ISO 9001 Certified Organisations advised to ‘act now’ as new standard brings significant changes
IMS International, a leading global certification body, has achieved United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accreditation to certify businesses to ISO 9001: 2015. The revised standard was released in September this year and a three year transition period began for certification bodies to transfer their clients from ISO 9001: 2008 to the 2015 version of the standard. The 2008 version will then cease to be valid.
Certification bodies that are accredited to this standard must have demonstrated a defined list of criteria set by the IAF as part of the UKAS transition assessment process. This includes gap and transition arrangements such as timelines, communications with certified customers, training materials, and a process for confirming competence; witnessed assessment activity to demonstrate the certification body’s competence and process to audit the new standard, covering the approach to risk management and organisational context, as well as the necessary audit planning and reporting activities. Finally, if deemed necessary, there is also a head office assessment.
Michael Venner, chief executive officer at IMS International said: “With this accreditation, IMS has demonstrated its fulfilment to meet the criteria to the highest level of quality and service which will enable us to certify businesses to ISO 9001: 2015. We serve the demands of a diverse range of business sectors across the world that will be affected by the new standard, so we are proud to be one of the first in the UK to have achieved this accreditation.
“Our objective now is to guide our clients through this transition so they don’t risk losing their certification. With four fundamental enhancements, that I believe have improved the standard, our advice to businesses is to act now. It may seem daunting or even a burden, but the changes are in the best interest of the businesses. Three years may seem a long time, however these are the most significant changes we have seen in years, so forward planning is key.”
Organisations using ISO: 9001:2008 are advised to obtain a copy of the new standard and perform a gap analysis to allocate resources and time. Preparatory actions include: Identifying organisational gaps which need to be addressed, developing an implementation plan, providing appropriate internal training and awareness, and updating existing QMS to meet the revised requirement and providing verification of effectiveness.
“As a general overview, in order to prepare effectively, owners and high level management need to be more involved with the auditing process,” continued Michael. “As auditors, ultimately we need to know that you understand your business and your customers, know what the risks are, how your business is externally influenced, and that it is managing accordingly. We are not here to tell you how to run your business, we just want to know how you are doing it.”
Many other standards are impacted by the changes to ISO 9001 due to it being a core standard in industry specific quality management systems such as AS 9100. Each of these standards will have their own transition requirements which will be announced after the release date of ISO 9001: 2015.