What is an ISO certification in manufacturing? What does it mean for customers of a certified organization? Quality in the sheet metal manufacturing world is crucial not only for safety but also for product durability, cost savings, and supplier reliability. Read on to learn more about ISO and what it means for you!
What is the ISO?
The International Organization for Standardization is an international, independent, non-governmental organization with members from 167 countries. Founded in 1946, its goal is to “share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges,” (ISO.org).
Today, the ISO maintains over 24,000 documented International Standards covering areas such as quality management, environmental and energy management, food safety, health and safety, and IT security. Its certifications are some of the best-known in the manufacturing industry.
What is the ISO 9001:2015 credential?
The most popular ISO credential is the ISO 9001:2015 certification (most recently updated in 2015) that addresses quality management. This standard has been achieved by over one million companies internationally and involves seven core quality management principles (QMPs).
- Customer focus – The organization is concentrated on meeting customer requirements and exceeding customer expectations. The end goal is increased overall value delivered to the customer.
- Leadership – There is unity of purpose and direction to help the organization serve its customers faster and more efficiently. Everyone is working toward a common goal.
- Engagement of people – Employees are fully competent and empowered in their roles. Everyone is contributing their very best work to the organization.
- Process approach – The organization is focused on achieving consistent and predictable results from a cohesive, optimized system. You know what you are going to get every time.
- Improvement – Every process is open for development. This enables the organization to more quickly react to changes and capitalize on new opportunities that come along.
- Evidence-based decision making – This method is more likely to produce decisions with greater objectivity and confidence because they are based on the analysis and evaluation of real data. While uncertainty cannot be fully eliminated, it is greatly reduced.
- Relationship management – Maintaining key positive relationships with suppliers and stakeholders drives success long-term. Working well with these central influences keeps positive momentum growing.
Together, these seven principles describe and govern an ISO-certified organization and allows it to better serve its customers.
How does an organization become ISO-Certified?
There are many industry-specific ISO certifications depending on the organization’s line of work. The ISO itself does not issue certifications; an organization must be audited by a third-party agency to achieve the certification and rechecked regularly to maintain it. Evaluations are made based on specific objectives guided by the seven principles outlined above. When all requirements are met, an organization becomes “ISO-Certified” with a specific credential, such as the ISO 9001:2015 standard.
Why does this matter for the customer?
The central focus of the ISO certification is maintaining a high quality standard for products, processes, and people to more quickly deliver a better product to the customer. Since ISO-certified organizations are focused on delivering the best value to their customers, there are some obvious benefits to be reaped by partnering with an ISO-certified supplier. Mistakes and reworks are minimized, your requirements are actually met, and your product performs above expectations. By working with an ISO-certified organization, you can know you are receiving a product that is:
- High Quality – This is an obvious benefit and most likely an expected one, but an ISO certification demonstrates the ability to consistently deliver high-quality parts. The consistency of results has been tested and no corners have been cut in the production process, demonstrating the measures taken to ensure uniformity and standardize manufacturing processes and procedures.
- Streamlined – Processes in the organization are specifically designed and maintained to deliver results as fast as possible. Inefficiencies in production time and cost are continually being minimized or eliminated. This results in shorter lead-times on projects, meaning customers get what they need faster without compromising on quality. This involves employing quality people, maintaining top-notch technology, and being attentive to customer needs.
- Delivered On Time – Because systems are designed to be reliable and hang-ups are consciously eliminated, ISO-certified organizations are better able to deliver on their promises. Customers can expect parts and products on time that exceed expectations.
- Cost-Efficient – High-quality, streamlined production means that rework costs are greatly reduced because things are done right the first time. This saves the customer money and contributes to faster turnaround. An ISO certification ensures the customer’s needs are in mind first and foremost and that customer satisfaction is the primary goal in manufacturing.
Quality at Estes
At Estes Design and Manufacturing, we are always looking for ways to bring value to those we serve. One of the ways we do that is through our commitment to quality. Estes Design and Manufacturing is committed to quality – quality in our fabricated products, our standards and processes, and our company team members. Estes Design is proudly ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 13485:2016 certified, the latter being specifically for our medical device production. We know that speed and quality mean everything to our customers, and we endeavor to provide both through a three-step process:
- Planning – Quality begins in planning, where we review customer prints and specifications to verify product requirements.
- Designing – We then create documentation and instructions to ensure those requirements are perfectly translated to the manufacturing floor.
- Inspecting – In every step of the manufacturing process, our experienced production and inspection teams execute the established process flow to assure compliance and satisfaction of all customer requirements.
Additionally, we utilize state-of-the-art technology to aid in this process, including the Hexagon RS6 Laser Scanner and FabriVision Scanner. These tools allow us to check quality from beginning to end with unparalleled accuracy.
We maintain our practices to not only protect our ISO certifications, but more importantly to continue delivering high quality products and services to our customers. Visit our website to learn more about how Estes’ commitment to high-quality fabrication can take your project to the next level. Contact us to get started!