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ISO 9001:2008 – A Primer

Perhaps while investigating an organization you’ve run across this claim: ISO 9001:2008 certified. Certification, well, that sounds good, but what exactly does this combination of letters and numbers mean? Read on to find out what ISO 9001:2008 certification entails and what it says about the organization that has earned such a designation.

What is ISO 9001:2008?

ISO is short for International Organization for Standardization. This certifying body develops and publishes international standards that must be met before a business is presented with certification. The 9001: 2008 aspect of the name positions the certification into two different standard levels. The 9001 makes it part of the ISO 9000 Quality Management collection, which is designed for any company or organization that is looking to implement a quality management system.

Meanwhile the 2008 part of the name drills down further to specify, according to the ISO, the “requirements for a quality management system.”

What does ISO 9001: 2008 certification mean?

In order to be ISO 9001: 2008 certified, an organization must fulfill two obligations. First, it must demonstrate that it can “consistently provide product that meets customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.”

ISO 9001: 2008 certification is generic and can apply to organizations that manufacture a wide range of products. However, the product consistency stipulation that is inherent to the certification process applies to the specific product being produced by the organization seeking the designation. So, for instance, a manufacturer of high temperature wire and cable for commercial and automotive industries must provide the wire industry with wire and cable that consistently meets all of the wire industry’s statutory and regulatory requirements.

The second obligation the certified holder of an ISO 9001: 2008 must meet is an aim to “enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system.” In other words, customer satisfaction is a main benchmark for certification. To demonstrate customer satisfaction priority, the certificate seeker must show that it has implemented into its system “processes for continual improvement.” And as was the case in the first obligation, it must also provide “assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirement.”

Using a manufacturer of high temperature wire and cable for commercial and automotive industries once again as an example, the manufacturing system being used by the organization must improve the satisfaction of the end users of the wire and cable.

What does ISO 9001: 2008 certification say about an organization that possesses it?

Because of the requirements that must be met to achieve it. ISO 9001: 2008 certification can add to the credibility of an organization. More specifically, it shows that the products being manufactured or the services being offered by the organization meet the expectations of the customers who use them.

The ISO points out, “For some industries, certification is a legal or contractual requirement,” but in cases where it is not, ISO 9001: 2008 certification provides further peace of mind that an organization is willing to go above and beyond to prove that it treats its customers’ satisfaction with the utmost priority.

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