ISO 9001:2015

Achieving certification to ISO 9001:2015 or any other Standard involves logical steps starting with a review of the standard against the system you are currently operating and noting strengths and weaknesses.

The new Standard no longer requires you to have a Quality Manual, it no longer requires any written procedures, and has been revised to allow more businesses to achieve ISO 9001:2015  especially in the service sectors where historically ISO 9001:2008 did not always lend itself to this type of sector.

The new standard is built around  7 Quality Management Principles :

QMP 1 – Customer Focus
QMP 2 – Leadership
QMP 3 – Engagement of people
QMP 4 – Process Approach
QMP 5 – Improvement
QMP 6 – Evidence-Based Decision Making
QMP 7 – Relationship Management.

Can a small business achieve ISO 9001?
How do I apply for ISO 9001?
How do I prepare a Quality Policy
How long does it take to get ISO 9001?
QSC Quality Policy
Should I appoint a Consultant?

Can a small business achieve ISO 9001?

With ever growing demands for improved quality and service and the number of companies employing one or two employees increasing, ISO 9001 is an ideal way of meeting customer demands and expectations. The new Standard is flexible enough to be adopted in businesses for small one man band companies to multi nationals.

The key benefits of implementing the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System in smaller companies is that it instils disciplines and controls. The system helps businesses identify weaknesses and drives continual improvement. The System however does not have to be over bureaucratic. There are hundreds of small companies who are ISO 9001 registered but do not have mountains of files or documents to complete. Yes there are certain requirements that have to be completed, such as a Quality Policy, but other documents are no more than would normally be expected in any professionally operated company.

Key benefits

  • Increased customer value
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Improved customer loyalty
  • Enhanced repeat business
  • Enhanced reputation of the organisation
  • Expanded customer base
  • Increased revenue and market share

How do I apply for certification to ISO 9001?

Firstly you need to ensure that you have met all of the relevant requirements of the Standard. If you are certain that you have covered all the requirements of the ISO 9001:2015 Standard and would like to attain certification, Acorn certification can arrange for a Third Party Audit of your system by a qualified Auditor.

You cannot be certified to ISO 9001:2015 if you have Non Conformities (NC’s) raised against you, however most NC’s are easy enough to correct and registration can be issued after corrective actions have been implemented and evidence sent to the auditor. If a major Non Conformance is raised the Audit may be stopped and you will not be certified until the major area(s) have been corrected.

How do I prepare a Quality Policy?

A Quality Policy should be appropriate to the purpose of the organisation. The essential elements of the policy are:

It should contain a commitment to comply with legal and regulatory requirements, as well as continually improving the effectiveness of the Quality Management System.

The Policy should provide a framework for establishing and reviewing quality objectives.

It should be easy to understand and regularly reviewed to ensure its appropriateness.

The Policy should be signed by the top management or CEO.

Ultimately the policy is a reflection on the commitment of the company and should be the cornerstone to the Quality System. The policy should be freely available to anyone that requests it. Remember!  when you alter and update any document including the policy, you will need to maintain them in a formal manner. Failure to do so will lead to document control issues, and may lead to a non conformance during your audits.


How long does it take to get ISO 9001?

This is one of the most often asked questions. The truth is there is no set time scales that can be given because there are so many variables as each company/organisation is different. However you need to consider some of the following points which will give you some indications on your progress towards certification:

Have you got in place all the necessary documents?

Have you carried out business risk assessments,  internal audits, communication, set targets and objectives etc and do you have records in place to support all of these?

Is there sufficient documented evidence (documents can be electronic as well as hard copy) to enable an Auditor to follow the complete quality process from start to finish? Typically the auditor will want to see at least 3 projects at Audit. Have you had a Management Review and are minutes available? Is all your measuring/monitoring equipment (where applicable) calibrated ?  Do you have an Approved Supplier List, have you determined the criteria for supplier selection?

These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourselves. As a rule of thumb, you need to have at least 3 months worth of records to support your Quality System. Some people would argue that it is possible to achieve registration with less than 3 months records, but as qualified Auditors as well as Consultants we consider 3 months is a minimum. So if you are fully committed to achieving ISO 9001 in a short space of time and you have the infrastructure and drive, it is possible to achieve ISO 9001 in 3 months from start to finish depending on the nature of the business, the complexity, the determination of the business and commitment.

Acorn Certification Quality Policy

It is the Policy and Objective of the company to:

  • Satisfy our customer’s needs and expectations taking into account legal and regulatory requirements ,by delivering world-class service to an agreed specification,on-time,every time.
  • Operate,maintain and improve our documented Management System.
  • Set and review our quality objectives to ensure continual improvement.
  • Continuously review our operating practices with the aim of further improving our services to our customers.
  • Achieving and sustaining these high standards requires a systematic and disciplined approach by all employees.The implementation of a documented Quality System that complies with BS EN ISO 9001:2015 provides a disciplined structure for the further development and improvement of company systems and services to meet our customers’ future needs.
  • Compliance with the Quality System is mandatory for all personnel. Its success will be achieved by the commitment,dedication and participation of everyone in the company. Each employee will therefore receive the fullest training and support to ensure that the Quality System is understood, implemented and maintained throughout the company.
  • This policy is available to all interested parties.

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