So you’ve got your new ISO9001:2000 certificate. Now what?

For the umpteenth time I’m working with a company that has just recently passed their first ISO9001:2000 registration audit. Needless to say there was considerable excitement, and lots of high-fives around the office when we found out we passed the audit. After many months of work, a few arguments, some compromises, and a lot of hand-holding, it was finally time to celebrate.

The temptation is definitely there to abandon everything they were taught, and go back to the familiar old ways. Knowing there are 11 months before the next “real” audit, its easy for people to forget they have to keep the ISO thing going.

Obviously it is important to keep some of the momentum going. Employees and management were certainly all fired-up in the months leading up to the registration audit. If we don’t relax TOO much, its easier to keep at least a little of that pre-audit energy going into the rest of the year.

I will have to say the really tough part is over. Creating a brand new ISO9001:2000 quality management system from scratch takes a lot of time and effort. Once it’s done, (is it ever really done?) it’s relatively easy to maintain.

At this point in the quality system’s life, it is extremely important to maintain an effective system of internal auditing. People have to know that the ISO quality system is not going away. Frequent, small internal audits are my choice to keep people on their toes, and to make sure nothing slips too far.

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