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Since the 1960s, HACCP has been recognized internationally as a logical tool for adapting traditional inspection methods to a modern, science-based, food safety system.
Since the 1960s, HACCP has been recognized internationally as a logical tool for adapting traditional inspection methods to a modern, science-based, food safety system.

ISO 14001 is under review. After its original publication in 1996, this is the first time it’s going through major changes. The review process is currently at the Draft International Standard (DIS) stage, the fourth stage of a six stage process, and  the final revised ISO 14001:2015 is due to be published by the end of 2015. Some of the main changes ISO 14001:2004 is undergoing are:

  1. The first change to ISO 14001:2004 concerns its structure. This revision is based on the ISO Guide 83 (“Annex SL”) which defines a common high level structure, text and common terms and definitions for the next generation of management systems. This structure aims to facilitate the implementation process and the integration of several management systems in a harmonized, structured and efficient manner. Such structure is as follow:
    1. Scope
    2. Normative References
    3. Terms and Definitions
    4. Context of the Organization
    5. Leadership
    6. Planning
    7. Support
    8. Operation
    9. Performance Evaluation
    10. Improvement
  2. New concepts have been added, such as “supply chain”, “value chain” and “product life cycle” and existing definitions have been modified to give a different emphasis and to improve clarity.
  3. Two new clauses have been introduced which focuses on an organization’s context. These require organizations to determine the issues and requirements that can influence the scope of its EMS and take them into account.
  4. There’s a greater emphasis on top management, requiring them to take the lead in integrating the environmental management practices into their organization’s core strategies, processes, and priorities.
  5. Regarding environmental policy, organization should be committed to protecting the environment rather than just preventing its pollution, as stated in ISO 14001:2004.
  6. A greater emphasis is placed on an organization determining its own risk profile.
  7. Organizations are required to control or influence processes and services associated with significant environmental aspects, organizational risks, lifecycle and emergency preparedness.
  8. There is a greater focus on environmental performance improvement across the value chain.
  9. The DIS does not include specific requirements for preventive action. The new standard no longer thinks of preventive measures as a separate topic, but rather as a central component of all environmental-related activities.
  10. Environmental objectives have been given a separate sub-clause with the “planning actions to achieve environmental objectives.”
  11. The terms “document” and “record” have both been replaced throughout the DIS with the term “documented information”. The DIS states that documented information must be maintained to the extent necessary to have confidence that the processes have been carried out as planned.

It is important to mention that this standard is still under review, and there is still to see which changes will make it to the final revision. However, it’s clear that the overall goal of ISO 14001:2015 is to respond to the latest environmental trends, help organizations improve their environmental performance and prepare them for future environmental challenges.

 

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The quality management system (QMS) standard ISO 9001:2008 is currently under review. Like all ISO standards, which go through a revision every 5 years, ISO 9001 is being updated to reflect new technological advancements in the workplace and a to give a higher focus on the quality of outputs to customers.

The review process is currently at the Final Draft International Stage (FDIS), the fifth stage of a six stage process and  the final revised ISO 9001:2015 is due to be published by September 2015. Some of the upcoming changes to ISO 9001:2008 are:

  1. The new ISO 9001 standard aligns with high-level organizational structure established on the ISO Guide 83 (“Annex SL”), requiring all new ISO management system standards to be aligned on a high-level structure with a set of common requirements. This structure aims to facilitate the implementation process and the integration of several management systems in a harmonized, structured and efficient manner. Such structure is as follow:
    1. Scope
    2. Normative References
    3. Terms and Definitions
    4. Context of the Organization
    5. Leadership
    6. Planning
    7. Support
    8. Operation
    9. Performance Evaluation
    10. Improvement
  2. Some concepts are replaced, such as the term “product” is replaced by “goods & services” and “continual” by “continual improvement.” “Purchasing” and “outsourcing” will be replaced by “external provision of goods and services”
  3. The new standard puts a greater emphasis on the “context of the organization” which implies a broader measurement, planning and implementation view.
  4. The new standard will take a risk-based approach to determine the type and extent of controls appropriate to each external provider and all external provision of goods and services. The proposed standard addresses risks which can affect conformity of goods and services as well as customer satisfaction.
  5. Senior management will be required to take a more active involvement in the quality management system.
  6. There will be general requirements for documentation, with no reference to documented quality manual, documented procedures or to quality records. The DIS refers to “Documented Information.”
  7. The need for exclusions may not be considered to be necessary in the new version of the standard but feedback on this is being sought as part of the revision process.

Regardless of the upcoming changes, ISO 9001 will continue to be a generic standard, relevant to all sizes and types of organizations in any sector and it will continue to deliver “confidence in the organization’s ability to consistently provide product or services that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements”.

