ISO standards are essential for businesses across the world, as these guidelines help organizations ensure that products and services meet certain quality criteria. This guide will explain what an ISO standard is and identify the different types of ISO standards out there.
ISO standards are technical specifications that define the requirements, test methods, and guidelines organizations must follow in order to produce products or services of consistent quality. They’re created by an independent organization known as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which focuses on providing legal frameworks for international trade and communications.
ISO standards are organized into four categories, each of which corresponds to a different field of activity: Management System Standards, Product Standards, Service Standardization, and Health & Safety Standards. ISO 9001 is one of the most popular management system standards and addresses quality requirements. ISO 14000 refers to a family of standards that address environmental management systems and practices. ISO 22000 is a standard for food safety management systems that outlines the requirements for organizations producing or handling food products. The other two categories are less commonly known but equally important in terms of defining acceptable quality levels for products and services worldwide.
There is a wide variety of ISO standards, from ISO 9001 for quality management to ISO 45001 for health and safety. Here are some of the most popular and widely used ISO certifications that can help you improve your operational processes and increase business efficiency: ISO 9001 – Quality Management System (QMS) provides a framework to ensure that products, services, and processes meet customer requirements; ISO 14001 – Environmental Management System (EMS) outlines how an organization should manage its environmental responsibilities; and ISO 27001 – Information Security Management System (ISMS) is designed to protect sensitive information.
When seeking ISO certification, it is essential to understand the process. Certification requires that certain criteria are met for each standard’s requirements. This includes documenting processes and performing internal audits to check compliance with ISO standards. Additionally, a third-party organization will audit your facility and results must be satisfactory before you receive certification. After successful certification, your business benefits from increased customer trust, more efficient operations and improved employee understanding of processes and systems.
There are several key ISO standards that demonstrate a business’ commitment to quality. The most commonly pursued standards are ISO 9001, which focuses on overall quality management and ISO 14001, which outlines environmental management systems. Certification of these standards shows customers and other stakeholders that your organization is dedicated to continuously improving the way it operates. Other
specialized standards cover areas such as risk management, information security management and food safety. Understanding each of these ISO standards will help you to determine the best fit for your business when seeking certification.
Achieving and maintaining an ISO certification is the result of a successful journey. It requires commitment from teams across the organization and a willingness to improve processes and systems. Comprehensive documentation is needed to prove quality, traceability and efficacy of their internal quality management system. Audits are then conducted from external sources, such as automotive third-party organizations, to verify ISO standards have been fulfilled before certification is granted. Regular maintenance audits will need to be performed over time to maintain certification status.
Depending on the industry, different ISO certifications can be awarded. Such notable standards are the ISO 9001 (quality management systems) and 14001 (environmental management systems). Organizations can also qualify for safety and security certifications such as ISO 22000 (Food Safety Managements Systems) or ISO 27001 (Information Security Managements Systems). It is typical for organizations that conform to two or more of these standards, such as automotive companies integrating a quality management system with environmental certification, to receive a specific ISO Certification Certification. By meeting certain criteria, organizations can prove they employ best practices when it comes to managing business operations throughout their entire operation.
Implementing and executing policy and practices to ensure ISO compliance is the most crucial step for any organization looking to achieve a certification. A full review of existing policies and procedure should be completed, in addition to gap analysis identifying discrepancies from the applicable ISO standard requirements. Establishing targets including specific objectives and goals can help teams collaboratively work towards achieving that desired level of compliance. Ongoing monitoring, measuring, recording and communication will help keep organizations on track to reach their set outcomes.
All ISO standards vary in their specific requirements, but they come together to create one unified system of quality practices and processes that help ensure the safety, reliability and consistency of products and services. Some key standards include ISO 9001:2015 (Quality Management System), ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental Management System), ISO 27001:2013 (Information Security Management System) and OHSAS 18001:2007 (Occupational Health and Safety). All organizations should practice due diligence when establishing a set of policies and procedures to ensure compliance with each standard’s unique requirements.