I started my ISO 9001 journey just under a year ago at Charis Management Systems. I started with the ISO 9001:2008, while the 2015 version was still in development. My first experience implementing ISO 9001:2015 was with quite a large council department. I could see the challenges right from the get go but isn’t that the best way to learn? This organisation had many different processes, which meant many quality checkpoints.
We worked with the organisation intensively for a number of months to bring them up to speed and successfully through their external audit. This organisation did not have any experience with ISO and its practices. We worked with different teams within in the organisation, ensuring that everyone had an input into this process.
The first thing we did was do some process mapping with all the different teams. This gave us an understanding of exactly what the organisation did and what different individual’s jobs were. Using the process flow diagrams produced and many long conversations with different team members we completed detailed quality plans.
It was important to us through this whole process that the organisation was able to manage the management system on their own. When we started getting to the point of the internal audit and customer feedback, it all seemed to start making sense to them. The relevant personnel understood the importance of internal audit and customer feedback and how it all feeds back into the quality management system and adds to continual improvement.
Before their external certification audit however, this organisation had an understanding of what ISO 9001:2015 was in relation to their quality management system and were able to manage document control and the other parts of their system. This organisation went through their stage 1 and stage 2 external audits and only had 1 opportunity for improvement at stage 2. It was a great experience and I got to meet wonderful people during this process.