ISO 9001 2015 - Frequently Asked Questions
ISO is the world's largest developer and publisher of international standards. Formed in 1947, ISO is a non-governmental organisation that bridges the public and private sectors. It is made up of a network of national standards with one representative from each of the 161 countries involved. A central secretariat based in Geneva, Switzerland coordinates the system. Some member institutes form part of the governmental structure in their own country whereas other members have been set up by national partnerships of industry associates. This variation is advantageous as it is conducive towards reaching solutions that meet both the requirements of business and of society in general.
Commonly thought to stand for International Organisation for Standardisation, ISO is actually derived from the greek word "isos" meaning equal. Due to the different acronyms that the name "International Organisation for Standardisation" would have in different languages (for example IOS in English) at its inception it was decided to give it one short all-purpose name.
A Quality Management System or 'QMS' is a system of interrelated processes and procedures that are used to define and control how quality policies are implemented and quality objectives are achieved. It is usually documented in a Quality Manual.
A Quality Manual is the supporting documentation for your Quality Management System.
This is dependent on your current provision for procedures and working practices within your business and how much time you will be able to devote to the accreditation process. If you already have a Quality Management System in place, the process should be relatively simple. An average time period for a business able to commit the necessary resource and personnel would be about 4-10 months.
It is advisable to employ the services of a consultant to guide the implementation process and ensure that the work you put in is in line with the requirements of the standard. Audit assessment fees tend to be calculated on your business' annual turnover. For example for a company turning over up to £250k fees are likely to be in the region of £1000 - £2000 and for a company £2.5M to £5M probably in the region of £3000 - £5000.
It is expected that conformity to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard will be evaluated by certification bodies during regular surveillance visits and that full reassessment will only take place once current certificates expire. However, it should be noted that ISO and the IAF (International Accreditation Forum) have agreed that all certificates to ISO 9001 should be upgraded to ISO 9001:2015 within 2 years of publication of the amended standard.
No as the new standard has not made any major changes to requirements. However it is recommended that you do get acquainted with the new version and if any of the changes made do affect you then you will need to consider the impact of this on your organisation, and potentially need to amend and re-write the applicable areas.
One of the aims of ISO 9001:2015 is to ensure that it is easily compatible with other ISO standards available. Commonly compatible standards include ISO 14001:2015 which specifies the requirements for an organisation's environmental management system. It is your decision as to how compatible and relevant other standards are to your organisation, however as with ISO 9001:2015 the internal and external rewards from becoming accredited are high.
Providing the initial assessment is successful and your business gains certification, that certificate is valid for three years at the end of which the business will be subject to re-assessment. In the intervening period there will then be surveillance visits usually once or twice a year to check that the system continues to work.