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ISO 9001

ISO 9001 is the most recognised international standard for quality management. Over 1 million organisations in 170 countries use the Standard as a framework for their Quality Management Systems.


Onsite Consultancy

Our onsite ISO Consultancy services provide you with the tailored support you need to achieve your goals for ISO Certification. Benefit from our insights to build a quality management system that delivers the outcomes you need. We bring clarity to ISO 9001 so that you develop your existing good practices into a highly effective quality management system.

Track Record

Our track record on gaining ISO certification is excellent, and we go on to improve your systems over time. We work closely with the leading ISO Certification Bodies. We will help you untangle the process of choosing a suitable ISO Certification Body that ensures you meet your budget and time constraint

What is the ISO 9001 Quality Management Standard?

ISO 9001 is the internationally recognised standard for organisations that operate a quality management System. The requirements in the ISO 9001:2015 Standard cover activities involved in planning, managing operations, review and evaluating performance, and taking action to improve and monitor all areas of your business (Plan-Do-Check-Act).

ISO 9001 is written as a generic standard, and its requirements can be applied as appropriate to an organisation. This ensures that it is accessible to all types of business. ISO 9001 also lacks bureaucracy as organisations can justify why certain elements may not apply. enterprises, including service-oriented organizations

Applying the 9001:2015 Standard to your management system will enable you to demonstrate:

  • That you put Customers first, and seek to improve what you do to serve them better
  • That you value your employees and suppliers by continually looking at your processes to ensure they are aligned and understood by everyone in the business or organisation
  • That you take compliance to regulations seriously and use it to improve the business resilience and sustainability.

Operating in thousands of organisations worldwide, ISO 9001 provides a sound foundation on which to develop an organisation which can lead to increased productivity and profit. Whilst ISO 9001:2015 is that Standard that sets out the requirements, it is only one of a family of Standards. ISO 9000:2015 sets out definitions of the vocabulary and fundamental principles of the quality management system, and ISO 9004:2018 sets out a maturity model that organisations can use to manage the sustained success of the organisation.

There are tangible benefits to operating a quality management system to the requirements of the ISO 9001:2015 standard. As well as providing more effective and efficient processes, research has found that:

  • Organisations who adopt ISO 9001 can see 10% increases in sales
  • Wages at ISO compliant companies were approximately 7.5 percent higher than at non-certified firms
  • Total payroll, which includes salary increases and new hires, grew approximately 17.7 percent more at ISO-approved companies

Principles of ISO 9001 Quality Management

There are 7 principles of Quality Management, which have positive benefits:

1. Customer Focus

The standard ensures that you focus on satisfying your customers' requirements and if possible, exceed their expectations

2. Leadership

Effective leadership, which is critical for the sustained success of an organisation will ensure that you create a sense of unity and purpose to achieve the organisation's goals

3. Engagement of People

Engaging all the interested parties in an organisation, from staff to contractors and regulators will help you understand what is required and ensure that they are all competent and effective

4. Process Approach

Understanding how your activities work and interact will help you to identify areas of improvement and efficiency, and continually improve them

5. Continual Improvement

Identifying and prioritizing the areas that need to be improved will ensure your organisation meets its objectives. Improvements can include ensuring changes in technology are assessed and adopted where appropriate, training new staff or upskilling existing ones

6. Evidence Based decision making

Adopting a data driven approach to decision-making will help the organisation prioritise and improve the areas that need it the most. Using good decision-making skills and tools will also lead to greater efficiency and reduce risks

7. Relationship management

Having an effective relationship with all your interested parties, whether it’s a supplier, regulator or staff will ensure mutual benefit and economic growth in a sustainable form

What are the benefits of ISO 9001 Quality Management?

The scope of a quality management system seeks to ensure that your organisation:

  • Delivers consistent services and products that satisfy customer and legal requirements
  • Provides a platform for providing assurance to customers, and a means of continual improvement

In following the plan-do-check-act process, the management team will begin to improve their planning processes and develop their skills of critical assessment. Part of this improvement will be to crystallise organisational objectives. As ISO 9001 can be applied at both a strategic and an operational level, the plan-do-check-act can be applied to organisational objectives, but also lower level improvement plans and processes.

The Plan-Do-Check-Act process is a critical element of the management system, and each time the cycle is followed through, the capabilities of the team will get better. Tangible improvement arising will include:

  • Risk Assessment skills
  • Methods to prioritise and plan operations
  • Process management
  • Reporting and communications
  • Management review and leadership

Applying these skills to your organisation will deliver enhanced performance on a range of aspects including more reliable production scheduling and delivery, or service delivery. The ongoing application of the PDCA cycle ensures ongoing identification of efficiency and time-saving processes. As these are often identified by staff operating the processes, this has a positive impact on their perceptions of the organisation and leads to greater job satisfaction.

