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It's About Continual Improvement; Not Set And Forget

ISO 9001 Certification – it’s a once off thing

No, it’s not. The ISO 9001 certification cycle takes three years. 

If you have successfully developed and implemented your quality management system (QMS) and passed the ISO 9001 certification audit, congratulations!

But don't put your feet up and take a well earned break by parking your QMS into set and forget mode .  You have only just started.

Quality management is all about continual improvement. Your QMS is not something that you park on a shelf. Your QMS is living and breathing and grows with your organisation. If your organisation's scope changes, so does the scope of your management system. And if your organisation is growing, your management system will have to adjust to the new challenges a bigger organisation will throw at you.

A good QMS has processes in place that will help you adjust to changing needs and drive continual improvement. Management review meetings, internal audits, non-conformance and improvement procedures, as well as the identification of risks and opportunities are great tools for this.

The constant change means that the certification audit won’t be the last audit you have. The auditor will come back regularly to undertake surveillance audits for a period of three years after your certification audit. These surveillance audits examine how you have adjusted to any changes and how you have been proactive in continually improving your quality management.  These are essential in ensuring you remain ISO 9001 compliant. After the three year period comes to a close the cycle starts again with an in depth re-certification audit.

If you need help preparing for ISO 9001 certification visit isohelper.com.

How did you improve your quality management recently? And which procedures of the quality management system did you use for that? Share your favourite improvements in the comment section.