Basic Steps Or How To Achieve ISO 9000 Certification

In the previous article, as part of business strategy, we understand many firms are emphasizing the use of quality as a competitive advantage to win more orders/business from multinational companies and penetrating overseas/international markets and then we have also discussed the basics and commonly asked question about ISO 9000.

This article is pertaining to the steps or how  to achieve ISO 9000 certification:


1. The organization should develop a formal Quality Management System that meet the requirements of the appropriate ISO Standard ( ie ISO 9001, 2 or 3). This includes development of documented policies, procedures and instructions and their effective implementation throughout the organization

From the practical standpoint, many companies should already have some systems in place, hence it is a mater of fine-tuning the existing processes ( some areas might require more attention, etc)  to meet the standard. At this stage, it is important that a qualified individual should come in to ascertain the amount of work required to be done.

2. Next, it is essential to provide awareness training to management staff. The purpose is to give awareness of the benefits and the repercussions if a formal management system is not being established. Usually, at this stage, a working or steering committee is form to co-ordinate the exercise.

3.   This stage relates to the development of the documented system. Here, it is stress that we need not document every activity but that the system needs to document what the Standard demands and the necessary controls. Normally, a Quality Policy Manual is established whereby the procedures and work instructions are included.

Procedures define how specific functions or department fulfil those policies whilst Works instructions defines detail or specific activities or control.

In the Quality Manual, the following are normally included:

  • Policy statement;
  • Organization and responsibilities;
  • Description of quality system;
  • Cross reference to standard;
  • Revision control and
  • Controlled distribution

For the procedures, it includes at least the following:

Scope of application;

  • Methods and responsibilities;
  • Manager’s approval;
  • Controlled distribution and
  • Revision control
  • To develop the Quality system, it normally takes about 12 to 18 months depending on the complexity of the existing systems and the size of the organization. It is important not to accelerate the time period of completion as the benefits might be reduced.

(4)  Next is the implementation of the documented system. It is critical that appropriate training/education should be provided to the staff in terms of awareness, audit skills ,etc to ensure effective implementation.

(5)  After the implementation, it needs to be audited for compliance, review, improve and then updated.

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