What does it mean to be ISO certified and why does it matter?

ISO certifiedWhat is ISO Certification?

ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization which, according to the ISO website, “is the world’s largest developer of voluntary International Standards. International Standards give state of the art specifications for products, services and good practice, helping to make industry more efficient and effective. Developed through global consensus, they help to break down barriers to international trade.” Although ISO is the body that develops the rules by which certification is granted, they do not do the certifications themselves. Companies become ISO certified after having a certification performed by an external ISO certification body.

Why do some organizations seek ISO certification?

ISO certification is largely a voluntary choice, but sometimes it can be required for contractual or regulatory requirements. Other times companies want to set themselves apart from their competition by going the extra mile to gain certification (which by the way is not a walk in the park). Others choose to become ISO certified due to customer preference.

What are the benefits of becoming ISO certified?

ISO certification helps businesses transform their operations to become as efficient as possible, increase productivity, and access new markets that may have been untouchable prior to certification. Additional benefits include:

  • Cost saving from money saved from more efficient operations
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Increased sales
  • Opens up new markets- some markets can only work with companies who are ISO certified.
  • “Green”- ISO standards help reduce negative impacts on the environment.

To be truly ISO Certified, an organization must undergo annual audits from a certification body. These must be done EVERY year to remain certified and compliant.

What are the ISO certification options?

  • ISO 9001 is a quality management system, implementing a systematic and process driven approach to managing your business.
  • ISO 14001 is an environmental management system for controlling the aspects of your business that have a significant impact on the environment.
  • BS EN 15713 is a framework of key conditions to be adhered to for companies that destroy confidential information on behalf of their customers; the security of this information being integral to this.
  • BS OHSAS 18001 is a health and safety management system for controlling and monitoring risks that can arise from the company’s day to day activities.
  • ISO 27001 is an information security management system for effectively manage risks to the security of your company’s confidential information.

(http://www.iso.org/iso/home/about.htm

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