The word “quality” has lost its impact. It has become so overused as a marketing buzzword that no one is sure what the word really means. Becoming registered to the ISO standards fills the word with new meaning, making it as robust as it was originally intended.
ISO 9001 – Where quality actually means quality
ISO 9001 certification is the hallmark of a Quality Management System. It is the stamp of approval awarded by the exclusive registrars who represent and audit individual business’ Quality Management Systems on behalf of the Organization for International Standardization. ISO registration certificates are proudly hung in places of honor in the lobbies of companies that have earned them. Let us pause just a moment to reiterated that ISO certificates are not awarded – they are earned after rigorous, provable implementation and comprehensive audits by ISO registrars.
Say what you do, then do what you say
The basis for an ISO-approved Quality Management System is to “Say what you do, then do what you say.” This is accomplished by the development, documentation, and implementation of policies, processes, procedures, and work instructions from the top of the company to the bottom and throughout the entire breadth of it.
“The standard requires an organization to meet its own requirements and those of its customers and regulators. It is based on the plan-do-check-act methodology, which helps organizations establish, implement, monitor and measure their processes to deliver results that align with the organization’s requirements and continually improve performance by taking appropriate action.”
How ISO 9001 can improve food safety management in your company
- It improves ALL processes within a company. Since safety plays a major role in nearly every company that produces, stores, transports, or serves human or animal food products, the issue of safety is integral to the control of each and every process.
- The written policies specifically define the regulatory and customer requirements that are to be met and maintained by the company
- The procedures and work instructions drill the policies down to the process level, ensuring that every aspect is fully controlled at all times. They define the sequence and integration of processes so that the desired result – in this case, safety compliance – is consistently achieved. This is the “Say what you do” element.
- The standard creates specific resource management requirements, especially with regard to the qualifications and ongoing training of human resources to ensure employee awareness of and compliance with the policies, procedures, processes, and work instructions. This is the “teaching them what we say, so they do what we say we do” portion.
- The standard requires documentation that the company actually does what it says that it does. The Quality Management System documentation must be able to provide irrefutable evidence that all processes are continually controlled and followed.
- Compliance is verified through the establishment of an internal audit program whereby a team of trained auditors can check documentation, and observe actual performance. In addition, regular audits are conducted by third-party teams, usually from the ISO Registrar that issued the company’s certification.
- Found issues of non-compliance or non-conformance, discovered in an audit, or at any other time, must be cured by documented corrective action that effectively prevents those issues from recurring.
- A driving force of the standard is customer satisfaction. Successful implementation, therefore, ensures that food safety should never be a concern to the customer, including “customers” such as internal departments and transporters.
ISO 9001 – Where Food Safety Management Is of Unquestionable Quality
Food safety cannot be an afterthought. It must be a theme that is central to every process point, every day, all the time. Implementing the ISO 9001 standard ensures your company and your customers that when you talk about quality in food safety management that you are serious about it and the likelihood of ever encountering a problem is virtually nil. Contact us to learn how NexTec solutions can help integrate your ISO 9001 implementation or download the FREE NexTec Food Brochure.
Images courtesy of David Castillo Dominici and Savit Keawtavee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net