In order to achieve ISO 9001 certification, it will be necessary to have an independent, third-party ISO 9001 auditor visit your company and perform the certification audit. The ISO 9001 certification audit can be performed soon after you have completed your internal audit.
Now it's time to select your ISO 9001 registrar. The ISO 9001 registrar is the independent entity that sends the auditor and issues the ISO 9001 certificate. There are many companies offering certification services but please be careful: some are not officially accredited! Start your search on the internet and compare the different registrars. Our Registrar Evaluation Form (included in the ISO 9001 Forms Collection and ISO 9001 Complete Package) will help you select an ISO 9001 registrar that's ideal for your company's individual circumstances.
The ISO 9001 certification audit is similar to your internal audits. The auditor will visit some or all departments of your company and randomly verify that the requirements in your ISO 9001 Quality Management Manual, procedures and work instructions are being followed by your employees. There are several typical auditor questions and several ISO 9001 requirements that most auditors will focus on. To help you prepare best, we compiled a collection of valuable Audit Preparation Tips, which exclusively come with the ISO 9001 Complete Package.
If the auditor doesn't uncover any significant problems with your ISO 9001 quality management system, you will receive the ISO 9001 certification. If, however, the auditor finds some significant problems, you will have an opportunity to correct those problems before the ISO 9001 certification is issued.
ISO 9001 is the most widely recognized quality standard worldwide, and the ISO 9001 certification offers many marketing benefits to small businesses and midsize companies. Once you successfully passed the certification audit, you should, therefore, leverage your new ISO 9001 certification in marketing. You may want to prepare a press release, send notification cards to your customers, print your certification mark on business cards and letterhead, add your ISO 9001 certification mark to your advertisement, display a banner outside your office building and last but not least, recognize your employees for the hard work they put into this effort. Our ISO 9001 Complete Package includes useful ISO 9001 Marketing Tips.
The ISO 9001 certification is not a one-time event. Your ISO 9001 registrar will perform a surveillance audit once or twice a year to verify continued ISO 9001 compliance. Your ISO 9001 quality management system is designed to continually improve itself. Make sure it remains implemented, continue your internal audits, and we are convinced you'll see your company's performance improvements at the bottom line!
In section 10.3, ISO 9001:2015 requires to "continually improve the suitability, adequacy and effectiveness of the quality management system". Meeting this requirement is easy with our ISO 9001 Quality Management Manual as the required continual improvement is built-in.
ISO 9001 for small businesses and midsize companies can be both easy and rewarding if done right. We recommend implementing ISO 9001 along these five steps using our Complete Package; it contains the necessary templates and other necessary materials, as well as detailed step-by-step instructions.