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6 steps to get ready for ISO 9001:2015

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ISO 9001 certification, which helped them achieve significant gains in terms of quality, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Now, the ISO 9001:2008 standard has been revised and it’s time to get ready to meet the ISO 9001:2015 requirements. Certified companies have three years from the publication date of the new standard in September 2015 to conform; otherwise, they will lose their certification.

Start planning now

“Entrepreneurs shouldn’t wait,” says Isabelle Ledoux, a BDC Business Consultant who advises companies on conforming to quality management standards including ISO 9001. “You need time to plan and execute your transition to the new standard.”

Achieving ISO 9001:2015 quality management certification will require work, costs and changes to the way you do things. That’s why it’s important to start early and consider hiring an outside consultant to help you with the transition.

You should view the costs incurred as an investment allowing you to better serve your clients, improve your productivity and boost your ability to compete.

6 steps to get ready

Follow these steps to prepare for the change.

1. Purchase the standard

You may purchase the new standard from ISO (www.iso.org) or the Standards Council of Canada (https://www.scc.ca/en). You must do this before your ISO 9001:2008 certificate expires.

2. Analyze gaps

Once you have reviewed the new standard, you need to analyze the gaps between your application of the old standard and the requirements of the new one. This will show you where you need to make improvements.

3. Make a plan

New procedures will need to be established and drafted as part of your quality management plan. Create an action plan including tasks, assignments and timeframes. The preparation will involve planning a major data collection process and establishing performance indicators.

4. Train employees

Employees responsible for applying the new version must be trained on how to apply the new procedures and manage the change.

5. Hold an internal audit

A quality audit, performed by an internal or external audit team, will help ensure your business is ready to be certified under the new standard.

6. Obtain your certification

You must select a registrar so that an auditor may be appointed for an external audit onsite. Depending on the results, you may be asked to make modifications and to inform the registrar accordingly. Allow for one month to receive certification.

Businesses certified under ISO 9001:2008 have three years to transition to ISO 9001:2015. The three‑year period started on the date the new standard was published in September 2015. Don’t wait!

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