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No one can deny the increasing impact of human activities on our environment. Our society is ever more preoccupied and occupied on the many issues affecting our environment today, such as pollution, over-consumption of resources, degradation of ecosystems and biodiversity, and an increasing world population that demands resources in the amount and quality that will ensure a decent and fulfilling life.

Organizations everywhere have implemented environmental management systems (EMS) to ensure compliance with an increasingly stringent legislation, control the impacts of their activities, products or services, and increase sound environmental performance.

Implementing and conforming to an EMS based on the ISO 14001 standard not only shows that an organization is environmentally responsible, but it also brings numerous benefits within the organization by:

  • Identifying cost savings with greater emphasis on resources, waste and energy management.
  • Quantifying, monitoring and controlling the impact of operations on the environment, now and in the future.
  • Increasing profits through potential process improvements and energy conservation.
  • Reducing costs as a result of potentially lower insurance rates.
  • Verifying your systems for recognizing and complying with environmental laws and regulations.
  • Improve environmental performance of supply chain.
  • Ensuring that information is properly documented, communicated and retained.
  • Increasing employee awareness and participation by making it clear that environmental performance is an important part of the organization’s culture
  • Improving management of environmental risks and emergency preparedness and response procedures.

Other benefits of ISO 14001 come from how the organization is seen from outside by interested parties, some of these are:

  • Improved corporate image among business partners, regulatory agencies, and community by showing that the organization is environmentally responsible.
  • Improved relationships with government regulatory agencies; organizations that have implemented ISO 14001 find that regulators are quicker to provide technical support, and find that the regulators are much more supportive in general.
  • Advantage over competitors when tendering for business.
  • Grow access to business partners and potential customers.

ISO 14001 provides organizations with knowledge, tools and techniques to build success over the long term and create new opportunities for development and growth. These tools can be aligned with an organization’s priorities, strategy and decision-making by integrating them with other business requirements and embedding environmental governance into its overall management system, thereby achieving both environmental and economic goals.

The market is driving organizations to demonstrate their success in protecting our environment; more and more people want to be environmentally responsible and they are doing so by choosing products and services that have been designed, produced, developed and delivered in an environmentally friendly way. Therefore, in the near future, ISO 14001 will become a prerequisite for doing business worldwide.

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Today, more and more organizations are deciding to adopt the ISO 9001 standard as a guideline for their quality management system (QMS). With the implementation of ISO 9001, an organization demonstrates its ability to consistently provide products or services that comply with applicable law and meet the demands of its customers. If an organization implements and maintains a successful QMS it will gain a number of benefits.

Benefits of ISO 9001 within the market:

  • Improved image of products or services offered.
  • Level playing field with large companies when bidding for new contracts.
  • Preferential treatment from potential customers who themselves have implemented ISO 9001.
  • Adherence to the ISO standards can be publicized to gain market access abroad, because many foreign buyers place a premium on these standards.
  • For organizations that obtain certification, most certification bodies keep an updated list of certified companies and organizations and provide this list upon request to potential customers or other interested parties.

Benefits of ISO 9001 with customers:

  • Improved customer satisfaction.
  • Obtaining certification will reduce the frequency of audits of the QMS by different customers.
  • Secure customers’ loyalty as their needs and expectations will be continually met, leading to more business opportunities.

Benefits of ISO 9001 for the organization’s QMS:

  • Quality will be seen as everyone’s responsibility instead of being the sole responsibility one person (the quality control inspector or manager).
  • Serve as a means to maintain and improve the effectiveness and adequacy of the QMS, by highlighting areas with potential for improvement.
  • Increase motivation and participation of staff and improve resources management.
  • QMS will provide you with a means of documenting the organization’s experience in a structured manner (quality manual, procedures, instructions, etc).
  • You will generate savings, as the costs of reprocessing, rework, repeat inspections, replacing products, penalties due to delayed deliveries, customer returns, customer complaints and warranty claims will gradually fall.

The biggest benefit to be gained from maintaining a QMS from ISO 9001 is the huge savings an organization can make by considerably reducing the cost of failures. By aiming to consistently produce quality products or services, organizations will reduce waste and thus lower costs. They will have more satisfied customers who will have fewer problems with their product or service.

All these will have a major effect on sales revenue, improve market share and engender in an organization’s customers a higher level of satisfaction.

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In order for organizations to successfully implement an ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) that provides confidence to customers and serves as an instrument for continuous improvement, the implementation process should be taken up as a project, following these steps and recommendations:

Step 1: Nominate a Team.

  • A small team consisting of a senior person from each department should be appointed by management for system development.
  • A coordinator must be designated.
  • The team should undergo awareness and documentation training on the ISO 9000 family of standards with a professional training organization.

