A quality management system (QMS), in turn, is a recorded and codified set of processes and methods designed to ensure the consistent high quality of your products or services. A QMS should help you meet customer expectations and also any government regulations that are required of your industry.

ISO 9001 is the international standard for quality management systems established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). ISO standards address all manner of business issues; 9001 focuses on quality control, and the ISO 9001:2015 version is the most recent update.

ISO 9001 promotes a process approach to management, examining more than 20 processes. By implementing the standard’s recommendations, an organization can assure that it is providing quality products and services.

Why ISO 9001 is Important

ISO standards are globally recognized, which allows for a consistent framework for quality management regardless of where your company is located. It also makes doing business with organizations in other countries much easier, since you’re working with a standard set of suggested practices. Even if your business is strictly domestic, it’s beneficial to understand ISO 9001’s requirements and how they can apply to your business.

Following a framework for your quality management can streamline the process and eliminate confusion about expectations. A framework can also improve efficiency and encourage progress while your company grows. These continuous improvements can inspire confidence among your customers, as well as your board and other stakeholders.

The Seven Quality Management Principles

Seven quality management principles (QMPs) form the backbone of ISO 9001 and other ISO quality management standards. These principles can help your organization optimize its QMS.

The principles (listed below) aren’t ranked in order. Rather, they are all equally important, and their significance may vary depending on the needs and priorities of your particular organization.

  1. Customer focus. The primary focus of quality management is customer satisfaction: meeting customer requirements and striving to exceed customer expectations.
  2. Leadership. Leaders at all levels establish unity of purpose and direction, and create conditions in which people are engaged in achieving the organization’s quality objectives.
  3. Engagement. Competent, empowered, and engaged people at all levels throughout the organization are essential to the quality management process.
  4. Process approach. Consistent and predictable results are achieved more effectively and efficiently when business processes function together as a coherent system.
  5. Improvement. Successful organizations commit themselves to continual improvement.
  6. Evidence-based decision making. Decisions based on the analysis and evaluation of information are more likely to produce desired results.
  7. Relationship management. For sustained success, an organization manages its relationships with interested parties, such as suppliers.

Should I Get ISO 9001 Certification?

The ISO 9001 standard is part of the ISO 9000 family of standards, which all address quality management. Among these, however, only ISO 9001 is eligible for certification.

Certification for ISO 9001 is not legally required, and the auditing and certification process can be costly depending on the size and scope of your organization. Still, many organizations choose to become ISO 9001 certified because they realize the important benefits of ISO certification.

Achieving an attestation of ISO compliance from a certification body accredited by ISO’s Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) demonstrates that your enterprise is serious about quality assurance. That enhances your reputation and can give you a competitive edge over non-certified organizations.

Certification also assures that your QMS is functioning at its full potential, which means your processes are running efficiently and effectively. Your goods and services will meet customer requirements as well as statutory and regulatory requirements.Some clients will look specifically for certification when shopping for services, and if you are not certified you could be missing out on new business.

ZenGRC Helps Organizations Maintain Compliance and Certifications

Compliance audits for ISO (or any other regulatory framework) can be a confusing and labor-intensive process. Understanding what is required of you, performing internal audits, and documenting your efforts can all seem daunting — but helpful resources are available.

ZenGRC is a fully integrated platform that allows you to monitor the full life cycle of your compliance and risk management program. With ZenGRC you can track outstanding requirements, centralize your documentation, and determine what tasks need to be prioritized to achieve and maintain compliance.

Schedule a demo today and learn how ZenGRC can help you build your company’s compliance program.