When we choose a company to deliver a good or service, we expect and want them to give us a high quality and positive experience. With an ISO 9001 certification, a company is telling consumers and the business world that it cares about their output and delivering their goods or services to the best of their abilities.
How can you check if a company is ISO 9001 certified? You can check if a company is certified with documented proof and by searching with their registrar or accrediting bodies.
Some firms will only hire a company to do a job if they are ISO 9001 certified. This ensures that companies are holding themselves accountability to high standards.
It is a good idea to check into certification if a company advertises it holds one. You want to ensure legitimacy as this certification takes significant effort to obtain. Double checking their certification will build a trusting relationship with a client. Working exclusively with credentialed firms will keep you confident in getting your job done.
When working with a firm, you may choose to only work with ISO 9001-certified companies. There are many reasons that clients will do this. It establishes the company as committed to quality assurance and consistent improvement to their business operations.
Making all their processes efficient and continually striving to be better places confidence in a consumer. They can trust a firm will work in their best interest and deliver a great product or service.
Working with ISO 9001 certified companies exclusively will not only ensure that a company will serve your needs according to their well-defined standards, but it also speaks to your values.
You appreciate a job that is well-planned and executed as well as working with companies that are committed to high quality. Both firms’ priorities are set on excellence and high standards. This will create a cohesive working relationship that is transparent.
Unfortunately, there is always fear that a company may broadcast certifications that they do not have in order to boost their image and bring in business.
Because some people are skeptical or just want to verify the information, there are different avenues to take in ensuring this certification is legitimate. If you are a client who will be using a firm for contracted work or needs a service, you can and should double check that their certification is valid.
These are the steps you should take to ensure that an organization is ISO 9001 certified. These will ensure you are working with a legitimate and honest firm.
Claiming certification reaps significant benefits for a company and you should ensure that they are truthfully certified. Knowing this will allow you to build trust with the contracted company.
When you have chosen a company to work with for some project or contracted work, you should ask them for a copy of their certification. This is not an inconvenience for a company as they should be giving this to every client that requests it. If a firm has a valid certification, there should be no issue in delivering this request. Seeing a physical copy of a certificate of registration is the best way to prove that a company is certified.
This certification should be issued by the certification body to which the company’s certification is registered. This will give you all the details of the certification, including time frame and scope of the deliverables to meet specific ISO 9001 requirements.
Examples of Certificates of Registration:
Once you have received a copy of the certificate, you need to make sure it is completely valid. One of the ways that certification may not be legitimate is through an expired date. Getting certified is a process in itself, but maintaining certification is just as difficult. Many firms go through the efforts of becoming certified in order to expand their business scope. While this is the first step in acquiring new business, maintaining the certification is key in delivering the stated process improvements. Because improved efficiency is a key component of meeting the standards of the certification, standards must continue to be met. Check the date on the certification to ensure that they are still ISO 9001 certified. We may overlook this when we see that they have been certified once!
This is actually not always a negative as a business is being up-front about issues they need to resolve within the firm and that they are committed to fixing them effectively. Transparency and honesty is a strong quality in any upstanding business.
ISO 9001 certification is unique in that the standards a business must meet are specific to the individual firm. This allows for a company to improve metrics and processes that are catered to their business.
A generic set of standards may not apply to all companies, so this ensures that a business is able to further their efficiency in ways that specifically benefit them.
When looking at the certification, you should be reading through the standards and deliverables that the business sets themselves to. If you know what the business aims to do and if they are hitting those goals, you can confidently believe their certification is valid.
If these documents do not match the goals or functions of the company, they may not be adhering to their certification or this certification is not legitimate.
An important example: An organization can certify one plant or location in their company but not another. Make sure the processes and all parts of the business you interact with are certified.
Just because a company holds a certification for the operation of a specific plant, does not mean it also holds this for another. You have to be very detail-oriented in this regard!
Because ISO 9001 certified companies undergo an external audit to make sure their requirements are being met, there should be a stamp or indication from a registrar.
If there is no accreditation body marking on the document, you should be suspicious of the document’s validity. Approval and yearly audits are required in order for a firm to maintain their credential.
If you see the name of the registrar on the certificate, the easiest way to verify is to call the organization. They will be able to tell you if they have issued this certificate and any additional details about the firm’s specific certification.
Examples of Accreditation Body Stamps:
There are many third-party auditors who may not be members of the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). This list ensures that auditors and the companies they represent are trained and certified to complete this audit effectively.
There are many organizations that are not certified and this forum is a good resource to check! Businesses that want to closely abide by ISO 9001 standards will use a registrar that is verified.
Not all certification bodies are accredited. This not always a problem. Being an accredited organization is not a requirement, but often times firms will choose to work with a body that has taken the extra step to become accredited.
Some non-accredited certification organizations have strong reputations in a specific industry or category. Just do some research into the organization to make sure it is legitimate.
Being accredited may make you more comfortable as a client, but it is not required in knowing that a company has been certified by a reputable source.
