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Top 10 Steps to Successfully Implementing ISO 9001

Essential guidance to organisations implementing the ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems.

ISO 9001

The benefits of adopting a Quality Management System (QMS) that conforms to ISO 9001 can be transformational in strengthening your organisation.

Alcumus ISOQAR consistently observes that companies working to ISO 9001 experience increased efficiency and productivity; a reduction in errors and resource waste; higher quality products and services; increased customer satisfaction and stronger sales. All of which lead to a healthier balance sheet.

We understand that implementing a quality management system that meets the requirements of ISO 9001 can initially perhaps be daunting. Depending on the size and complexity of the organisation, in some instances, it can take up to 6-12 months to fully adopt and implement. Head of Technical at Alcumus ISOQAR, Darren Shorney, lends his expertise here, putting together what he advises are the 10 steps for successfully implementing the internationally recognised Quality Management System (QMS) standard.

Top 10 Steps for Successfully Implementing ISO 9001

1. Prepare

Purchase, read and familiarise yourself with the ISO 9001 standard. This may seem like an obvious first step, however some might be tempted simply to rely on internet searches to learn more. Nothing compares to reading the actual requirements.

2. Commit

Commitment to change from every level of the organisation is essential to ISO 9001 certification. This starts with commitment from senior leadership, who will take forward and drive home the changes that will be adopted throughout the organisation.

3. Educate

It’s vital that all colleagues fully understand the requirements of the standard, and the quality principles that they should be working to everyday. Ongoing training in managing a Quality Management System will ensure that your workforce have the knowledge that they need.

4. Communicate

We recommend developing and implementing an effective internal communication plan across your organisation. This will ensure that your colleagues feel informed, empowered and fully aware of the changes being introduced with your new Quality Management System.

5. Evaluate

Conducting a Gap Analysis will help you to fully understand where your current system conforms and doesn’t conform to the expectations of the ISO 9001 standard. This will make it easier to identify the areas of your business that require additional support and resource. Alcumus ISOQAR can work with you to carry out this analysis.

6. Plan

Carefully plan the adoption and implementation of the ISO 9001 standard as you would plan any other project being delivered within your organisation. Make sure that roles, responsibilities, and authorities are defined and communicated. Develop a timeline with key milestones that allows you to resource implementation effectively.

7. Involve

Quality is pervasive and touches all parts of your organisation. Involve senior leadership, team managers and staff when developing your Quality Management System, giving ownership, and securing buy-in of the whole system with everyone in your organisation.

8. Develop

Develop a clear Quality Policy, and clear quality objectives that provide your organisation with clear focus and direction. Ensure that this policy and objectives are cascaded and communicated well so that all colleagues are clear on what is expected from them.

9. Encourage

Encourage leadership, team leaders, managers and staff to challenge, question and improve on your policies, processes and procedures. Everyone should be continuously reflecting on how to improve operations – during implementation through to to day-to-day business as usual activities.

10. Audit

Carrying out regular internal audits ensures that your management system is regularly reviewed and evaluated. Areas for improvement can be identified early and addressed, to improve how your system operates. 

Underlying all of these steps, we believe that finding a certification body such as Alcumus ISOQAR, forms the solid foundation to successfully adopting ISO 9001. Our auditors can work with you at each stage, helping to strengthen your organisation.

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