ISO stands for International Standardization Organization. They are a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from almost 100 countries. The organization develops and publishes international standards to make worldwide trade easier. For a business, compliance with ISO standards ensures stability, as there is a high possibility that people across the world will be able to read and understand your product based on these standards. Here is what you need to know.
The History of ISO Compliance
ISO became a reality in 1946. The organization was created to introduce the standardization of products, processes, and services. Not only does ISO ensure standardization across borders, but it is also meant to make the world as a whole aware of such standards. To achieve this goal, the organization works on creating an environment where companies can converge and share information with each other. This is because all members work voluntarily and come from different backgrounds and cultures. They do not endorse or promote any kind of product or service that they develop standards for, and every member has equal say in proceedings (although large economies like the USA and Canada have more voting power).
What Does ISO Certification Mean?
A lot of companies are now focusing on getting ISO certification as part of their business strategy. Companies like Microsoft and IBM have already received ISO certificates for their software. Over time, the legal and market requirements that require third-party audits or certification may pressure companies into undergoing such processes in order to remain competitive and relevant within their industry.
When seeking certification for your business, it’s best to hire a consultant. When looking for an ISO consultant, make sure you ask what kind of training they have had (if any) and how much experience they have with various industries (e.g., manufacturing). You should also find out if they are familiar with your type of product or service. It is important that your company undergoes a thorough self-assessment before you consult a professional. This way, the consultant will have a clear idea of your company’s strengths and weaknesses in order to recommend the most appropriate certification scheme for your business.
How Does ISO Certification Work?
The first step when getting ISO certification is to select an independent body that can provide third-party assessment in accordance with ISO standards. These bodies are called registrars, and they should be accredited by The International Accreditation Forum (IAF). Once you find an accredited organization that offers ISO certification services, you need to decide on which certification scheme suits your business best. There are four main categories:
- Quality Management Systems (QMS) – If your company deals with products or services where quality is key, you need to get QMS certification. You can either do this through the ISO 9001:2008 or the ISO 9004:2009 standards.
- Environmental Management Systems (EMS) – If your company deals with products and services where environmental protection is important, you should get EMS certification following one of the standards in the ISO 14001 series.
- Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OHSAS 18001) – Standards for managing OHSAS are published in standard ISO 18001 series, which provides a framework for assessing your organization’s health and safety procedures. This scheme provides a good source of information on workers’ rights in terms of working conditions, hours, etc. If you’re planning to outsource work to other countries where workers’ rights are not as good as in your home country, it is best to get an OHSAS 18001 certification.
- Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) – Standards for managing ISMS can be found in ISO 27001 series. Achieving ISO 27001 certification will ensure that your business deals with data security issues effectively and takes the necessary measures required to provide a secure environment for your employees and clients alike.
Benefits of ISO Certification
ISO certification has many benefits for your company. Here are the best ones:
Customers are getting more aware of environmental issues. For example, some customers may demand proof that your company does not use sweatshops, while others may want to know about the working conditions in which you produce your products. ISO certification demonstrates that your business is committed to socially responsible practices and ethical behavior by putting into place policies and procedures that ensure that the interests of every stakeholder (including customers) are respected. With ISO 9000 series QMS, customers can be sure that they are buying high-quality products or services since these standards require all processes to be checked for effective implementation.
ISO certifications are good for your company’s public image, which means that customers are more likely to have confidence in you. This, in turn, will lead to an increase in sales. You can also save money on outsourced work since suppliers will be less likely to make mistakes if they know that the ISO certification is your ultimate goal.
ISO certification demonstrates that your company has invested time and effort in improving the quality of its products or services. This proves that you are serious about best practices with regards to risk management, legal compliance, etc. Therefore, if your company is ever involved in a lawsuit over product liability issues, ISO certification can come as a lifesaver by helping you demonstrate due diligence.
Companies who want to sell their products or services to other countries can benefit from ISO certification since it provides an acceptance of the quality systems used within the organization, which means that customers will be more likely to buy your goods and services abroad covering larger parts of the market. Suddenly, competition doesn’t seem so fierce.
ISO certification offers value to your company by demonstrating that the quality systems followed within the organization are on par with those used by other organizations. This means that you will probably be granted patents more easily than others, as well as be able to defend them successfully.
ISO certification shows that your organization has invested in the training and development of their staff by helping workers understand how to use quality management systems effectively. This proves to employees that the company is serious about enhancing performance within its workforce through better communication, teamwork, etc.
It’s pretty clear that ISO compliance is highly beneficial for organizations. To get it, you need to invest in the right training and make sure that your company follows all the rules required by different standards. For example, if you are interested in ISO 9001 certification, you will have to make sure that there are no problems with documentation since this standard requires all records to be well-kept.