Benefits of an ISO 9001-based System

What are the benefits of having an ISO 9001-based quality management system? Lets begin by looking at the benefits to your employees and the organization:

Employee Benefits

To successfully implement and maintain a quality management system, employees need to understand its value to them. The better they understand what’s in it for them personally, and how the organization also benefits, the more receptive they will be to the changes and work involved to make it happen.

Employees benefit from the improved internal communication and top management support. Conformity with ISO 9001 means suitable and well maintained equipment, along with the training needed to perform their jobs.

Procedures and instructions, where necessary, will be available to guide them in their activities. Employees will have a better understanding of their role in the system and their contributions to meeting objectives. This sense of order and control will carry over into clean and well-organized work areas.

Since the organization will want to continually improve the system, employees will be encouraged to report problems and suggest improvements. As a result, they will be more satisfied and committed to the business.

Organization Benefits

The result of a conforming quality management system will be better planned and coordinated activities. Any problems affecting product quality are identified and effective solutions are implemented.

Using the plan-do-check-act approach will lead to more efficient and effective processes and more productive employees. Higher quality products are delivered to more satisfied customers.

As a result of your ISO 9001-based system and its well-defined policies, procedures, and information, the organization will be better managed for success.

And the story only gets better, because your organization and its quality management system will be continually improved.

Perceived Disadvantages

Although we have been discussing the very real benefits of an ISO 9001-based system, you should be prepared to deal with its perceived disadvantages.

1. Difficult to implement; need a consultant

ISO 9001 is just a collection of good, common-sense business rules. The difficulty factor depends on the state of your current management system.

2. Organization will resist the changes

If introduced properly, with clear explanations of how it will directly benefit them, your employees should become big supporters of the new system.

3. Expensive to implement and maintain

You can reduce costs by comprehensive planning and avoiding the urge to put more into the system than is required for certification. Improve from that base.

4. Significant disruption to your business

Make sure it is supported by top management as a high priority project and integral to the business; not a separate effort by the quality department.

5. Yields unwieldy, ineffective documents

Only write the essential documents. You can rely on trained, experienced employees to perform any undocumented processes.

6. Cumbersome controls and bureaucracy

Keep it simple. Only implement what the business really needs. It may actually make the organization a better place to work.

Certification Benefits

In addition to the previously covered benefits, having the actual certificate in hand provides additional benefits.

ISO 9001 is the international language of quality. Certification may help your organization gain expanded access to world markets.

Prospective customers may require certification as a prerequisite to bid on contracts. With the certificate in place, your organization will be ready.

The ISO 9001 certificate may differentiate your organization from others in the marketplace and provide a competitive advantage.

The certification mark recognizes a quality accomplishment that you continue to earn through successful surveillance audits. Display it with pride.

And, don’t underestimate the value of independent system assessments by well qualified professional auditors.

Due to its prevention focus, disciplined approach, and better controls, your organization may see an extra benefit of improved housekeeping and fewer accidents. As a result, you may qualify for lower insurance premiums.

Maintaining Benefits

Your organization will see some initial gains through the improved organizational focus and internal communications.

These improvements, and other benefits, will be solidified by an active internal audit program and strengthened through the management review process.

But, an organization can’t rest on its accomplishments. A quality management system will either improve or become less effective. The system will not stay in a steady state. You must listen to customers, meet objectives, stay conforming, and continually improve.