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The 7 Biggest ISO Mistakes in Management Standards

The Biggest ISO Mistakes you can make – with the ISO 9001 standard and others

The biggest ISO mistakes are often not the obvious mistakes. In this post we examine seven big mistakes that are not easy to spot. However, they cause fundamental problems if you fall under their influence. As you move your management standards project forward, remember these ISO mistakes. It will help you steer clear of problems.

1. Quality is not about Business (one of the biggest ISO mistakes)

Do not assume that ISO 9001 is only about the quality of the Product and supporting Documentation, as it was originally. Today, customers expect consistent compliance to the requirements and the specification. They are now looking beyond those for other factors to decide who to order from.

Before ISO 9001: 2000, the Standard mostly dealt with the internal operation of the business to provide consistent product quality. ISO 9001 initially was a production-based standard which, after each update, has become more generic and more service orientated.

Since the 2000 update (with the further updates in 2008 & 2015), the Standard is now concerned with Business. In particular, the understanding of the Customer expectations and requirements, meeting them and then checking the Customer perceptions and satisfaction with your product and service.

“It’s not how we make mistakes, but how we correct them that defines us.

~ Rachel Wolchin

2. Compliance (not Improvement)

Traditional preparation for ISO 9001 Certification was doing the least change to achieve successful Assessment (rather than building Business Improvement).

Audits used to be just against the clauses of the Standard. This is obviously required initially for implementation and settling down of the System. However, it can later lead to a Checklist approach. Checklists are very effective for the first 2 or 3 audit cycles. Thereafter, for a stable system, they become progressively less useful. Instead, the more improvement orientated audits help assisting the business to improve.

3. Certification Organisations are not all the same

Make sure that your Certification Body (like BSI or NQA or BVC or IMS) has proper accreditation. To be safe, you should look to organisations like UKAS, or other national Accredited Organisations like ANAB, who are part of the IAF. This ensures that you have independent external audit of your system.

Unfortunately, some unaccredited organisations exist, who issue generic documentation and then post their own Certificates. Regrettably this is an example of you get what you pay for. Such Certificates give the wrong impression of your Business and your Quality to Buyers.

4. Maintaining the System is more important than the Business improvement

Quality and other Management Systems are investments in your Business. They must never be an end in themselves. They must be assisting your Business to survive and improve. To avoid some of the biggest ISO mistakes ensure your management system is central to managing not only your processes, but also to improving your business overall.

5. It is just a paperchase

One of the ISO mistakes in documentation is to assume you need to define parts of your system that already have good documentation or act to displace documents. Software (like CRM or Order Process or Helpdesk programs) now are defining more closely the individual business steps and activities.

For instance, setting up a new Customer Account, certain critical information must be entered, before the Account is setup. This means that there is less of a requirement for Quality documentation to define every required action in detail. Instead, the emphasis must be on defining the key actions for completion, before the next step. The level of documentation is normally for training of new staff or providing holiday and other cover for the existing staff.

Make sure you reference systems documentation and specialist specifications and instructions. They do not need repeating in your system documentation.

Simplify document Control – all current Documents and Forms are all in one place with clearly understandable names and controlled.

Integrate and Link information together, so you can Work Smarter,

6. We just need an Administrator

A senior Manager or Director must take responsibility for your Management System. Quality systems can become stale with the emphasis on ongoing Compliance, rather than Improvement. Someone needs to actively manage the Quality System with respect to improvements and meeting business objectives.

A Quality Administrator often will not have the authority or confidence or the tools to encourage improvement. With older systems, often the original implementer of the system has moved on and been replaced by a Quality Administrator, who does not have the responsibility or knowledge to change and improve the system to help the Business achieve its objectives.

A common problem for Quality and other systems which are well established, is complacency. Things worsen, if the personnel involved in documenting and implementing the System, have moved to other projects or left the Company. Often, the responsibility for the System passes to a Quality Administrator. The administrator knows about maintaining the System. Although, they know little about managing the system, or improving the business. Additional problems, to compound thes issues, are low allocation of resources, low level of Authority and no Budget.

7. Once Certified, we can relax

ISO certification is a great step to take, but not an end in itself. Remember, there are at least yearly Surveillance audits to check both continuing compliance and on-going improvements

  • A properly documented and certified Management System is a tool which can assist you to achieve your Business objectives.
  • When you achieve Certification – enjoy the moment.
  • Afterwards, start planning the next stage of the development of the system and your business.

You can never sit back and relax. If you have really placed your management system at the centre of your business, it is fundamental to how you will consistently and effectively manage business improvements and reach your business objectives. Vigilance and continuous improvement are the name of the game!

To avoid the biggest ISO mistakes

Ensure you don’t make the ISO or Management Standards mistakes. Use your management system to move forward in a consistent, business-like way. In other words, improve, please your customers and make more profit! We will help you improve your business, rather than just comply with the Standards. So, to avoid the biggest ISO mistakes…

  • Use the System.
  • Achieve ISO with staff, customer and supplier engagement.
  • Change the System as your requirements change.
  • Use the Measurable Objectives to track & improve.
  • Respond effectively to change.
  • Achieve your Business objectives.

Moving forward with reduced mistakes

No business ever gets everything right. However, one of the reasons for implementing a management system is to set in place a system to help attenuate the risk of mistakes. The power of management systems lies in their ability to set up monitoring methods and to identify and problems with them. Then, following the discovery of non-conformance, to resolve those problems. At CHARTER4, we have many years’ experience of working with new ISO Management System projects. In addition, we have a unique approach to help you achieve more than just ISO Certification. Our approach is to help you to make your new management system boost your business overall. In fact, our aim is to help you to focus your ISO Project around business improvement so that your project can, “Improve your business, rather than just comply” with the standard.

If you would like to know more about how we can help your project, and our unique approach, please click one of the buttons below.

Certification with Charter 4 – the Business Benefits
  • Improve, rather than just comply.
  • Full service and ongoing support to compliment your resources.
  • Build on your Processes & Systems (no standard templates).
  • Help defining your Best Practice.
  • Certification by independent UKAS accredited Assessors.
  • 100% Success & guaranteed support until Certification.
  • Help to get Government Grant (when available).
  • Flexible support to complement your resources.
CHARTER4 – Partners you with the experience and insight to help you grow using management Standards. We will help you improve your business, rather than just comply with the Standards.
Charter4 - We partner with you to help you grow using management Standards. [Article Name: The Biggest Mistakes with ISO 9001]