Top Tips if you are struggling with ISO 9001

Today’s question comes out from several members of our audience, and from a number of companies that I - along with our team of assessors - have visited in the past week. They’ve asked us about the best way to get started, along with some of the most commonly made mistakes to avoid when embarking on the journey of ISO 9001 certification.

This question centers on what you need to do to get started, and what your preparation looks like as you compile your management system. I've visited a number of our clients for some on-site visits, which has been a really exciting opportunity.

It has shown me one common thread: some companies are still unsure of what to do.

"They are struggling with getting started on the ISO 9001 process.

It's not rocket science, but it can get complicated- if you let it."

First up, I'd encourage you to all to read the standards, and do some research. Allocate some time to sit quietly - maybe it's in your office, maybe it's at your desk - and sit in front of the standard, and read it. I'm seeing it time and time again where people are demanding all the answers, but they're not prepared to put the effort in, to put the hard work in and do the reading.

Research is really important, so read the standard. I have to do it myself, so get yourself a copy of ISO 9001, or whatever standard it may be, and get familiar with the standard. It's not scary once you get into it, so have a read of the definitions, and take note of some of the stages within the standards. This will help you to get an understanding, and if there's a specific question around a part of a standard, I'm always here to answer that question. So, that's tip number one.

Tip number two is to ask Google; further your research. There's some great learning opportunities and resources out there if you don't know exactly what to put in your policy. Keep in mind that you can refer to a number of quality policies, safety policies, environmental policies, or policies for your data security to help inform you on the development process of your own policy.

I've got another tip for you: click the images button, and you're going to be able to visualise what other people have done, where you can be inspired from some great ideas out there. Maybe have a look at three, four, five, or six, and you’ll have a much better idea of what’s effective, what works, and more importantly, what doesn't.

If you’re proactive, putting in the time to research some of this will help you immensely in the process of getting certified, and will almost certainly alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling early on in your improvement journey.

My last tip: to have a look at this free gap analysis checklist for ISO 9001 on our website. It will help you know exactly what is expected in the ISO9001 and check off what you have done and what you still need to do.

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