For any company, being certified by a standardization body that is recognized worldwide is an important step towards showing customers and business partners that the processes within the company are trustworthy and quality-controlled.
ISO is one of the most important certification organizations in the world, setting standards since its founding in 1946. Today, all the major companies in the world are ISO certified, and small and medium businesses are catching up, following the same best practices defined globally.
What Are ISO Certifications?
The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental organization that develops and defines standards to be followed globally and unify them all around the world.
In today’s context of most industries exceeding borders, having a set of standards for every industry helps facilitate good partnerships all around the world. Throughout its 70 year history, ISO has developed over 21.000 standards.
Finding out which sets of standards are important for your own company depends on what industry you operate in, what operations define your activity, and how ready you are to apply for certification.
We will further present the most common categories of ISO standards that companies apply for all around the world.
Most Common ISO Certifications
To get an idea about the ISO certification you should pursue, here is a list of the 5 most popular families of standards companies are aiming for in the certification process.
ISO 9001: Quality Management Systems
The most well-known set of ISO standards is the 9001 quality management certification. It defines a set of quality management procedures and protocols that ensure the quality of the products and services offered by the company. Businesses big and small adhere to the ISO 9001 set of standards, no matter what their industry is.
ISO 22000: Food Safety Management
For companies in the food industry, adhering to an ISO Food Safety set of standards is very important, both in the relationship with their customers and business partners, and to ensure that their activity complies with governmental regimentations.
The ISO 22000 makes any company in the food industry responsible for what it delivers to the end customer, without compromising the safety of the products and public health.
ISO 27001: Information Security Management
In today’s environment, many companies are handling sensitive data about their customers, employees, or business partners. Handling this data with maximum risk reduction and tight security protocols is extremely important and contributes to building a good reputation. Trustworthiness is given by an ISO certification, which has to be renewed regularly to ensure that employees are always up to date with the security protocols of the company.
ISO 14000: Environmental Management
Responsibility towards the environment should be one of the priorities of today’s big and small companies, especially if their industry brings a high risk to the health of the environment. Being ISO certified ensures that your company manages its activity with consideration for the community it belongs to, for the health of the people working for the company, and those who live in its vicinity.
ISO 45001: Occupational Health and Safety
Taking care of your employees should be one of your top priorities, and no compromises should be done when it comes to their safety and health. The ISO 45001 set of standards is dedicated to keeping your activity safe for the employees, reducing risks to a minimum.
Good practices in this area of activity are extremely important for companies in high-risk industries, such as construction, healthcare, security services, etc. Getting ISO certified can actually save lives by eliminating high-risk elements in your workflow.
Which ISO Certification Is Most Important?
Seeing that are the main ISO certifications companies get world-wide, you get an idea of the most important ones you should pursue. As you might’ve already noticed, a company’s priorities vary a lot with its industry and type of activity.
It will be obvious that a company that manufactures food products will be highly advantaged by getting a certification in the ISO 22000 family of standards. A construction company should focus on the ISO 45001 certification, but also the ISO 14000.
As you can see, there is no certain recipe for getting “the most important” ISO certification. They are all important, depending on what your company does. In order to make the right decision regarding the ISO certification you should pursue, it’s a wise idea to hire a consultancy firm that deals with ISO certifications.
ISO itself does not grant certifications, it just develops the set of standards to adhere to. Other organizations, called “certification bodies”, are the ones that will perform the external audits and decide if your company complies with the ISO standards.
Other companies are specialized in supporting companies throughout their journey towards getting ISO certified, and will provide consultancy along the way. Australian-based Best Practice ISO Certification is an example of an expert service dedicated to companies that aim to get ISO certified. They can find out what set of standards would advantage you most, and which set of standards you should prioritize, based on how you are doing in the present.
What ISO Certification Should You Get?
When you start the process of getting ISO-certified, it’s important to perform your own internal audits first. Categorize the activities your company has and decide what needs to be improved. Research the most popular sets of ISO standards and also check what certifications your competitors have.
Getting an ISO certification is not only a highly regarded decision from your external stake-holders, but it will actually improve your company’s performance, reducing costs, improving your processes, and ensuring a long-term, solid base for your plans.
Interesting Related Article: “ISO 9001: What Are The Basic Requirements And Standards?“