by the Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Body, the costs, and the amount of staff time in­volved in the process.


The Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Body needs to be ac­cred­ited be­fore they may of­fer cer­ti­fi­ca­tion ser­vices to you. The sta­tus of the Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Body’s ac­cred­i­ta­tion will be listed on the Ac­cred­i­ta­tion Agency www.jas-anz.org.au web­site. As with any sup­plier, you should check that they are ac­cred­ited to pro­vide cer­ti­fi­ca­tion ser­vices specif­i­cally in the ISO 9001 stan­dard and any other stan­dards that you need to com­ply with. You should also check on their process and the au­di­tor’s ex­pe­ri­ence in your par­tic­u­lar in­dus­try.


All busi­ness own­ers will find it use­ful in hav­ing at least a ba­sic knowl­edge of the ISO 9001 stan­dard and know­ing when to con­sult this re­source. There is con­sid­er­able value in us­ing ISO 9001 to build sys­tems to man­age the busi­ness at ap­pro­pri­ate times. Th­ese times in­clude pe­ri­ods of growth and ex­pan­sion.

ISO 9001 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion may be a statu­tory, reg­u­la­tory, or cus­tomer re­quire­ment. For most busi­nesses this will not be the case. Own­ers not re­quir­ing ISO 9001 cer­ti­fi­ca­tion should bal­ance the on­go­ing costs as­so­ci­ated in main­tain­ing the ISO 9001 cer­tifi­cate with the ben­e­fits, in­clud­ing the mit­i­ga­tion of risks and ease of con­duct­ing busi­ness that cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­vides.

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