What is ISO and why is it important?

What is ISO ?

ISO standards are used by businesses as a strategic tool to increase productivity. ISO is the International Organization for Standardization. They are the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards.

This means that companies have the choice whether or not to accept these standards. Many do simply because they are known to ensure the safety and quality of products and services.

These standards have been accepted worldwide to reduce waste, improve productivity, decrease accidents and more. The major advantage, however, is letting everyone know that you are ISO compliant. Customers and investors are far more likely to do business with a company who is ISO certified than do business with one that is not.

ISO Certification

Certification is never a requirement, although businesses often wish to become certified into ISO’s management system standards to prove their compliance. Other companies may need to become certified if it is required when trading internationally or to satisfy terms of a contract.

Some businesses may use it to motivate employees by setting goals for developing their management system. It can also be a great asset in developing a risk management system, which will lower potential downtime and company liability.

In order to become ISO certified, a company should contact an organization who has authorization to evaluate and provide an ISO certification certificate. The International Organization for Standardization does not personally provide ISO certification.

Common ISO Standards

ISO standards are numerous. Each is grouped into categories of different types. For example, ISO 9000 is the group that focuses on management systems. This is the most widely used set of standards used by businesses around the world. So, when a manufacturing firm claims to be ISO certified, it most likely means that they comply with ISO 9000 standards.

Other ISO standards include ISO 4000, which includes specifications for vehicle tires and rims. Another is ISO 7000, which focuses on standardized symbols for use on equipment and machinery.

ISO standards are constantly being updated and revised to ensure compliance with all laws and regulations. It is important for any company to routinely review these to ensure they are also compliant.

ISO 9000 – ISO 9001

ISO 9000, specifically ISO 9001, standards are used by millions of companies to ensure they comply with the highest management standards. Even so, some are against this certification.

Some would argue that ISO 9000 is not worth all of the paperwork, time and money required for registration. The same people say that the unnecessary paperwork is a burden and that ISO’s paperwork is excessive and inefficient.

Others would claim that this certification is solely for documentation. However, if a company properly documents its quality systems, then most of the paperwork is already completed.

Other arguments include that ISO should be used as more of a guideline and is less effective as a standard. They believe these standards may mislead companies into believing that certification means better quality.

Is ISO Certification Important?

More businesses in the world recognize ISO standards than any other. The ISO 9000 group provides efficient business management which has been proven by millions of companies around the world.

Despite those against it, it has been proven that clients and investors are more likely to engage with a business that complies with ISO 900 standards.

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