ISO 9001 Certification Vs. Compliance - Which Is Best For Your Company?
The decision of whether to get ISO certification or compliance is major one. I would recommend that every company should have a quality system that includes the basic elements to achieve ISO 9001 compliance.
I do recommend certification for companies where the market demands it and where the management is willing to dedicate resources to making a top-notch quality system but if you cut corners on your ISO program, you are probably wasting your money.
Here are some factor to consider when making the decision:
Does the company make industrial products that require safely approvals such as UL, CSA, Cenelec, FM or ATEX?
If so, then ISO 9000 may be a good fit. Many of these approval require routine audits of the products to ensure the safe operation of the product. By maintaining ISO compliance the other audits may be simpler. The ATEX safety approval (the new trend in European standard) doesn't require ISO certification but the require FULL ISO compliance. The auditor will complete a standard ISO audit but you will not get the paper that says you are compliant. If you are going to pay the cost to maintain equivalent certification and get audited, you should be ISO 9000 certified.
Will getting certification result in more resources being applied to the product/service quality?
The goal of ISO 9000 and the goal of all successful growing companies is have a product or service with a great quality reputation. Supplying great products and service take resources focused on product quality. Some stagnant companies are too focused on short term goal to apply resources to making their products better but they might apply (hire more people) for a project like ISO 9001 certification. If a certification project gets more resources than a compliance project, then get certified.
Is Europe a key market for the company?
If selling products in Europe is major focus for the company, then there will be a lot of pressure to get ISO 9000 by your European customer. Many European customers will only buy from a ISO company because they are an ISO company.
Is the company looking for long-term growth?
Companies that are focused on short-term goal like survival are usually not good candidates for ISO 9000 certification. Starting an ISO 9000 project will probably just take resources away from product and service quality. If the company has long-term vision to be a world leader in your market, then the sooner you start your ISO program, the easier it will be maintain as the company grows. A ground-up ISO system will support growth for the long haul.