Your vice president has charged you with researching ISO 9001 accreditation for the company. It’s the international standard for quality management and certification demonstrates that you are an efficient and well-run organization that takes quality seriously. Achieving ISO accreditation is a key target for your company. As a first step, you go to the ISO website. Your initial enthusiasm starts to wane as you’re presented with a large choice of standards covering a range of industries. It soon turns to frustration as there are a number of explanatory manuals to choose from but they’re all very long and make pretty dull reading. After a couple of hours wading through all the information, you’re totally exhausted and completely bamboozled. It’s a veritable minefield. How on earth do you make sense of it all?
Well, it’s certainly true that the ISO don’t do themselves any favors. Their website is confusing and hard to navigate, the language used is stilted and unengaging, and there’s just way too much information on there. It’s no wonder then that many an organization has put ISO certification in the too hard basket.
And yet the ISO 9001 standard, in itself, is a relatively simple concept once you cut out all the waffle and distill it to down to the critical elements. It’s also an important thing for every organization to achieve. Not only will it help you to ensure that customers get consistent, good quality products and services, it’s the independent mark of quality that the certification provides that’s really valuable. It sends an important message to both customers and competitors that you really are a quality outfit. And so ISO certification is well worth pursuing even if initially, it seems like a hard road to follow.
It doesn’t have to be quite so hard though. And the company intranet is the perfect tool to make ISO certification a more accessible process for all staff members involved. The key to success is breaking it down into smaller steps along with careful and methodical documentation of every process. Let’s examine in detail the areas in which a company intranet can make a difference.
ISO Certification Requirements
Division Of Labour
Setting clear expectations for staff about where their responsibilities lie and what’s expected of them is the essential first step to gaining accreditation. It’s likely that a whole team of staff will be involved in getting the organization ready for certification. Most of those staff members will, however, be involved in one aspect or part of the process. The first step in getting ready for certification is to break down the requirements into smaller parts. The relevant ISO quality management sections can be embedded in the intranet with some explanatory text to help staff navigate their way through the requirements. What’s more, use your intranet to document the organization’s quality processes so that the bigger picture is crystal clear along with the individual staff member’s place within it.
Dissemination Of Information
The intranet is the perfect vehicle for keeping all relevant staff members involved and informed. Set up a special ISO certification project space in your intranet that allows staff to collaborate, share ideas and insights as well as the latest news and updates. And use the intranet as the central repository for all documentation relating to ISO certification. What’s more, the forms builder function or embedded Google Forms app means that you can easily create forms to capture that manuals and policies have been read by all the relevant personnel.
Management Of Documentation
This is a fundamental aspect of successful ISO certification. All staff will need to clearly document every process taken within your quality management system using the correct documentation. Therefore, controlling the use of documents to ensure the latest version is being used is an important part of ISO 9001. And this is where the intranet can make a significant difference. Microsoft Office 365 or Google Apps documents and spreadsheets can be embedded directly in your intranet. Staff members will be able to simultaneously work on or edit the same document in real time and all the changes are automatically saved to the cloud. Your intranet is, therefore, guaranteed to hold the very latest version of that document. There’s no need for a manual system to ensure that old versions are removed and new versions distributed to the various internal departments as the intranet will automatically take care of it all for you.
Corrective And Preventative Measures
Inevitably things will go wrong from time to time. The important thing though with a quality management system and ISO certification is how you manage those glitches. Use the intranet’s forms function to track quality issues and their resolution. You can also use forms to remove errors and make sure that the correct data is stored. What’s more, utilize the intranet to keep a log of any actions you have taken to rectify a problem and publicize this to staff using the intranet’s company and team news pages. Whenever possible, you should try and identify potential problem areas and set up a system on the intranet to prevent or minimize their effects before they become big issues.
Ongoing Support And Training
Achieving ISO certification is likely to be a sharp learning curve for many staff members. They will need to be properly trained to ensure they are capable of meeting the challenge. And the intranet is the perfect vehicle for doing so. The intranet makes it possible to use a variety of media that suits all learning styles. From how-to videos, webinars and wikis through to checklists and surveys, there are many ways to ensure staff are equipped with the right knowledge and skills. In addition, for auditing and recordkeeping purposes, the intranet can automatically keep track of when staff members complete training.
Facilitating The Involvement Of Customers
Any process that aims to improve the quality of services or products for customers must include the involvement and input of those customers. The intranet can also help to facilitate this process. A customer portal can be developed within the intranet that allows customers to log any problems, comment on quality issues or complete a survey to improve quality. It will enable you to have two-way conversations with customers and allows you to feedback on improvements and innovations that have been made as a result.
Making ISO Certification Accessible
There’s no doubt about it, achieving ISO certification is a considerable challenge for any organization, not least because it’s such an involved and well, let’s face it, pretty dull topic. And the information the ISO publishes does little to dispel this image. That’s not to say it’s an incredibly valuable exercise for businesses to go through. The rewards at the end in terms of improved customer service and quality, together with that independent seal of approval make it all worthwhile. Be sure though to use your company intranet to make it as accessible and smooth a process as possible.
Interested in finding out more? Get in touch with the knowledgeable team at MyHub for a discussion on how a cloud intranet could assist your business to achieve ISO certification.