Many think that certification to the ISO9001 quality management system (QMS) is a fairly routine exercise, but in reality there is no shortage of effort involved. Here at Webtec, we have recently achieved certification to the latest ISO9001:2015, and discovered a number of key differences against the previous 2008 version.
What really stood out for us was the introduction of risk-based thinking. Under the new system, you have to determine risk opportunities and plan accordingly, all the way from order quotation to final product shipping. You are now strongly encouraged as an organisation to use risk analysis in order to decide which challenges you expect in the management of your daily business processes. To emphasise this shift of focus, the concept of ’risk’ crops up 48 times in ISO 9001:2015, compared with just three times in ISO 9001:2008.
Management involvement is another prominent change in ISO9001:2015. At Webtec, we have 22 internal auditors, which is essentially half of our UK workforce, but importantly this number includes the entire senior management team. Reviews are held every six months, so it’s a big commitment. However, we have a requirement to show our customers that Webtec is serious about quality, so they can rest assured about the professional nature of our business.
Another notable difference in the latest system is greater emphasis on a process-based approach, which demands not just performance evaluation, but the requirement to measure and analyse – to check how well any process is performing.
The context of the organisation is also important in ISO9001:2015. We were encouraged to construct our QMS from the specific context within which we are active. As a business, we must take into account the needs and expectations of stakeholders, and evaluate and deal with internal and external strategic questions. We have to show that we understand and respond to the expectations of all parties concerned.
Ultimately we feel that our company's vision and values align perfectly with ISO9001:2015. You only have to read our QA policy, which refers to our values, to see that it’s totally embedded in what we do at Webtec, and how we do it. Perhaps more simply, it is our management system, and how we ensure that our customers are satisfied. In this respect, nothing is more important.
Of course, it doesn’t end here. Moving forwards there will be further development of the internal audit team at Webtec, along with ongoing evaluation and development of our processes and procedures. We always aim to be better than we are today and ISO9001:2015 is a powerful business improvement tool that helps facilitate that ambition.