Reap benefits of ISO9001-2008 without any cost

So you’ve probably heard about this ISO9001-2008 quality standard. You may be wondering what its all about. Maybe a customer of yours has suggested you get it. Then when you find out the cost of a consultant and registration audit, you start having second thoughts. Is it worth it? Only you can decide.

There are some companies out there who “self-certify” themselves to be in compliance with the ISO9001-2008 quality standard. These companies are reaping some of the benefits of having an effective quality management system, but they’re not paying the stiff fees associated with registration and surveillance audits. Of course, they don’t have the marketing benefit of saying to the world “hey, look at us, we’ve got ISO9001-2008 certification, you should buy from us!”. They can try to make the point that their quality system is equally as good as their competitor’s who have their ISO9001 certification, but it’s a difficult case to make without independent audits.

I’ve worked with one company that is in an industry that really doesn’t care about ISO9001-2008. Really, many people in the industry haven’t even heard of ISO9001-2008, so the company has very little incentive to spend the big bucks on annual third-party audits. But they were interested in reaping some of the benefits of an organized, effective quality management system.

Here are some of the things that are part of ISO9001 that you can implement yourself at no cost:

1. A corrective and preventive action program. Wouldn’t it be nice to solve a problem once, take action to prevent its recurrence, and not worry about it again? Or do you enjoy wasting time fixing the same problem over and over again?

2. Document control. Have you ever found an employee using a procedure or drawing or specifications that were obsolete? By using obsolete information, did that employee waste the company’s time and money by making something that was to the wrong spec? Or worse, did that bad product find its way to your customer before you found out about it? Do you think that customer is happy about this? Controlling your documents to prevent unauthorized changes and prevent the use of obsolete information can be crucial to turning out good products.

3. Supplier review and approval. It’s important to keep track of your suppliers’ performance. How many rejections did you have from that vendor last year? Do you know? How much time did you waste talking to the vendor about their screw ups? How much money did you waste having to expedite shipping from an alternate supplier because your usual supplier didn’t ship on time, or shipped the wrong things? Do yourself a favor and check out potential vendors before you buy from them, and keep track of their performance.

4. Contract / Sales order review. What’s that you say? Your customer’s purchase order for 5000 pieces has a price of $4.50 each, and your current price is $5.00 each? And your inside sales person was just too busy to look at the purchase order and went ahead and entered it anyway, without notifying the customer? Are you going to eat the $1250.00 to keep your customer happy? Or are you going to risk losing future business? If you had an effective contract review procedure, you could avoid problems like these.

ISO9001-2008 can be considered a set of good business practices, and I’ve yet to come across a company that didn’t benefit internally from implementing ISO9001. There are more benefits from other areas of the ISO9001-2008 quality standard, I’ll go into more detail later.

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One Response to “Reap benefits of ISO9001-2008 without any cost”

  1. There is really no substitution for having a real ISO 9001 certification in place. Companies which use self certification techniques wont pull the wool over everyones eyes. Customers will eventually recognise the fact that your competitors are fully ISO 9001 certified and while you do your best to keep up with those set of standards the self-certification root can never fully replicate the real thing.

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