As well as the Plan-Do-Check-Act process, ISO 9001:2015 is based on the ‘risk-based approach’. This focuses the organisational resources on the areas which are most likely to cause concern. As a result, your organisation will identify, manage and monitor the activities with most risk, and develop a set of data that enables better decision-making to make improvements. In turn, this increases the confidence that your Clients have in the ability to deliver positive outcomes.

In some cases, Clients demand that ISO management systems are attained. ISO 9001 is the most common requirement, although increasingly many Clients are requiring assurance on Occupational Health and Safety, Information Security and Business Continuity.

Other key benefits of ISO 9001:2015 are achieved through improved documentation of organisational aspects; for example, by mapping processing and defining roles and responsibilities, it is common to find gaps which need to be filled.

If you decide to have your Quality Management System audited externally by a UKAS accredited ISO Certification Body, you will be awarded an ISO 9001 Certificate which provides evidence that you meet all the requirements and are looking to continually improve. This objective evidence provides proof that your organisation attaches great importance to quality and is something that you can share with your Customers. In many instances, this will negate the need for every Customer to carry out a Supplier audit on your organisation. Even if they do, you can complete this task with greater confidence as you will be skilled in managing this process.

Examples of benefits against each principle:

Process Approach
  • Implementing QM effectively influences organisational process performance positively 
  • Improvement in staff management issues (for instance, more training for employees)
  • Gain competitive edge · International recognition
  • Improved leadership discipline
Customer Focus  
  • Organisations that implement quality management systems focus on providing value for their customers and as a result, improve their efficiencies
  • Customer focus and improved satisfaction leads to increased revenues because market advantage is gained
  • Other direct benefits are achieved because Customer relationships are improved: increased sales to existing customers, sales to new customers, fewer complaints from existing customers
  • Improved confidence by a Customer can lead to a reduction in the level of compliance intervention or administration that they impose
Continuous Improvement
  • Continuous improvement of processes and product quality leads to increased revenues and reduced costs
  • Continuous improvements can be gained across the organisation; more effective internal operations, better engagement with staff, reduced waste, and more profit
Engagement with People  Human resources benefits - gain more committed work force, reduction in staff turnover
Relationship management Benefits gained with respect to subcontractor relations – subcontractors to become certified, better relations with subcontractors, more stringent control over subcontractors. Improved relationships with authorities and other stakeholders
Evidence-based decision making  

How do I get ISO 9001?

Many companies ask what they need to do to ‘get’ ISO 9001. The answer is to apply the requirements of the ISO 9001 Standard to their management systems. In many cases, a successful business will meet the requirements because they are successful.

Getting ISO 9001 is then a process of being certified. UKAS accredited Certification Bodies are the organisations that will carry out a series of audits of the quality management system against the ISO Standard. As a result of the audit (if the QMS meets the Standard) the Organisation is awarded an ISO 9001 Certificate.

How long does it take to get an ISO 9001 certificate?

If you are beginning your journey to certification, it is easiest to consider three phases:

  1. Developing the Quality Management Systems
  2. Meeting the first phase of the ISO 9001 Audit Process
  3. Meeting the second phase of the ISO 9001 Audit Process

The process of developing a quality management system that meets the ISO 9001 standard can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months depending on the level of maturity of the organisation. In some cases, it is simply a case of introducing some new governance processes or developing documentation, whereas in others, an organisation will need to start from scratch.

The first phase of the ISO 9001 audit process is a ‘Stage 1’ Audit, which will look at the readiness of the system, and check against the required documentation. The benefit of the Stage 1 audit is that the organisation can test out its ideas or identify gaps without risking failing. The audit will result in a report that defines the amount of work needed to be complete before the Stage 2 audit is completed.

Usually, there is a gap between the Stage 1 and Stage 2 audits of 4 weeks to 6 months, which allows the organisation to gather more data and increase its capabilities.

What does ISO 9001 cost?

There are criticisms of ISO 9001 that it causes Organisations to incur costs, and that bad audits are a waste of time.

Like any product or service that an organisation buys, it needs to apply a level of governance. Just because a Certification Body awards a Quality certificate doesn’t make them infallible. However, the UKAS accredited Certification Bodies are subjected to quality standards themselves and UKAS acts as Ombudsmen, which gives you assurance that any issues will be resolved appropriately.

Typically, direct audit costs are charged on a day-rate basis and the number of days will vary according to the size of the business. Companies up to 50 people can expect initial certification costs of approximately £5k, and ongoing costs of £2k per annum. Spedan Ltd are Associate Consultants to the major ISO Certification Bodies and can help clarify your costs before you commit to one supplier.

Unnecessary costs may harm companies, including their employees, departments and customers.

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