The ISO is an independent international organization based in Geneva, Switzerland and made up of 163 member countries. Members of this organization meet on a regular basis to develop and refine a set of voluntary International Standards (the largest and most respected set of standards in the world). These standards facilitate international trade, communication, and cooperation across national borders by “making things work”; in other words, they unify and streamline the quality, safety and efficiency of manufactured objects, systems, and service delivery.
These standards are deployed across multiple industries, from agriculture and food safety to healthcare and technology, and they have an especially powerful impact in the world of manufacturing. The standards that are developed and put forth by the ISO are organized into families, and the ISO 9000 family is well known in manufacturing circles. This family contains valuable guidance and tools that help manufacturing operations meet customer requirements and maintain a consistent level of quality across all products and services.
The ISO 9001: 2008
One of the most important standards in this family is known as the ISO 9001:2008. This standard deals specifically with quality management and the development of quality management systems. The text of the standard is informed by careful research and effective quality management principles dealing with customer focus, top manager motivation, and process approach. This is the only standard in the family that can be certified, and both certification and voluntary implementation have taken place in over a million companies across 170 countries.
Currently, the ISO 9001 Quality Management standard is undergoing review, and draft copies of the text can be purchased through the ISO website. The final text of the standard is expected to become available by the end of 2015.
Since total implementation will involve systemic change for most manufacturing firms, and this kind of change can be challenging for employees, managers, and clients alike, industry experts recommend taking action now. Ordering a draft copy of the standards and establishing management training programs as soon as possible can help upper managers lead the way and pave the path for total organizational growth.
For more information about training programs and more on how to implement the guidelines of the 2001 draft copy, contact the Jacksonville staffing and management team at CSS.