What is ISO standard?

The ISO abbreviation (ISO) has long been perceived as a synonym of high-quality guarantees. However, the consumer is not always aware of the benefits of enterprise products certified according to ISO standards.

ISO is an abbreviation of the International Organization for Standardization. The International Organization for Standardization develops standards that ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and high-quality, and that production processes are built on the use of the most efficient resources with minimal environmental impact. ISO standards are developed for a variety of areas, including quality management, environmental safety, energy management, and others.

Most ISO standards are used in many countries of the world, including Ukraine. The Ukrainian national version of the standards is called UNSS ISO.

Why are ISO standards important for consumers?

First of all, the presence of an ISO certificate at the enterprise gives confidence in the safety of products that the consumer buys. These common standards define the production characteristics and norms according to which goods and services should be produced. It is through standardization that the consumer can be sure of the proper quality of products and services.

Secondly, not only producers and service providers, but also consumer organizations from different countries participate in the development of standards. This means that products and services of certified companies comply fully with all customer requirements.

This is a good reason to pay attention to the presence or absence of ISO certificates at enterprises.

What is hidden behind figures?

All ISO standards have their own markings that indicate the scope of its use. The figures before the colon in the standard name indicate what the certain standard refers to (quality, environment, etc.), and the figures after it indicate the year in which the standard was approved.

ISO 9001: 2008 is one of the most popular standards developed by the International Organization for Standardization. It has been accepted in more than 170 countries of the world.

ISO 9001 is a quality management system, the certification of which ensures that the company can produce products at a stable level of quality and constantly improve it. In Ukraine the analogue of this standard is UNSS ISO 9001: 2009. Work with the principles of ISO 9001 means that the company controls the quality of production. This minimizes the risk of getting inappropriate quality products and puts the work on improvement of quality onto the basis of the production process.

ISO 9001 standard is one of the management models of the organization’s activities which ensures their effectiveness.

The application of ISO 9001 approaches in the enterprise management system helps solve a lot of internal and external questions:

  • improve the overall effectiveness and provide a solid basis for stable development initiatives;
  • improve the quality of products and services, thereby improving the satisfaction of the customers;
  • become competitive on the export and import markets;
  • sell products at world prices;
  • establish cooperation with foreign partners (in particular, to receive investments);
  • obtain advantages over competitors in the tendering process;
  • ensure clearance and easiness of the organization management;
  • introduce a mechanism for continuous improvement of the quality management system and increase the efficiency of staff at all levels.

The internal results that the organization gains from implementing the quality management system directly depends on the efforts that it is making to improve its performance. The organization gets its external benefits having certified its quality management system by an independent competent certification body.

The basis of standards for the quality management system is formed by seven principles:

  • customer orientation;
  • leadership;
  • staff involvement;
  • process approach;
  • improvement;
  • decision making based on factual data;
  • communication management.

One of the key principles of building a quality management system in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9001 is a process approach: the organization’s activities consist of a series of interrelated processes that function as an entire system. In this case, the output data of one process is the input data for the next one. Therefore, the process approach involves systematical determination of processes, their consistency and interaction, management of processes and the relationships between them.

In accordance with the ISO 9001 requirements for establishment of a quality management system, the organization must:

  • identify the processes required for the quality management system and their application within the organization;
  • identify the necessary inputs of these processes and the expected outputs from them;
  • determine the sequence and interaction of these processes;
  • identify and apply criteria and methods (including monitoring, measurement and appropriate performance indicators) needed to ensure the effectiveness of the operation and control of these processes;
  • identify the resources needed for these processes and ensure their availability;
  • appoint persons with responsibilities and authority regarding these processes;
  • consider risks and opportunities;
  • evaluate these processes and introduce any changes needed to ensure that these processes achieve their intended results;
  • improve the processes and the quality management system.

The requirements of the ISO 9001 standard are general and do not imply any uniformity of the structure of quality management systems or any uniformity of the documentation, as they are applicable to the activities of any organization, regardless of its type, size and product (services provided).

The ISO 9001 text does not include requirements for other management systems (environmental management, safety and health and safety management, financial management), but allows the organization to integrate its quality management system with the relevant requirements of the overall management system.