Contrary to popular belief, ISO 9001 guidelines are not meant to be used by the manufacturing industry alone.
In this blog post, Step debunks the popular myth that ISO only works in manufacturing, and prove that ISO 9001 quality management systems can be used by companies in any industry, even service organisations.
Here’s a concise definition:
ISO 9001 is an international standard that provides guidelines for the implementation of a quality management system in an organisation.
There’s a lot of meaning to unpack in that statement, so let’s break it down into the most important bits and examine them more closely:
In practical terms, ISO 9001 is meant to provide practical guidelines that any company – including service providers – can use to meet and exceed the needs and expectations of both clients and suppliers, by treating them as interested parties or stakeholders of the company.
This focus on clients and suppliers is what makes ISO 9001 a universal standard, which can be applied seamlessly across all industries and sectors. Every company has to deal with clients and suppliers, so regardless of what kind of business it engages in, the basic quality principles involved in managing these relationships remain constant.
A service organisation can substantially improve its competitiveness and increase market share by implementing a quality management system that is based on ISO 9001.
You don’t have to be a huge corporation to take advantage of this effect.
Even small- to medium-sized service organisations, including consultants and professional agencies such as accountants, lawyers, architects, and marketing firms can benefit from following the practical guidelines offered by ISO 9001.
All that is required is the willingness to engage in discussions with interested parties and stakeholders, and to take the decisions and implement the procedures that are needed to set up an effective quality management system in your organisation.
By providing expert advice, training material, and audit preparation, Step is able to guide managers of service companies through the four key stages of implementing a quality management system:
Step makes it easy for a service-oriented business to begin integrating the benefits of a management system that adheres to ISO 9001 quality standards in its daily operations, including increased efficiency and effectiveness.
There’s a fifth step that organisations wishing to take their efforts to the next level can pursue.
Service companies can become officially certified by having their quality management system audited and certified by an independent body. This enables them to use their ISO 9001 credentials to better position themselves as leaders in their industry.
While certification is not an obligatory component of ISO 9001 – in fact it can be implemented simply for the benefits it brings internally and when working with customers and suppliers – many organisations choose to become certified because it is an independent proof and validation of their commitment to offering a quality service that is centred on customer satisfaction.
For those service organizations that wish to have their quality management system audited and certified by an independent body, Step also helps them on getting certified and, after certification, providing them with advice on working with external auditors and consultants.
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