ISO Compliance Versus ISO Certification, What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter?
ISO aka International Organization of StandardizationISO Compliance and ISO Certification are quality standards that are important to almost every company in every industry. Everyone wants to be known for having great quality. Manufacturers want to make high quality products and business sales and service providers want to be known for having quality products and services. How quality is measured is up for great interpretation, however there are organizations that set the standards for measuring quality in certain industries. One of these is the International Organization for Standardization, or ISO. ISO has a quality certification for businesses called ISO 9001 which is a standard for measuring business practices and processes to ensure they produce a consistent level of quality that leads to customer satisfaction.
ISO CertificationTo be considered ISO 9001 certified, businesses must go through the process of assessing their current processes, documenting their procedures in detail, and presenting them to ISO for certification. The whole process typically takes 2 months or more. The process for certification seems simple, however to accurately document all a company’s procedures can be very arduous. Even small companies with fewer than 50 employees can have dozens of different processes for receiving products, entering invoices, shipping products, correcting mistakes, etc. Since the ultimate goal is meeting the customers expectation of high quality, many companies are content with being ISO compliant in lieu of certification.
Being ISO 9001 compliant means your company has consistent processes that meet the standard of a true quality management system, or QMS. These processes may or may not be fully documented (thus not eligible for being certified), however they ensure a consistent level of service meeting their customers high expectations.
It’s important to know that ISO certification does not ensure all the processes a company has help it meet the standards of a quality management system. It only means the company has accurately documented them and they are applied consistently. In the same way, an ISO compliant company can have processes that do not necessarily contribute to the customers expectations of high quality. It is however easier to implement corrective action when the processes are consistent and documented. Without consistency, the cause of an event that creates a poor-quality product or service is very difficult to find and correct.
One of ATI Electrical Supply’s core values is “customer service is the top priority of everyone in the company”. To ensure we live up to this core value, we are constantly improving our processes and procedures. Being an ISO compliant company helps make this continuous improvement process possible.