Step 2: Carry out a gap analysis

  • Start with a flow chart showing how information currently circulates, from order placement by the customer to delivery of the product or service.
  • Follow with a flow chart of activities in each department.
  • Formulate a list of existing procedures and work instructions for the most relevant activities in each department.
  • Other activities and processes that are considered relevant at this point can be added.
  • Identify gaps throughout this process.
  • A time-bound action plan to close the gaps identified during this exercise should be prepared and action taken as planned.

Step 3: Prepare documentation

  • Procedures should be limited the documentation that is required.
  • Additional procedures and records should be devised only if they add value to the system.
  • Involve all personnel concerned in the development of the procedures and work instructions applicable to their areas.
  • Documentation should reflect current practice and not ideas of what should be implemented.
  • New forms and checklists should be created if necessary; otherwise adopt existing ones to the extent possible.

Step 4: Train and implement

  • Train all employees. Everyone should know their responsibilities in order to successfully implement and maintain the QMS.

Step 5: Conduct Internal audit and improvement

  • Some managers and staff members should be trained by a professional trainer to carry out internal auditing.
  • Conduct the first internal audit approximately three months from implementation.
  • Correct any gap found during the audit.
  • Once the system stabilizes, internal audits should be conducted at planned intervals.
  • To improve the system internal audits, customer feedback data, process and product monitoring data, evidence of the attainment or not of quality objectives, corrective actions taken, etc. should be used.
  • Management should provide financial and other resources for improvement projects and monitor the progress of improvement.

Step 6: Management review

  • Top management should review the QMS.
  • As a result of this review, management may decide to set new targets for quality objectives and to make the improvements needed in the QMS.

Step 7: Certification

  • Certification is voluntary; therefore the need for it should be decided by management.
  • Once the system has been in operation for a few months, organizations may consider making an application for certification.

An action plan for developing QMS covering the above activities should be prepared. The plan should define the responsibilities of team members and management and set target dates. Full implementation may require six to nine months.

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If your organization is ready to become ISO 9001 certified, there are a number of steps you can expect to go through on your path to certification. Once an organization has decided to obtain certification and has made a choice of the certification body (CB), the organization must:

 Make a formal certification application to the CB.

  • Fill out the application forms, which require a large amount of information about the organization and its operations. This will enable the CB to determine the scope of the certification activities and to appoint the team leader for the audit process.

 The initial certification audit consists of a two-stage audit as described below:

 The Stage 1 Audit determines if an organization is ready or not for a compliance audit.

  • Organizations need to supply all relevant management and quality documentation to the CB.
  • The CB determines if the organization is ready or not to undergo Stage 2 or compliance audit.
  • If the organization is not ready, the CB will inform accordingly and stop the process.
  • If the organization is ready, but a few nonconformities have to be rectified before the compliance audit can take place, the CB will provide the organization with a report.
  • After nonconformities have been corrected, the organization must inform the CB, and if they concur with the actions taken, a compliance audit is arranged.

 The Stage 2 Audit evaluates the implementation and effectiveness of the organization’s QMS.

  • The team leader assembles a team of auditors and experts concomitant with the organization’s scope of activities, complexities and size of operations.
  • A time for the audit is agreed and scheduled.
  • Auditors will assess whether the contents of the documentation provided is consistent with the activities of the organization as well as the requirements of the standard.
  • Overall findings and the list of non-conformities (if any) are presented.
  • If the QMS complies with the requirements, the team will recommend to the certification committee of the CB that the organization should be certified.
  • If there are non-conformities found, the team will agree with the organization a time schedule (typically 3 months) and the modalities for rectifying the non-conformities.
  • The team may wish to witness the new procedures, or if the non-conformities are of a minor nature, the organization can send them evidence that these non-conformities have been fixed.
  • The team will recommend to the certification committee of the CB that the organization should be certified.

Learn more about Stage 1 and 2 audits.

Certification

  • Authorized persons or a committee which was not involved in the audit will review the audit report and the clearance report of the nonconformities and make a decision regarding certification.
  • The decision will be followed by the issue of certification documents.

 Surveillance Audits

  • The CB will conduct a surveillance audit usually once a year.
  • There are a few areas that will always be included in the surveillance audit, such as internal audits and management reviews as well as the non-conformity system.
  • If any non-conformity is raised during the surveillance audits, the organization must correct them efficiently within an agreed time frame, otherwise certification may be lost.

 Recertification Audit

  • In the third year of certification, a re-certification audit will be conducted, similar to the original compliance audit.
  • If this is negotiated successfully, the organization will be recertified for another three-year period, and the whole cycle repeats itself.