Now that you have confirmed that the accreditation or certification body is valid and able to carry out valid audits, make sure the firm is listed in their database.
Accreditation bodies will publish the businesses in which they have given certifications to. If a company is listed, you can confirm that the company has been properly certified and is adhering to their ISO 9001 requirements.
If you find out that issues arose with any of the above steps and these cannot be rectified, find another supplier who is certified. There is no reason to work with a firm that said they were certified when they were indeed not.
This could suggest deceitful business practices, inability to deliver upon set standards, or a lack of attention to detail. Firms that did not abide by their requirements may not instill the most confidence in clients who are looking for well-designed and delivered products or services.
Working with a fully legitimate and accredited firm poses less risk for problems in your business ventures.
Following these steps will help you to confirm that a business is legitimately ISO 9001 certified. Being very careful and paying close attention to every step will prevent any misunderstanding or oversights.
Taking the extra time to check is worth knowing that you are working with a firm that is committed to operating at their best and supplying you with the deliverable you hired them for.
Not all companies need ISO 9001 certification, but it does instill more confidence in a client or consumer. Because many firms only work with accredited businesses, many companies do need the certification in order to stay competitive and attract new business.
There is no legal requirement for a business to be ISO 9001 certified. But certification does pose specific benefits to the company. These are detailed in the next section!
Many companies that are not certified:
These issues can be avoided or improved upon with certification! While no requirement for this certification is in place, these are major aspects to the success of a firm. Becoming certified could transform the potential for your business to succeed.
If your documentation is clear, specific to your firm, well-organized and achievable, ISO 9001 has numerous benefits for the credentialed organization.
Having a certification shows clients and customers that quality is important to you. They are more likely to work with a firm that they trust and know is committed to doing a good job.
The more honest and transparent you are with the consumer will only lead to greater benefits for both parties. This confidence in your firm through your revealed values drives the next benefit to the firm: increasing business opportunities.
Some clients will only work with credentialed organizations. With this certification, your firm will be opened up to more business opportunities and potential for additional contracts. This will only increase earning potential.
The more clients you are able to deliver for, the better your reputation will be within your given industry.
Emphasis on efficiency and quality will eliminate costly and unnecessary methods. This will drive costs down to improve overall efficiency and effectiveness within the firm.
Because ISO 9001 aims at improving the specific processes by which your firm operates, there is close attention paid to making sure a business can best provide for their clients as well as their internal operations.
Having set standards will also make firm expectations and execution clear. Procedures should be completed using the same steps and processes every time, allowing for a consistent product or service to the end user.
This consistency also allows for avoiding mistakes within the organization that can limit efficiency and therefore cost the firm more money.
With requirements to meet consistently, having this credential will give your team something to work toward together. Keeping employees motivated and engaged can be accomplished with the common goal for achieving quality.
Tying your brand closely to the quest for quality can keep employees and management focused on the goal in all their job functions. Including them in this process is key and will only enhance the success of your organization.
Buy in from employees and team members is important in making ISO 9001 requirements work. If your team does not work toward meeting these goals, the firm will not be able to withstand consistent audits and recertification.
A key component to ISO 9001 requirements is leadership development, accountability and Management Reviews. Leaders within an organization are responsible for driving profits and efficiency.
These standards ensure that the leaders work toward consistent improvement and guide their employees to complete job functions to the best of their abilities.
Beyond the quest for running your firm as efficiently and successfully as possible, ISO 9001 certification is an excellent marketing tool for consumers and other firms.
The business will set itself apart from similar firms without certification by placing emphasis on excellence. The firm will gain recognition and a positive reputation for being committed to delivering a high-quality service or product.
Consumers also benefit from certification! Having standards in place increases overall business practices.
When selecting a product or service, you want to make sure you are getting the best of the best. Continued improvement by adhering to standards reveals that the firm is concerned with the consumer’s best interest.
Investment in the consumer creates trust between the two parties. A trusting business relationship will allow interactions to run smoothly.
Not only will you be able to trust a company for their products, but continued emphasis on improvement will drive services and products upward.
The customer will benefit from higher quality products and services as standards are continually met and improved upon. Companies will strive to hit these goals as they may lose business to competitors.
Being held accountable by the ISO 9001 standards is a strong force in driving quality.
A key component of meeting ISO 9001 standards is clear and consistent documentation.
This benefits the consumer as they are able to oversee the operations of a company and choose what kind of firm they want to work with. This is also helpful for their own records if they choose to work with a firm.
They will have copies of documents that pertain to their business dealings with these accredited firms.
ISO 9001 credentials are beneficial to all working parties. Ensure that these certifications are valid for a positive and honest working relationship. Both parties should pay close attention to making sure the certification is up to date and standards are consistently being met.
The goal of working with these firms is to drive efficiency and ensure the highest quality products and services.
Written: 3rd July 2019
Author: Richard Keen
Richard is our Compliance Director, responsible for content & product development.
But most importantly he is ISO's biggest fanboy and a true evangelist of the standards.
Learn more about Richard