Maintaining an Effective Quality Management System under ISO 9001:2008

10 May

This month, Ascellon passed our semi-annual ISO surveillance audit without any non-conformance citations.  It is our 18th straight semi-annual audit without any non-conformance citation.  Surveillance audits are conducted by independent certification auditors recognized by the ISO governing body. The purpose of the regularly scheduled surveillance audit is to assure the ISO certification body that the quality management system is put into practice for business operations.  The audit typically focuses on the results of internal audits which are conducted regularly, whether metrics are collected, and how the data collected are used to implement corrective or preventive actions and to improve business processes.  Our customers who require our ISO certification as a condition for doing business with us are further assured of our status as a certified organization based on the results of the surveillance audits.

As an organization, we have found that maintaining an effective ISO 9001:2008 certified quality management system requires continuous management, focus and energy.  The goal is to design a management system that is in line with the organization’s business, while satisfying the requirements of ISO.

Second, we maintain a rigorous internal audit schedule, such that all parts of the system are audited at least twice each year.  This is invaluable in preparing for external surveillance audits.  The organization hardly needs any additional preparation for surveillance audits if internal audits are well-conducted.

Finally, we get everyone involved.  The quality management system is not something for the Quality Assurance Department – it is a way of doing business across the entire organization.

In summary, management at the highest level must lead the quality management system effort, the organization must design a quality management system that fits its business processes while maintaining compliance with ISO, and the quality management system belongs to everyone, not just the QA Department.

ISO 9001-2008 Logo

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