The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent organization that provides quality-assurance guidelines and regulations for products, services, and systems all across the globe. ISO publishes globally recognized consensus-based standards that cover almost every industry. These standards are reviewed every five years to ensure they are up to date, reflect the changing needs of the global marketplace, and remain compatible with all other ISO standards.
To put it simply, an ISO certification is a form of quality assurance that makes sure products are kept at industry standards. An ISO certification is seen as a seal of approval from a third party body that a company keeps its products and services relevant to be developed and published by the International Organization for Standardization. When the standards change, businesses change with them to stay current. Although there are many different ISO standards and they apply to varied aspects of production and industry, the most common standards include:
The number that appears after ISO classifies the standard to which a product is certified. The ISO 9001 is among ISO’s best known standards, especially for management principles. General Kinematics is ISO 9001 certified and chooses to only work with vendors who have been approved to meet the same standards.
Because ISO is an independent, non-governmental organization, their guidelines are not directly enforced by law (although some industries do require certification to ensure quality). But getting the ISO certification can still greatly benefit your company. Many companies choose to undergo the ISO certification process as a way to ensure an efficient and reliable process that customers can trust for quality, value, and reliability. Further, ISO certification shows consistency across products and can further help your products meet customer expectations.
The ISO certification process varies based on the standard being certified, and certification must be performed by an accredited certification body. As such, when discussing or displaying an ISO certification, the specific guideline (e.g., ISO 9001:2015) should always be referenced.
ISO certification is highly regarded because once a company is initially certified they must partake in regular audits to ensure they continue to meet ISO standards and make any necessary changes to reflect any relevant ISO updates in a timely fashion. ISO certificates are valid for three years after they are granted, and at the end of those three years, a full recertification audit is required to prevent the certification from lapsing.
Because ISO is an international organization that develops its standards based on the knowledge of experts worldwide, ISO certification is a way for manufacturers to tell their partners and customers that they uphold high-quality service and production practices. ISO certification also helps businesses run more efficiently and maintain quality, which can lead to more streamlined processes, cost and waste reduction, customer retention, and improved employee retention and satisfaction.
However, in industries such as healthcare, chemical, and food manufacturing, certification is about more than just increasing trustworthiness and improving efficiency. For these industries, bad manufacturing practices could develop dangerous work environments or negatively affect customer well-being.
At General Kinematics, we invest in the development of innovative and efficient products through adherence to ISO certification quality standards. We believe ISO certification is important because it promotes the continuous improvement of our processes and ensures that we are taking every step to ensure the safety of our clients and personnel as well as the quality of our products.
General Kinematics has been ISO 9001 certified since 2002, and we review all vendors we work with to ensure they meet our standards for high product quality. Learn more about GK’s commitment to ISO standards or contact one of our experts today!