Quality Management Systems

ISO 9001

Quality Management Systems

ISO 9001 is an internationally recognised standard of requirements against which your Quality Management System can be evaluated.


A Quality Management System (QMS) is a set of policies, processes and procedures that are required to plan and execute a business activity of an organisation.

ISO 9001 is a well-proven example of a QMS that can help you to:

  • Continually improve, streamline your operations and reduce costs
  • Achieve more business and compete more effectively in tenders
  • Enhance your customers satisfaction
  • Address risks and opportunities to help build a sustainable business
  • Demonstrate you have strong corporate governance
  • Work effectively with stakeholders and your supply chain

The standard is based on seven quality management principlesthat senior management in your business need to focus on and address. They are:

  • Customer focus
  • Leadership
  • Engagement of people
  • Adopting a process approach
  • Improvement
  • Evidence based decision making
  • Relationship management

All recently updated versions of ISO standards have a common structureof 10 sections enabling any business, working to an ISO standard anywhere in the world, to show evidence of:

1-3 – The Scope of your QMS including normative references, terms & definitions

– Understanding the context of your organisation including recognising the needs and expectations of interested parties

– Leadership and worker participation

– Planning of business activities including addressing risks and opportunities and setting objectives that are S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time-based) that have relevance at all levels of the business meaning each employee understands how their job supports meeting the Quality Objectives

– Providing support to enable those activities

– Operating your business to achieve the QMS

– Evaluating performance through feedback, internal auditing and management review

10 Improvement!

Businesses should adopt a “Plan, Do, Check, Act” process approach that can be explained as:

Plan – Your quality manual, procedures, work instructions etc.

Do – The actual work you do

Check – How do you monitor, measure, obtain feedback and assess objectives?

Act – Management review activities assess performance and act to improve

This “PDCA” cycle leads to continual improvement and can be summarised as follows:

Why have it?

Working to an ISO 9001 QMS will help you to control and improve the quality of your service delivery. This will help to reduce costs of errors (putting right what you should have got right in the first instance), make you more competitive and demonstrates to existing and prospective customers that you are a well-governed business that takes Quality seriously. Also, more and more, holding ISO 9001 is becoming a minimum requirement for a service provider to Government and large businesses.

How do you do it?

You may be starting from scratch or you may have an existing QMS. Your first consideration should be a “Gap-Analysis” where you acquire a copy of the standard, study every section and detail and identify areas where there is work to be done to comply with the standard. You then create an action plan involving a logical sequence of activities including setting timescales for completion, responsibilities within your organisation and identifying resources needed – summarised as “What, When, Who and How”.

You would normally then run with the QMS for a period and carry out a full internal audit to check everything is in place and the system is working effectively within your business.

Once you feel you are ready for assessment you can call QSS in to conduct your initial assessment audit. We will spend, depending on the complexity of your business, at least the best part of one day auditing the QMS against the standard and your documented procedures. This may or may not reveal nonconformities that will have to be addressed and corrected (as applicable) before you are deemed as compliant. Once you are deemed as being compliant QSS will issue a certificate providing third-party confirmation that you meet the requirements of ISO 9001. After initial certification, QSS would re-audit you annually to confirm you continue to meet the requirements of the standard.

For a more detailed summary of the contents and requirements of ISO 9001, you may find this website helpful: http://www.praxiom.com/iso-9001.htm


As mentioned above you need to first purchase a copy of the standard and then budget costs for implementing and running the QMS prior to initial assessment. You may wish to do this yourselves or you may engage an appropriately qualified and experienced independent consultant who can quote to assist you through the preparation process.

QSS can then, on request, complete your initial assessment and set up an annual surveillance cycle.

Please contact us for costs.

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