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ISO 9001 Implementation and Certification Checklist
Your ISO 9001 implementation can become more manageable by breaking it down into distinct tasks. This handy checklist reflects our proven simplified approach to ISO 9001 that focuses not only on easy, stress-free implementation but also on efficient, non-bureaucratic processes that truly benefit your business.
Also available: PDF download of this practical checklist
More about each implementation task: 5-step guide to ISO 9001 certification
Define Your Goals
Your organization can gain numerous internal and marketing benefits from ISO 9001 – if it first defines and then actively pursues them. Focus on operations and current shortcomings. Convert into SMART objectives.
Define the Scope
You aren't required to apply ISO 9001 to your entire organization. Decide if any departments should be excluded. Decide on a gradual roll-out.
Choose Your Implementation Approach
Do-It-Yourself kit, consultant, or a hybrid approach? Each could be done remotely.
No matter which implementation approach you choose and which ISO tasks you outsource, somebody needs to be the ISO 9001 point person. If you do it all in-house, you might even appoint an implementation team.
Learn the ISO 9001 Requirements
The ISO 9001 point person and the implementation team should have a solid understanding of the standard and its requirements. Some of this knowledge can also be acquired by working alongside a consultant.
Gain Management Support
Don't take this lightly. It's crucial that top management not only support the ISO project but also "walk the talk". The first step in achieving active support is providing management with the needed knowledge.
Conduct a Gap Analysis
A gap analysis prior to project planning is particularly useful for larger companies or if a consultant is involved. Small and mid-size companies could conduct several small gap analyses during the documentation or implementation phases.
Develop a Project Plan
Plan the ISO 9001 implementation as a project. Focus on implementation steps, milestones, and target dates. Assign responsibilities. And keep it simple!
Start with the Document Control Procedure
The ISO 9001:2015 standard includes explicit and implicit requirements for documents and records, as well as stringent document control guidelines. Since all (ISO 9001) documents must be controlled, it is wise to develop your document control procedure first.
Create the High-Level Documents
These documents form the basis of your QMS: scope statement, quality policy, quality objectives, and process map.
Create Forms and Checklists
Forms and checklists save time. They can support work processes and record keeping. Develop forms and checklists that simplify compliance with your procedures.
Introduce the Procedures
Introduce staff to your new procedures, one at a time. Use employee meetings or teach managers to inform their staff. Start with document control.
Have Staff Write Their Own Work Instructions
Work instructions are step-by-step directions on how to perform an activity. Work instructions are best written by staff who actually perform the work. You may need to verify compliance with your new procedures.
As you are implementing new processes, be sure to generate and keep records. Certification auditors will use them to verify compliance.
Market Your Upcoming Certification
Gain early marketing benefits through advertising your pending accreditation. Add substance by describing your QMS, summarizing your procedures, and announcing your certification date.
Set Up the Audit Program
The audit program includes an audit schedule, methods for audit planning, auditing forms and checklists, and a team of auditors. A procedure is useful.
Support Your Implementation Through Audits
Start your audits early to support your implementation efforts. Leverage your audits as a training tool. Initially, focus on particular requirements or procedures.
Conduct a Complete Audit
Conclude one complete internal audit and ensure that any identified nonconformities are addressed prior to certification. Keep records.
Select Your Registrar
Choose an accredited registrar that meets your company's specific needs.
Pass the Certification Audit
Undergo the stage 1 and stage 2 audits. Address any nonconformities and inform your registrar.
Market Your Certification
Publicize your certification through press releases, your website and company stationary. Inform current and prospective customers.
Make sure your QMS remains implemented and used in daily operations. Continue your internal audits. Have your registrar perform surveillance audits. Address any nonconformities.
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