What is ISO 9001 & Why is it Important?

Posted by

Vivek Dodd

on 10 Nov 2022

At Skillcast, we're committed to quality and our customers. This is why we value ISO 9001 certification, which we've held consistently since 2002.

What is ISO 9001 & Why is it Important?

The International Organization for Standardization

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world's largest developer of voluntary International Standards. Their standards offer solutions and best practices for almost all types of technology and business, helping companies and organisations to increase performance while protecting consumers and the planet.

Developed through global consensus, their standards aim to break down barriers to international trade. Some well-known standards include ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and ISO 27001 (information security management).

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What is ISO 9001:2015?

ISO 9001 is the world's most recognised Quality Management System (QMS) standard.

It aims to help organisations meet the needs of their customers and other stakeholders more effectively. This is achieved by building a framework to ensure consistent quality in providing goods and/or services.

The standard is based on seven quality management principles, including having a strong customer focus, the involvement of top management, and a drive for continual improvement.

The seven quality management principles are:

1 – Customer focus
2 – Leadership
3 – Engagement of people
4 – Process approach
5 – Improvement
6 – Evidence-based decision making
7 – Relationship management

The principles are not ordered by priority. The relative importance of each principle varies from organisation to organisation and may change over time.

Skillcast's content development, portal and delivery infrastructure and processes have been accredited with the ISO 9001 Quality Management certification.

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Why should you get ISO 9001 certification?

An ISO 9001 certification provides objective proof to your staff, partners, clients and the outside world that customer satisfaction is at the core of your business.

Key benefits of ISO 9001

  • Increased revenue: leveraging the reputation of ISO 9001 can help you to win more tenders and contracts, whilst increasing efficiency aids customers satisfaction and retention.
  • Improvement of your credibility: when organisations are looking for new suppliers, it is often required to have a QMS based on ISO 9001, particularly for those in the public sector.
  • Improved customer satisfaction: by understanding your customers' needs and reducing errors, you increase customer confidence in your ability to deliver products and services.
  • Higher operating efficiency: you can reduce costs by following industry best-practice and focusing on quality.
  • Improved decision-making - you can detect and identify problems in good time, which means that you can quickly take steps to avoid the same mistakes in the future.
  • Greater employee engagement: you can ensure everyone works toward one agenda by improving internal communications. Involving employees in designing process improvements makes them happier and more productive.
  • Better process integration: by examining process interactions, you can find efficiency improvements more easily, reduce errors and make cost savings.
  • A continual improvement culture: this is the third principle of ISO 9001. It means that you embed a systematic approach to identifying and exploiting opportunities to improve.
  • Better supplier relationships: using best-practice processes contributes to more efficient supply chains, and certification will signpost these to your suppliers.

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About the ISO 9001 certification process

To become ISO 9001 certificated requires planning, commitment and resources. Our certification body (QMS) recommends a simple 3-step process:

  1. Gap Analysis
    A consultant visited our offices to review and document our current processes and procedures, then highlighted any areas that did not meet the standard's requirements.
  2. Implementation
    Any changes needed to existing processes and procedures are made.
  3. Certification
    An auditor visits our office annually to check that all of the documented processes are being followed, and once they are satisfied, a new certificate is issued.

How can you choose a certification body?

For organisations in the UK, ISO 9001 recognition is at its most valuable when certified by a UKAS-accredited certification body who will independently audit your organisation and provide you with ISO 9001 certification. You can find comparable international bodies through the International Accreditation Forum.

  • Evaluate several certification bodies.
  • Check if the certification body is accredited and uses the relevant CASCO standard.
  • Accreditation is not compulsory but provides independent confirmation of competence.
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Why is ISO 9001 so important to Skillcast?

Skillcast has developed thousands of hours of e-learning content for our clients - ranging from rapid e-learning to custom learning experiences. Each module that we build is responsive, accessible, engaging and compliant with our client's style guidelines. However, the quality of the product is only half of the story. The other, very important, half is process governance.

Process governance refers to our ability to partner effectively with our clients to ensure a consistent, transparent, dependable development process that can reliably produce high-quality e-learning courses on time and within budget.

Underpinning our process governance is our ISO 9001 accreditation, which we have been awarded every year since 2002. This demonstrates our commitment to quality and has informed our organisational structure, systems for building, editing and reviewing content, and procedures, including client communication.

Maintaining the ISO 9001 accreditation requires us to make continuous improvements in systems, staff training, organisational structure, and procedures for achieving successful outcomes for our clients.

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