How to Meet ISO 9001 Requirements

February 23, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

ISO 9001 is all about improving the quality management processes in place in your organisation – essentially looking at the customer elements of your business including the requirements of your product or service and your customer satisfaction ratings.

We all know how the ISO certification process works – you will be assessed by an expert and a gap analysis is usually carried out on your current processes to see what work has to be done to reach the international ISO 9001 standards. But the big question is how can you meet these requirements?

Fully meeting the needs of your customers really is of utmost importance when looking to become ISO 9001 certified and although the method of providing a high quality product or service to your clients will differ from organisation to organisation a great place to start is by focussing in on customer communication.

An effective customer communication system allows you to enter in open dialog with your customers – whether this means giving them a straightforward method to find out more about your product, to order new products, make enquires, leave feedback or make complaints. What’s the easiest way to make sure they can have access to this communication system? – A website. It may sound simple but it really is the easiest way to ensure people have access to all the data they need. We live in a world where people will head to Google, rather than the Yellow Pages to find information and having a website not only fulfils the requirements of the ISO 9001 but is also a very useful sales tool.

The next step on the requirements list for customer communication is to make sure that you actively use and respond to any feedback you’re given. It’s all well and good having a process where customers can complain but if there’s nothing done about it the likelihood of your customer satisfaction growing is around about zero. The ISO 9001 standard ensures that you are effectively responding to this feedback.

One way to manage this problem is to carefully record where your materials come from. The most common complaint from a customer is about a faulty product. Therefore by keeping a close eye on your sources you may well be able to quickly identify the reason why the product was faulty – if it was an issue with the material rather than the manufacturing process. For example if you are a bike manufacturer and have a large number of complaints after ordering the rubber you use for your tyres from a new supplier it will be clear where the source of the issue is.

Unfortunately faulty products aren’t all your customers might complain about, another area is delivery of the product – especially if you are a company which posts or couriers your products to customers. Having a tracking system in place for this is a brilliant idea, by being in communication with your customers and letting them have access to a website where they can see their product’s delivery progress will certainly meet the ISO 9001 standards on this front.

Mark Jones works for QMS International, a UK-based company providing ISO 9001 certifications worldwide. For more information on ISO 9001, follow the links.

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