Do you need ISO 9001?

 I was recently asked the following question;

 ISO 9001, Do you need it?, Does it still have any impact?, Is it still relative in the supply chain?

In short, YES it is, and can become more important depending on the business sector/industry you are working with/in.

 Certainly in the OIL, GAS & Aerospace sectors of the market ISO 9001, is considered fundamental to your overall management qualifications, if you like, it is your starter for 10.  Alright I agree, at the early tender stage it is a tick box on the pre-qualification assessment, but if you don’t get a tick in the box you don’t get invited to tender!

The thinking is that if you can’t manage ISO 9001 how will you manage with the likes of ISO22301 (Business Continuity), ISO 27001 (Security Management) , ISO 31100 (Risk Management) or ISO 26000 (Supply Chain Management)  which are all being brought into prominence by major purchasers as elements of the pre-qualification assessment  and they want to see them in place before the individual purchaser starts looking at industry specific standards like the TS series for aerospace or AS series for automotive then of course there are the Defence Standards (DefStans or AQAP’s) allof which are very specific and are audited by the purchaser.

You should also consider the legal requirements for placing “product” on the market and by product I mean any goods or services you provide to anyone (and it does not have to be for payment) many requirements for product provision that fall under regulatory requirements will usually stipulate “Full Quality Assurance” as one of the means of demonstrating conformity (but this may not be the only requirement).  Where “Full Quality Assurance” that means a Quality Management System that conforms to ISO 9001.  It also means certification is required it is with a properly accredited certification body holding the requisite qualifications to carry out that certification.  

Therefore you should also be aware that the Certification body can be just as important, some industry sectors will prefer certain certification bodies.  In the UK a properly accredited certification body will be accredited by UKAS the United Kingdom Accreditation Service.  Using non accredited certification will definitely get you struck off certain supplier lists especially in OIL, GAS & Aerospace.

You may think that you are big enough to get away without having ISO 9001, well if you are only going to go for the retail market you probably are (Jo Public, doesn’t care, he only worries about the price) but if you are aiming for corporate or government customers, not having ISO 9001 could be a door closer at the pre-qualification stage.   But then you still need to check out the legal requirements for the “Product” you are providing.

On a final note I know I have gone on a bit about the pre-qualification which the major purchasers and proper certification, that’s because whilst standards in themselves are not enforceable, the EEC procurement regulations and any “Product” regulations are enforceable and breach of any of them could incur severe financial penalties.