Does ISO9001-2008 apply to your business?

People sometimes ask me if an ISO9001-2008 quality management system is applicable to their type of business. The answer is generally “of course it is!”. The ISO9001-2008 (some still refer to it as ISO9000) quality standard was intentionally written to be generic, and is applicable to pretty much any kind of organization. Maybe there’s a business out there to which ISO9001-2008 is not applicable, but I haven’t seen it. And I’ve been involved in implementing and maintaining quality management systems for over 20 years.

A very knowledgeable lead auditor friend of mine said ISO9001-2008 can be thought of as a set of good business practices. Good business practices include things like making sure you can fulfill your customer’s requirements, making sure the person receiving goods knows what was ordered, making sure your people are adequately trained, making sure everyone knows what their job is and how to do it. Having a formal system to correct problems and make sure they don’t happen again. Periodically stepping away from the day-to-day business to assess how your business is doing, including measurable objectives. These are all very good business ideas, and are applicable to most any type of business.

Personally I’ve working with many types of companies to implement quality systems. A motorcycle exhaust manufacturer, a medical IV pump repair company, a mining equipment service company, sheet metal shops, plastic injection molding companies, CNC machine shops, heat treating companies, etc. I’ve yet to see a company that could not benefit from a well-designed quality management system.

So, is ISO9001-2008 applicable to your business? Most likely yes. But another questions is: Do I need an ISO9001-2008 quality management system in my business? That’s up to you to decide. If you’re asking the question, the answer is probably yes. Often the need to obtain ISO certification is driven by your customers. If that’s the case, it’s a simple business decision. For a small manufacturing company of around 10 people, it could cost you $6000 to $15000.00 to get ISO9001-2008 certification. The following years will cost much less. How much business will you keep if you get ISO certified? How much could you lose if you don’t? How many new customer doors will be opened when you proudly hang your new certificate in your entrance?

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