If your business is invested in achieving quality throughout its operations, ISO 9001 is a great option.
Some of the main questions we get asked are, “How do I get ISO 9001 in the UK” and “How long will it take?” With companies keen to start working more efficiently and advertising their new compliance standard, we completely understand why.
ISO certifications have also risen by 4% in recent years, showcasing the awareness they have worldwide. If achieving ISO 9001 is top of your agenda, continue reading to learn how long it will take to have that much-longed-for certificate.
How Much Time Should You Set Aside to Achieve ISO 9001?
The general advice is that it can take 3 – 6 months to become ISO 9001 accredited. However, if you are working for a larger company with 200 plus people, this could be up to 18 months.This time takes into account the preparation and assessment time, with the window showing the full range of options depending on the size of the company that is applying.
Most of the time will be spent implementing a new quality management system or configuring an existing one to be ISO-suitable. As you will know, if you have looked into the ISO 9001 accreditation, the entire certification is based on detail and quality. Therefore, companies must take the time recommended to create productive systems that work for them (and ISO, of course!).
Quality management is showing its worth globally, with the market expected to register a CAGR of 9% between 2023 and 2030. While ISO 9001 is not a legal requirement, we believe it will be one of the tools that future-proof companies use in the best possible way. You should also consider that the time you set aside for ISO 9001 is more than just the time it takes to achieve the award. Ongoing support and alignment must be factored in for long-term compliance.
What Are The Steps To Achieving ISO 9001?
Now that you know how long you can expect to spend on achieving this standard, let’s break it down into manageable chunks. Knowing exactly what goes into achieving the accreditation, you can look for ways to manage time efficiently to speed up the process if you wish to.
This same model is similar to what goes into any other ISO compliance implementation, with examples being ISO 27001 and ISO 22301.
Select a Professional Agency
The first step that we recommend is to choose the agency that will be supporting your application. ISO does not award the accreditation itself, so you will likely need to choose someone to do it all for you.
Criteria for selecting the best agency should include experience, cost, long-term support, and knowledge of the ISO standards in detail to ensure you are getting the best help available. We recommend speaking to a few providers and discovering who has helped other companies within your sector. You should also select an agency offering services other than ISO support, as quality management covers many business elements that you will likely need to improve upon.
You can learn more about our services for ISO 9001 here.
Undertake a Gap Analysis
Once you assemble a team of ISO experts, you will need to assess your current business performance.
A gap analysis involves outlining where you need to be and understanding what you are currently working with. This must be broken down by the seven core pillars of ISO 9001: customer focus, leadership, processes, people engagement, improvement of systems, decision-making, and relationship management.
With a gap analysis assessing whether business standards are being met, you can then create a strategy for becoming ISO 9001 compliant.
Design and Configure a Quality Management System
This part of the process is likely to take the most time, with larger companies taking up to a year to complete. Even though cutting corners and speeding up the process here could be tempting, you will regret it in the long term.
A QMS should be something that scales with a company, can be adopted when new products or services are introduced, and a function which brings multiple departments together. This means the process is collaborative, requiring input from everyone in a business. The system should cover all compliance factors outlined in IS0 9001 and work with other industry requirements.
For example, if you are a company in the healthcare sector, your QMS will have a purpose to improve patient experience and wait times. As well as meeting all of the ISO 9001 criteria, you should also enhance this to extend beyond the customer satisfaction elements with additional thought given to processes that achieve this.
The system must also be extensively tested before an application is started.
Process The Application
Once you are confident that all ISO 9001 criteria have been accounted for, the application can be completed.
Depending on the company’s size, this process can take a few weeks to a few months. Multiple assessments will need to be carried out and forms filled in that outline all processes in complete detail. Your chosen assessor will work closely with you to sort out any questions during this time. They should also be prepared to make reactive changes and test the QMS during this period.
Once successfully passed, the ISO 9001 certificate is valid for three years. If you want to continue the certification, the process for application will need to be completed again. This should, however, take less time as all systems are already in place and configured to meet the strict ISO standards.
What Time Needs to Be Given to ISO 9001 Once It Is Achieved?
ISO certifications require ongoing audits and assessments by appointed professionals. This ensures that standards are being maintained and systems are working efficiently. If a company doesn’t keep up this work, it will find that achieving the ISO certification again is a timely and costly task.
We recommend having a schedule of auditing for each department which suits the size of your business. This will not only help you maintain ISO levels of working, but means that any issues are not given a chance to escalate, leading to bigger business problems.
Can ISO 9001 Save Me Time In The Long Run?
Putting in the time and effort now will benefit your company long-term. You will experience time savings in the following ways:
- Decision-making is much quicker and more accurate. This eliminates time spent on assessing which options are best and means that everything is facts-based, offering less chance of issues arising further down the line.
- The processes implemented for ISO 9001 benefit every department. Customer satisfaction is the main purpose of any company, so ensuring that their best interests are being catered for is essential. The benefits are available for all, from the issue resolution procedures on the front line to the improved spending efficiency that finance will enjoy.
- ISO 9001 also improves transparency in operations, making for better lines of communication across teams. Messages can get lost no matter how large or small a company is. If everyone knows who is responsible for what and how they can resolve an issue, everything becomes much clearer. This also improves the employee experience and overall company culture.
- Leadership duties are made much easier, allowing those in high positions to spend more time on other tasks.
As we are sure you will agree, it is a win-win!
Achieve ISO 9001 With Creative Networks
Time is money which is why when you choose Creative Networks to support your ISO 9001 application, we will ensure things run efficiently.
Offering support at every stage thanks to our experienced team, we can help you implement QMS systems that guarantee long-term success. Contact us today to start your journey to full ISO compliance..