You may have heard of ISO certification or seen their logo on an organisation’s marketing materials but are not sure what that really means. Well here is the “Cole’s Notes” version of what ISO is and why it is important. Let’s start with what it is.
The International Organisation for Standardization is an independent, non-governmental membership organisation that develops voluntary international standards.
A quick history lesson
Founded in 1947 by delegates from 25 nations, the ISO was born with the stated goal “‘to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards”. Since then, the ISO has been busy publishing over 19 500 international standards focused primarily on technology and manufacturing. These standards have had wide reaching effects, for example, in 1960 ISO 31 (since replaced by ISO 80 000) set out a standardized guideline for measuring units specifying that time should be measured with seconds, distance in meters, etc. They have also released guidelines for social responsibility, environmental impact management, and information security.
The ISO 9000 family
ISO 9000 (and its family of various versions and revisions) address quality control. Their goals are to ensure products and services consistently meet customer expectations and that quality is constantly improving. ISO 9001:2008 is the quality management system to which Office Interiors is certified. This certification requires vigorous independent audits and is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement. Quality and continuous improvement become more than just buzzwords when seeking ISO 9001 certification, they must truly become a part of an organisation’s culture if it hopes to successfully achieve and retain (the organisation must undergo annual audits) ISO 9001 certification.
This article contains quotes and references documentation published by the ISO.