Why Should Your Business Use ISO 9001?

Kate Onissiphorou

by Kate Onissiphorou

23rd November 2022

The ISO 9001 standard helps businesses improve their quality management systems and gain international credibility. 

What’s more, organisations that comply with ISO 9001 have a distinct advantage over their competitors, which can make it easier for them to attract and retain new business.

Read on to learn more about who should apply for ISO 9001, the benefits it offers, and the key business principles. 

Why is ISO 9001 still relevant today?

As the most recognised international standard for quality management systems (QMS), ISO 9001 is as relevant today as ever before. Not only can it significantly improve the structure and operations of your organisation, but it can also help it to stand out in an increasingly crowded market. And it’s not just the organisation itself that stands to gain – ISO 9001 certification benefits customers and other stakeholders, too.

ISO 9001 applies to all types of organisations, whether private or public, regardless of the size or industry. Although ISO isn’t a government organisation and the ISO certification isn’t legally binding, it’s recognised by regulatory bodies in most countries. Even government agencies seek ISO certification for various aspects of their work. 

Parts of the ISO standards align with statutory requirements and, in some cases, are better than the statutory standards, depending on the country. This is perhaps not surprising when you consider that ISO itself is composed of standard bodies from more than 160 member countries.

Who should use ISO 9001?

The ISO 9001 standard applies to all types of organisations, including both private and public or government organisations providing products and services for either profit or not-for-profit. Any organisation, regardless of its size or industry, can get ISO 9001 certification. However, not all organisations that apply will pass the rigorous assessment process. 

As a rule of thumb, any organisation seeking international recognition and credibility should consider applying for ISO 9001 certification. Just some of the businesses and sectors that may particularly benefit from becoming ISO 9001-certified are:

  • Academic sector – academic institutions, especially universities should have an ISO 9001 certification. In fact, holding an ISO 9001 certification is one of the most important indicators of a university’s credibility in the international community. A well-managed university with an excellent QMS should pass the certification process. University students taking notes during a lecture
  • Manufacturing businesses – manufacturing companies, like chemical manufacturers, particularly those that export their products or have international B2B clients, should definitely apply for ISO 9001 certification. For starters, most countries require ISO seals on imported products. Plus, complying with the ISO 9001 standards is a gateway certification to other more specific certifications in certain industries, such as the ISO 20417 certification for medical devices manufacturing. 
  • Charities and not-for-profit organisations – charitable foundations and non-profit organisations should consider becoming ISO 9001-certified because it makes it easier for them to apply for international funding and attract patrons.
  • Advertising agencies – marketing and advertising agencies that want to capture the attention of global advertisers may also want to apply for certification. Considered a badge of honour and a benchmark for quality standards, the ISO 9001 certification speaks for itself.
  • Government agencies – when it comes to ensuring quality standards for specific regulations, ISO 9001 certification can help to put government agencies on a par with their counterparts in other countries. Certification is especially beneficial for agencies that regulate trade and commerce.

Key business principles of ISO 9001

Complying with ISO 9001 can be very beneficial for businesses, especially when it comes to aspects of operational efficiency, profitability, and global credibility. Here are the key business principles that guide the international standard for quality management.

1. Customer-centric approach

Whatever the size of your organisation, it should be responsive to the needs and wants of its target market; customer satisfaction is of utmost importance. Taking a customer-centric approach will not only foster customer loyalty, but it will also help you to improve the quality of your products or services.

2. Unifying leadership

This principle emphasises the value of strong leadership and the importance of creating a formal hierarchical structure that governs from the top. Your management team should provide clear direction and set out the organisation’s common goals to create a sense of united purpose. Colleagues having a business meeting round a large table

3. Involvement of employees and other stakeholders

The ISO 9001 standard takes a bottom-up approach to ensure employees at all levels of the organisation are engaged and committed. Employees should know the value of their role and have an in-depth understanding of the organisation’s core principles and long-term vision. They must also be made to feel empowered and encouraged to show initiative.

4. Process-driven approach

A process-driven approach is a systematic approach that minimises wasted time, energy, manpower, and financial resources. The logistical and operational aspects of a business process must be clearly defined and laid out. To comply with the ISO 9001 standard, an organisation’s QMS must include corrective feedback mechanisms that continually improve the process.

5. Clear management system

Closely related to the principle above, a system-driven approach is about clearly defining the specific roles of employees to avoid duplicating tasks or responsibilities. Holding ISO 9001 certification clearly defines employees' roles and responsibilities

6. Room for continual improvement

Being systematic does not mean being inflexible. For a business to maintain its competitive advantage, it must be able to respond quickly to changing market dynamics. To do this effectively, there should be an emphasis on continual monitoring and evaluation.

7. Empirical decision making

Business decisions should be based on reliable and verifiable information rather than unwarranted assumptions, emotional impulses or hunches. Data and analysis must be the guiding principle. 

8. Establish mutually beneficial partnerships with suppliers

Your business won’t be able to provide excellent products or services if it has unreliable and low-quality suppliers. It’s therefore important to build a mutually beneficial relationship with your business suppliers that’s based on trust and respect.

Summary 

As we have shown, there are many reasons why your business should comply with the ISO 9001 standards. Not only will it boost your international credibility, but it will also help to improve efficiency, increase customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, boost profitability.

ReAgent’s ISO certifications

ReAgent currently holds four ISO accreditations: ISO 9001 for quality management, the ISO 14001 environmental certification, ISO 13485 for quality management systems relating to medical devices, and ISO 45001 for occupational health and safety.

If you’d like more information about our ISO certifications, please get in touch with our friendly team.

Disclaimer

All content published on the ReAgent.ie blog is for information only. The blog, its authors, and affiliates cannot be held responsible for any accident, injury or damage caused in part or directly from using the information provided. Additionally, we do not recommend using any chemical without reading the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), which can be obtained from the manufacturer. You should also follow any safety advice and precautions listed on the product label. If you have health and safety related questions, visit HSE.gov.uk.