Considering ISO 9001:2015 Certification and if it’s right for your facility? There are a few necessary actions I would recommend pursuing before attempting to be certified. We were audited last month at Extreme Molding, and we just received our letter notifying us of our certification. How did we succeed at securing this coveted Certification?
I call it the REACH method. First, the “R” stands for research. The research includes finding an experienced outside consultant to help navigate the standard, as its’ wording is complex. We used a self-employed consultant, which was much more affordable than a large company. The other essential research is to interview and select the right certification company. The companies vary greatly in price as well as the breadth of their client base, the location of their auditors in proximity to you, and the paperwork bureaucracy they require. We used Eagle Certification in Ohio and have had an excellent experience.
The “E” in REACH is for educate. This piece includes educating your team on the costs and time commitment of pursuing ISO by starting with a gap analysis of your current Quality Management System versus the standard. The next critical education is that of your workforce, who must have a clear idea of what ISO requires and why.
The “A” is for audit. Internal audits are critical to understand how well the organization is following its’ own policies and procedures. Internal auditors need to be selected, and I would recommend having the outside consultant perform auditor training, including mock audits.
The “C” is for concentrate, meaning focus on those activities that are the most value add and critical to securing successful certification. The ISO standard is a road map, but it has flexibility for a company to follow programs, including risk mitigation, that make sense for THEIR business. Concentrating also means not “handcuffing” your business with complex and stringent wording that makes it impossible to comply with on an everyday basis.
Lastly, the “H” is for high, from high standards, high expectations, high performance and high reward. The tone needs to be set by Management and the Leadership, that the pursuit of ISO certification is a highly valued prize signifying excellent quality standards and performance. Encouragement, advice and reward for doing the diligent work to achieve the goal should be constantly highlighted.
Extreme did it and we are very proud of the accomplishment. Yeah Extreme Team!