ISO 9001:2015 is a standard set by the International Organisation for Standardisation, outlining what is needed for a Quality Management System (QMS). ISO is an independent, non-governmental organisation that develops and publishes international standards.
A Quality Management System helps organisations put processes in place to enable continuous improvement across the board to provide products or services that meet customer requirements.
Compliance with ISO 9001 means having an effective Quality Management System and having the relevant documentation in place to prove it.
ISO 9001 can be achieved by any organisation regardless of industry, size, product or service provided.
Compliance with ISO 9001 means you will need to organise and collect information relating to your processes – whether that’s invoice processing or project management. You must demonstrate you have an organised and controlled set of documents to show the details of your Quality Management System.
And if there’s one thing our document management software does best, it’s provide a centralised location for organised documentation!
Having control over documents; knowing where they’re located, ensuring easy access, as well as the ability to see who last edited them, proves to an auditor they are viewing the latest and most up to date information. This level of organisation really is key to ISO 9001 compliance.
Not only does this pay off in an audit, but it also proves beneficial for staff. Employees have quick and easy access to the information they require, knowing instantly which is the latest version of a report and where to find it.
Regularly checking your processes to understand performance, as well as looking at where improvements can be made will have a positive impact on business. Processes that tire and do not move with the times will cause problems and ultimately affect production and customers.
Quality objectives can be anything that makes sense for your organisation and will align with your Quality Policy. You may want to reduce waste and go paperless or have a better system in place for contract management.
Having these objectives clearly outlined and communicated to all staff means everyone’s on the same page and working towards the same goal. Staff should be able to freely access the Quality Policy which is easily achieved with a Document Management System. Other policies, manuals and contracts can also be stored with auto renewal alerts and version control applied.
ISO 9001 places an emphasis on management taking an active role implementing a Quality Management System. To lead from the front when relaying to staff the benefits and what it means for the company.
Buy in from everyone starts at the top, and seeing management play a part in improving processes will only motivate others to do the same.
With our solutions, leadership teams have transparency over all processes. Visibility of a documents' status such as invoices or sales orders, seeing the volume being processed and the workload required from employees. This means managers have the information required to step in and help if needed, as well as see for themselves how a process is working.
Not only that, because documents are stored and processed digitally, management can easily take part in approval workflows. A process doesn’t have to grind to a halt while waiting for an invoice amount to be approved. This can be done from anywhere with an internet connection and on any device. Email alerts will be sent to inform mangers they’re needed and if off on holiday, the reminder can be sent to the next in line.
In line with ISO 9001, risk-based thinking means that when establishing processes, organisations gauge any risk and look at what controls and improvements can be put in place as a part of their Quality Management System.
This can help prevent things going wrong and find improvements earlier rather than later. Any improvements found could result in higher quality product production or reduced overheads, all of which will only improve customer satisfaction.
If we think about managing documents as assets, a Document Management System provides tight controls over invoices, meaning they are never lost and payments aren’t missed. Or when a key policy document is updated, an automatic alert can be sent out across the organisation so everyone is notified. This works well where there are multiple site locations, reducing the reliance on employees to remember.
Compliance with ISO 9001 requires the continual improvement of products and services and demonstrates the effectiveness of your Quality Management System.
Your continual improvement policy doesn’t have to be documented, but requires all employees to constantly look for ways to improve systems to make them more efficient. These could include process improvements, tracking metrics or identifying issues or problems.
Keeping clear records of processes and how they’re running will be a useful way to check against your Quality Management System and to identify improvements.
Processes can often be improved by introducing technology or integrating existing systems so there are no information silos. Automating processes by removing manual steps not only offers improvements by reducing human error, but increases the speed at which they’re carried out.
This provides a number of benefits including extra work completed, more time for other tasks, quicker payments resulting in early payment discounts, accurate real time information and more efficient employee onboarding.
If you’re looking for a software solution to aid your ISO 9001 compliance then we’d love to help. Not only is our Document Management System itself ISO/IEC 27001 and ISO 9001 certified, but it will help your organisation achieve certification too.
We provide secure digital document storage that improves processes, provides document compliance and supports control.
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