As we prepare for our next ISO Quality Management System Audit in January, I was reminded of this article written by our Quality Consultant Rob Graham.
Featured in one of our early newsletters, it offers some great advice around approaching ISO certification:
The ISO Curry
Last month we underwent our annual audit to ensure we are operating in compliance with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008. After spending the day with the Auditing body representative we were advised that the Rickter Company had fulfilled all requirements and that our certification is continued. In particular the high standards of our Management Commitment and Customer Service Procedures were commented upon in the report. However we never get complacent! We are continually analysing our Quality Management System (QMS) and regularly introduce new, improved methods by which we can better anticipate and satisfy customer requirements. At the moment we are working on streamlining the input and recording of objectives, which will improve the ease with which we can monitor overall progress and performance across different areas.
Having the dedicated time during our internal audits to go through the entire system in detail is hugely beneficial, not only in practical terms as preparation for the ISO surveillance visit, but in allowing us to reflect on where improvements might be made and to cast ideas around. For example, at our last internal audit we realised our Approved Supplier Form was somewhat inflexible and over-complicated. We have now updated this document so it is succinct and appropriate to any industry. We have also recently migrated our contract performance reviews onto an online version which is far more efficient than the old mail system and has already boosted returns significantly in the first few weeks of operation.
Since the inception of our QMS during 2004, there have been many changes to the system, but one thing remains constant: it is at the centre of all Rickter activities and is one of the most valuable tools at our aid. We actually look forward to our Audits! We know we make best use of our system and the audits are our opportunity to demonstrate this, as well as ensure we keep doing all we can, to be the best we can.