Development Features

How to get ISO 9001:2008 certification : Part II

…The road map to certification
“NOW that I understand and appreciate the benefits of ISO 900:2008 Quality Management System (QMS), what must I do?” asked Beene Folotiya.
Welcome to Part II of the ‘How to get ISO9001:2008 QMS certification. We received overwhelming feedback and we must say thank you for reading our articles and for your interest in quality issues. Together, we are definitely changing our quality culture.
For the benefit of those who did not read last week’s article, we had an issue where Beene Folotiya was trying to get her company certified to ISO 9001: 2008 QMS. She came to Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) because we offer that certification.
But before we could do that, Ms Folotiya needed to understand what the certification was all about and why most of the big companies she was trying to supply her goods and services to were asking for it. Ms Folotiya wanted to be on top in the game of business.
In summary this is what we said:
“The ISO 9001 certification validates a company’s quality management system. ISO is the International Organisation for Standardisation. ZABS as the national standards body is a member of ISO.
“ZABS provides certification of conformity to different standards too many to list, ISO 9001 being one of them. Certification in ISO 9001 is given to companies’ QMS and procedures have assessed and found conforming by auditors. Usually, these auditors are sent by the certifying body such as ZABS.
“The audit is undertaken to verify compliance to the ISO9001:2008 QMS standard in this case. The ISO 9001 certification is internationally recognised. ISO 9001 is beneficial to companies in most industries. Regulators, high-tech, engineering, manufacturing, law and finance companies of whatever size can all benefit from having a standard, quality management system.
“Obtaining the certification validates a company’s ability to properly serve its clients through a recognised quality management system.
When ZABS certifies your company, it provides a mark that can be used by the client to symbolise the certification status.
Getting back to the road map, these are the steps that you must follow:-
Step One
Purchase the ISO management process documents for the ISO 9001 certification from the ZABS Documentation and Information Centre. ZABS is a selling point for   ISO standards.
However, the ISO 9001 standard has been adopted and can be obtained as a Zambian standard. The most current version of the “Quality Management Systems Requirements” is ISO 9001: 2008.
Step Two
Read the ISO 9001 “Quality Management Systems Requirements.” It is important for all members of management to read and understand the ISO 9001 requirements.
The requirements for ISO 9001 include control of documents and records, mechanisms to monitor the process of product/service realisation, customer requirements and customer feedback, review of the performance of the quality management and improvement. It also includes quality management processes for product traceability, including control of nonconforming products and after-sale services.
Step Three
It is absolutely necessaryfor an organisation to get a good understanding of the requirements of the standard and how to implement them. The good news is that ZABS provides training in ‘understanding of the requirements, implementation and in internal audits.
Step Four
Implement the processes put forth in the ISO “Quality Management Systems Requirements” files. There should be processes for both internal employees’ daily activities as well as for customer satisfaction. Management should be prepared for a lengthy transition process. It is important not to rush the process.
ISO 9001 will show managers how to implement processes that track employees’ daily activities such as email, phone calls and database entry. For example, a recruiter in the human resources department will be required to enter a candidate’s applications into a systematic and easy- to-track database whether manual or electronic.
The recruiter can also track interview schedules, feedback from hiring managers and whether or not an offer was made to the candidate.
ISO 9001 quality management processes will also show managers how to implement a sales and client tracking system. This system can help companies increase and maintain high customer satisfaction.
For example, a sales database will require a sales account manager to create a file within the database for each customer. The file will track every order, when it was processed and when it was received. The database will also track all communication between the sales account manager and the customer.
Step Five
Create an internal audit system to ensure all internal processes are being met. The internal audit can be conducted by an internal audit team, the organisation’s management, or it can be outsourced to consultants. Again, ZABS can provide these services.
The audit team will need to be provided with a detailed manual of all processes put in place by management through the ISO 9001 system. Auditors should know managers’ expectations and be able to recognise if those expectations have been met, or are on track to be met.
Step Six
When the system has been implemented, an organisation makes an application to ZABS for certification or any other certification body. The process of certification involves audits by the audit team sent by the certifying body.
If the audit results are favourable, ZABS issues a certificate of conformity of the company’s QMS based on ISO 9001.  This certificate can be used as a sales tool to let potential and existing customers know your company conforms to the international management standards put forth by ISO.
Our role as ZABS is to contribute to the improvement of the quality and competitiveness of products and services in order to increase compliance of products and services to Zambian and international standards.
We do this by ensuring that our members of staff are technically competent and well versed with worldwide practices.
The author is Zambia Bureau of Standards Public Relations Officer.
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