This article was originally published by ISO.org here and has been expanded and updated by Aurion ISO Consultants and ISOUpdate.
ISO 9001:2015 Certification is seen by many as an essential Standard all organizations should opt for to enhance customer satisfaction and delivering quality first products and services. Implementing a certified Quality Management System through the framework of ISO 9001:2015 aids your organization in building a robust control system to help with quality control, achieve quality objectives, and business goals.
However, there are some myths and misconceptions that tend to surround ISO 9001:2015 that might be affecting your view or opinion of the Standard and Quality Management Systems that someone you know or work with might have. In this article, we will highlight some common myths of ISO 9001:2015 certification and explain why they just are not true!
Here are some of the common myths of ISO 9001:2015 Certification and the reality:
Myth 1 – ISO Is Complicated
ISO Certification guidelines and procedures at first instance seem a bit complicated. They are written with terms and words that we might not be familiar with or phrased in such a way that is not always the easiest to understand for newbies. We get it – there is a reason why companies offer whole courses dedicated to “understanding ISO 9001:2015”.
However, starting with the fundamentals of the quality management principles gives way to a more structured process that any organization can easily follow.
If you can overcome the initial confusion, there are a few simple steps you can take to better wrap your head around the standard.
Step 1: Consider Training
You might want to investigate what courses are available to you, either through your Certification Body, through recommendations from your consultant or auditor, who will often have ample information on ISO standards, tried and tested checklists, and frameworks to easily implement the system standard in any type of organization. You can also view courses listed on ISOUpdate.com or other reputable online sources or even YouTube!
Step 2: Companion Documentation
ISO 9001:2015 has several companion documents that are available to you to help understand the standard. For example:
- ISO 9002:2016 – Guidelines on the application of ISO 9001:2015
- ISO 9002:2015 – Quality management – Quality of an organization – Guidance to achieve sustained success
- ISO 10005:2018 – Quality management – Guidelines for quality plans
Myth 2 – ISO Follows Very Old Documentation
ISO 9001 was first published in 1987 and historically has been revised and updated every few years. Updates has been made due to feedback, industry trends, and worldwide demand changes. Updates and revisions are made to make ISO 9001 relevant and practical to users. “ISO 9001:2015 incorporates elements such as a stronger focus on stakeholders and the wider context of an organization to fit the evolving needs of modern business” – source.
ISO 9001:2015 framework can be used across organizations of any size of business activity.
It focuses on a holistic approach by following the plan, do, check, act enabling a well-defined structure for organizations to follow. It helps in providing quality services and continually improving the processes.
Note: the year noted after the semi-colon refers to the year the revision was released. As of publishing this article, ISO 9001:2015 is the current revision of the standard. Companies certified to anything older are not considered certified.
Myth 3 – ISO 9001:2015 is Only for Large Businesses
ISO Certification Standards are designed to be generic and flexible to allow organizations to customize to their needs. Any organization can utilize the framework regardless of the size of the business type.
Note: In a smaller organization, implementing ISO 9001 could be quite easy as there will be limited staff to train, and business processes could be easily optimized to the ISO quality benchmarks.
ISO 9001 Standard is about defining, measuring, and improving processes. It provides the organization with quality guidelines and frameworks to ensure employees of all levels follow continuous improvements and best practices.
In large or small organizations, the process of the QMS System implementation is the same. Differences only occur in how each clause of the standard translates to how you do business. Custom-fit your QMS to how you best run your business and ISO 9001:2015 will work for you!
Myth 4 – ISO 9001:2015 Certification is Very Expensive
ISO Certification cost is determined by various factors such as employee size, nature of the business activity, level of technology adoption, scope of the quality management system implementation, employee training requirements, ISO Consultant reputation, ISO Certification body selected, and more.
The cost of ISO Certification implementation for an organization is often negotiable (to an extent) and does not have a fixed cost structure. It varies depending on the complexity of the ISO Certification implementation.
Note: Trusted ISO Consultants like AURION will guide you in getting ISO Certified at the lowest cost and best-in-class ISO certification implementation service.
Fixed costs are noted from Accreditation Bodies for the Certification of your QMS which is dictated by the number of employees your organization has. This will determine the number of days your audit will have to take place and is not negotiable.
Myth 5 – ISO 9001:2015 is Only for Manufacturers
The ISO 9001:2015 Certification Standard is widely in use across many industries such as hospitals, banks, universities, software companies, and other service or manufacturing businesses.
ISO Certification helps organizations to demonstrate their capabilities in delivering quality first products & services. ISO Certification is an internationally recognized standard for quality and standardization of products & services of any organization.
Guidelines and best practices apply to all types of organizations for streamlining their business operations and focus on improving the quality of services and enhance customer satisfaction.
Myth 6 – ISO 9001:2015 Requires a lot of Paperwork
Technically, there is no required documented processes or procedures in ISO 9001:2015. However, you do have to maintain documented information to support the operation of your processes and retain documented information to show processes are being carried out as planned.
Also, if you have deemed it important or necessary for your operations, you must keep documented information necessary for the effectiveness of the QMS. If you say you need it documented, you should keep it documented.
While documentation is required, the true number of things is limited, and especially in the 2015 revision. Historically documentation has been seen as a massive undertaking, however, ISO 9001:2015 is more flexible than previous revisions.
The integration of ISO Certification Standard into an organization system is more of a practical exercise than a policy manual preparation and documentation.
Documentation in ISO 9001:2015 is more flexible and your company is encouraged to document in a way that is appealing to your organization and in a way that makes sense for how your organization operates.
Myth 7- You Need a Perfect System to Get ISO Certified
In short, no – but it must be functioning. While ISO 9001:2015 offers guidelines to transform an existing management system or develop one from scratch, certification requires a few more steps. For your company and its QMS to become certified, you will need to implement the quality management system practices effectively – meaning the ISO 9001:2015 framework needs to be followed, tailored to your organization, processes need to be documented where applicable, and systems need to be audited in regular intervals.
Certification happens over a few stages and lasts for 3-year cycles including an internal and an external audit. To learn more about the Stages of ISO Certification, read this article.
What is helpful for new quality management systems is that it is a forgiving system and auditors are not auditing to find faults in your system but rather find opportunities for improvement. If you receive help from organizations like Aurion or any other local consultant, your organization can be ready for certification in approximately 3 months.
Your system does not need to be perfect – you want to have findings (non-conformances or opportunities for improvement), as it is a way to learn from your mistakes and grow – what the industry calls Value-Added Auditing.
About the Author
John Wick is an ISO Consultant working with Aurion ISO Consultants in Dubai. John likes to write on ISO Training, ISO Consulting, latest changes in ISO Standards, industry-wise benefits from getting ISO Certified. Reach out for expert consultation on any ISO related queries.
Aurion ISO Consultants, Dubai offers world-class ISO Services such as Training, Consulting, Certification, Implementation, and Audits in Dubai, UAE and Worldwide.
Aurion ISO Consultants is an Award-Winning Consultant firm in Dubai, UAE and one of the fastest-growing ISO Service provider in the UAE and GCC region. We have assisted 1800 clients across several countries globally.
To the novice quality manager, ISO jargon can be extremely overwhelming. What is an NCR? What do you mean by OFI? Are we certified or accredited? But before you go and pull out your hair, let’s take a moment to go over some of the most frequently used terms and their definitions with regards to ISO and Management System Certification.