When selecting goods and services, finding a vendor that is serious about quality…really serious…can be difficult. That’s where certifications like the ISO family come into play. These quality certifications are used to show a business’ commitment to a quality operation, from beginning to end. These certifications can be found in businesses large and small, from manufacturing to warehousing, from hospitals to restaurants. But what is an ISO certification? How does it ensure quality is preserved?
There are a variety of organizations that provide certifications. Most are centered around specific goods and services. In terms of quality certifications, one of the best-known agencies is ISO. The International Standards Organization.
ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. ISO membership includes 167 national standards bodies. In the United States, that member organization is ANSI, the American National Standards Institute. Since being formed in 1946, ISO has built its reputation through nearly 25 thousand international standards covering nearly all aspects of technology and manufacturing. ISO standards can even be found in camera film speeds.
The ISO “family”
ISO groups its standards into “families”. Each family has a number within which specific standards for specific areas are housed. One of those families is the ISO 9000 family. It covers quality management and is one of the best-known quality management standards. A portion of this family is 9001:2015, which is the specific list of requirements that a business, like warehousing and fulfillment, must meet in order to be certified with an ISO-level Quality Management System (QMS). So how does it work?
The ISO organization explains the certification this way:
ISO 9001:2015 specifies requirements for a quality management system when an organization:
a) needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, and
b) aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
All the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 are generic and are intended to be applicable to any organization, regardless of its type or size, or the products and services it provides.
Through regular audits and checks, a company makes sure their business’ quality standards and management of those standards meets all the ISO 9001:2015 standards. To receive an ISO 9001 certification, the company must first build a quality management system that aligns with the ISO 9001 standards. An audit is conducted by an independent organization (called a “Certified Body”) to make sure that the system meets all the standards of the ISO 9001 family.
Certify and Re-certify
A company gains ISO certification with a successful audit, but they cannot just stop there. To retain the certification, a company has to go through an annual audit and be recertified every three years.
Quality is important to the success of any business. Film speeds, cross-docking warehouses, and every business in between, the level of commitment to quality can be seen when that company uses a Quality Management System. Seeking certification, and maintaining that certification can keep a company’s quality high, and customers satisfied.
At Mayer Alloys, we are committed to providing the services that will allow your company to survive and thrive through any supply chain challenge. In addition to packaging, our 36,000 square foot warehouse facility has the capacity and staff to handle all your supply chain needs including shipping, receiving, fulfillment and cross-docking. Our team is committed to ensuring your goods are handled with utmost care. We are mil-spec packaging specialists. Read our guide to learn more about the benefits of outsourcing packaging to improve your supply chain resiliency.