Get It Made explains the importance of the ISO 9001 in the manufacturing industry

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In the manufacturing world, supply chain management is everything; with such a broad range of potential processes that could go into a fully completed product, it is crucial to manage each one of these factors to ensure success. In this piece, we will be discussing how Get It Made uses a quality management system, along with the ISO 9001 certification, to manage its supply chain processes.

A key part of supply chain management is to have a rock-solid quality management system, or QMS. QMS’s ensure that companies have the capability to provide their customers with their product or service in the most efficient way possible, and they commonly revolve around seven principles including, but not limited to customer focus, leadership and engagement of people.

In order to prove that a company has a full understanding of how to use a QMS effectively, certifications are required. The most widely used and respected of these certifications is the ISO 9001. Get It Made understood the importance of attaining certification, in order to grow trust with existing and potential clients.

Luke Smoothy, director of Get It Made, discusses how imperative it was to get certified with the ISO 9001: “In the manufacturing industry, it is imperative to have an official certification that lets clients know you can fulfil their requirements. Not having a certification clearly and obviously listed on your website can generate a lack of confidence, especially for clients that are looking to complete a mass production project.”

As well as having the certification to build trust with your clients, it also gives a set framework that helps businesses to improve their internal processes. Smoothy: “The ISO 9001 needs to be adhered to every day, in order to continuously improve our processes. Following the QMS with every action we take means risks are eliminated, in both business practices and the processes we undertake to complete a project for a client.”

The ISO 9001 helps companies to break down each of the seven principles in the standard, along with detailed descriptions of the benefits and possible actions.

Smoothy explains the benefits and possible actions of the ‘customer focus’ aspect, as described in the ISO 9001: “It’s no secret that customer focus is the key to any business success; without customers entering, and continuing to remain in your funnel, your life will be extremely difficult. However, the full scope of customer focus is extremely broad. The ISO 9001 allows us to break each specific factor down, and really think on a granular level about how we can improve.”

The key components of a successfully implemented quality management system such as ISO 9001 are fully defined processes, continuous improvement and focusing on the customer. These as the cornerstones of a great business and a great ISO 9001 framework.

A strong focus on the customer means striving to fulfil their needs and requirements, to do this well, feedback needs to be gathered. Customers provide feedback in two ways, initially at the start of a relationship whilst evaluating if you can provide the service they demand. Secondly, have you been able to meet or exceed their expectations whilst providing the service? The only way a business can be sure they are fulfilling customers needs is by continually asking for feedback. A simple, actionable process for gathering this customer feedback is to send satisfaction surveys to clients at the end of the project. Documented insights can then be utilised in management meetings to shape the business for the better.

Smoothy: “Customer satisfaction directly correlates to the businesses reputation. A potential client might start off with a small prototype to effectively test the waters with us, and then move onto the larger projects when they are satisfied with the initial project success. This is extremely common in the manufacturing industry; very few clients start working with us on a large scale straight away, so it’s all about building trust. As our reputation grows, through word of mouth, the number of clients wanting to work with us increases.”

Fully defined processes that are documented in a QMS system mean that the business essentially has an operating manual. It allows processes to be repeatable and refined so human errors and assumptions can be reduced. Well defined processes shouldn’t just document how workflows should be organised, but also what to do when something has gone wrong. Processes should be built to capture data like non-conformance, traceability and responsibility.

It is important to remember that the journey for quality never stops, ISO9001 certification requires that the quality management system is continually reviewed, updated and improved. This is important as businesses continually change and the QMS needs to adapt in order for it to be effective. It will begin to be a mindset and culture throughout the organisation.

Finally, Smoothy adds a word of advice for any companies looking to get certified with a QMS: “It’s really hard to understate the importance of certification to show your organization is aptly qualified to deliver for clients. The ISO 9001, as well as showing your business can effectively
introduce quality management systems, can also offer insights into your own business and effectively improve your current services.”