About ISO Compliance
If a business is following the rules and regulations promulgated by the International Organization for Standardization, it is said to be ISO compliant. Certification with ISO confirms that the business is following the guidelines set by ISO and can be used to boost the business’s image. The rules may be used informally, for self-improvement and internal matters.
The International Organization for Standardization is an organization based in Switzerland. Its major work is the creation of voluntary international standards. Businesses can choose, but are not obligated, to comply with these standards. ISO was established in 1947 and has issued over 19,000 international standards in a range of fields, including food safety, technologically advanced vehicles, healthcare and manufacturing processes. The most common standard used by most businesses is ISO 9000, which is the umbrella for the quality management standards. When a company says that it complies with the ISO, it is generally understood that it is compliant with ISO 9001:2008 which includes the requirements companies must achieve to be ISO compliant.
Following ISO standards is not required by any law; however, ISO standards are recognized in many industries. Furthermore, ISO certification conjures up an image that the business adheres to certain quality measures when developing and producing products and services. Still, the decision to comply lies solely with the organization. Internal compliance indicates that the company’s workforce is trained and encouraged to follow the rules and regulations set out by ISO. While non-compliance may not be legally penalized, actions may be taken internally for any breach in compliance. Internal compliance is not a proof of compliance with the ISO and is not legally recognized.
To be recognized as an ISO-compliant business, the company must undergo an audit by an accreditation firm. ISO does not offer certification, so certification processes must be conducted by third parties. The audit helps the business identify weak spots and correct them if certification is denied because of the shortcomings. Companies can use the ISO certification as a public relations tool. It ensures suppliers and customers that the procedures used by the business are up to par with international standards; thus, the final products and services are thought of as being more reliable and of higher quality.
Once a business has obtained a certificate of compliance with ISO, the work does not stop. To maintain its status, the business will need to submit to regular audits. The company must also continuously monitor its activities and document all operations so that it can maintain proper records. ISO auditors will review these records for accuracy and to ensure that the company is eligible to maintain its ISO-compliant status. Being compliant has its perks as well, as the status can create a positive perception of the brand image in the minds of customers and thus boost sales revenue.