What is ISO?

What is ISO

What is ISO? Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure”? A simple explanation is that ISO is an organization that develops standards to address the issues of measurement.

The International Organization for Standardization (also known as ISO), is based in Geneva, Switzerland and has published 22,513 international standards and related documents that cover everything from quality management to sustainability to cyber security; reaching across every industry and type of organization.

Standards are documents that provide requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics used to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are consistent and fit to their purpose. ISO’s international standards are the language of world-wide trade, creating world-class specifications for products, services and systems to ensure consistent quality, safety and efficiency. Even the name ISO is consistent – it is derived from the Greek word isos, which means equal. In every country and every language, ISO is always ISO.

ISO Certification is based on those international standards, but the International Organization for Standardization does not actually certify any organization. Rather, they identify the need, create, maintain and update standards with the help of a panel of experts within a technical committee. Actual certification is the result of an audit process conducted by an accredited certification body. The audit confirms that the system’s requirements are being satisfied, all standards are being met, and that the management system is implemented effectively.

The world’s most used quality management system (QMS) standard  is ISO 9001, which can be implemented by any company, of any size, in any industry.  The requirements are written as a set of best practices needed to control all the processes of a business system – no matter what the company does. The standard is designed to be flexible; the focus is on improving quality and customer satisfaction, which every organization can benefit from including:

  • More efficient use of resources and improved financial performance,
  • Improved risk management and protection of people and the environment, and
  • Increased capability to deliver consistent and improved services and products, thereby increasing value to customers and all other stakeholders.

There are several routes to ISO certification. A company can create its own documents and systems, and conduct internal audits in preparation for their external audit; or they can work with a specialist to provide consulting, auditing or training services to expedite the certification process.  Learn more about the ISO standards for which simpleQuE offers services.  Click on these for information on choosing an ISO consultant and the advantages of ISO certification.

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