ISO 9001 compliance in South Africa is just as important as it is for any firm operating in the USA or Europe. ISO 9001 forms part of the ISO 9000 family of international standards related to quality management. These standards provide companies operating in countries such as South Africa the necessary framework and tools for improvement of quality, consistency in meeting client requirements and improvement in processes. Compliance is not a once-off process, but rather an ongoing improvement.
ISO 9001:2008 is also relevant to South Africa. It focuses on the requirements of a Quality Management System (QMS) and although certification isn’t compulsory, it is recommended for the following reasons:
- Documented proof of your firm’s compliance with ISO 9001 requirements.
- Ongoing improvements in quality of product, service and satisfaction.
- Integration of QMS with other ISO systems for streamlined management of compliance.
- Credibility with customers, investors, suppliers and trade partners regarding quality.
- Consistency in quality of service and product delivery.
- Improved employee morale, as specific guidelines exist for quality.
- Improved management involvement to ensure ongoing quality.
- Competitive edge in the marketplace.
- Cost savings, as fewer items are returned.
Applicability of the ISO 9001 Standard to South Africa
South African firms are not isolated and international trade partners want the assurance that their partners adhere to the same standards of quality. Compliance with ISO 9001 provides this assurance. The standard is applicable to any industry and enterprise, irrespective of type and size. Well over a million companies in over 169 countries have already implemented the standard. Non-compliance thus puts a company at a disadvantage in the international market.
Principles of the Standard
ISO 9001:2008 is based on several quality management principles, such as customer satisfaction, motivation of employees, involvement of management, ongoing improvement and following of the process approach to quality management.
Compliance should be measured, as this forms an integral part of quality management. Internal audits are thus essential to check whether the organisation’s QMS is indeed working as it should. External audits, like those provided by WWISE, provide extra credibility.
What is the QMS?
It refers to a set of documented policies, procedures and processes needed for the planning and production, development and service delivery within an organisation to meet client quality requirements. QMS is not just the group of documents. Instead, it is a system and the documents just form the written description of the QMS that integrates the internal processes of the organisation, to ensure that the process approach can be followed in the execution phase. This allows for proper identification, measurement, control and improvement of the various processes, to ensure optimal and ongoing improved business performance in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9001.
The QMS is intended to recognise the quality needs relevant to the customer, the regulatory requirements of the trade, and specific requirements of international standards. Every requirement must be documented. The employees should undergo relevant training and performance processes must be outlined. As part of the QMA, there must be records to show that the system requirements have been met and where not, which corrective steps have been taken. Ongoing monitoring of changes to various requirements and meeting of such is essential. As mentioned earlier, internal and external audits are essential to ensure that the system processes operate correctly and that requirements have been met.
Scope of ISO 9001 as Relevant to South Africa
Section 1 deals with the process approach, meeting of regulatory requirements and processes, which must be in place for ongoing improvement. Section 2 entails the references which should be used, while Section 3 outlines terms and definitions.
Section 4 covers the general ISO requirements for the QMS with details regarding the quality management system, document requirements such as the quality manual, procedures, QMS scope and relevant forms and records. It also covers the control of the documents, including the forms and records, procedures, software and specific considerations.
Section 5 addresses the management responsibility, commitment, representation, quality policies and objectives, customer satisfaction, corrective actions, preventative actions and the management review.
Section 6 deals with resource management, including training of personnel, while Section 7 focuses on the product realisation in terms of production, planning, customer feedback, purchases, process controls, design, traceability, customer property and verification.
Section 8 covers measurement and improvement with focus on monitoring processes, customer satisfaction, conducting of internal audits according to ISO 19011, corrective and preventative actions, and statistical methods to use.
Contact us at WWISE for assistance regarding compliance, auditing, preparation, certification, training and maintenance of a QMS for your firm in South Africa in accordance with the requirements of ISO 9001.