ISO 9001 standards are a set of quality management guidelines designed to ensure that superior efficiency and customer service are met through structured document regulations. Commonly a requirement of government and manufacturing entities, meeting ISO 9001 standards has become increasingly popular for large and small businesses alike – and the competitive pressure for new companies to comply will only continue to increase. Why? Because ISO 9001 compliant entities are getting a leg up on the competition by leveraging business automation to streamline processes and create company-wide structure to daily operations.
The path to meeting ISO 9001 standards
To become ISO 9001 compliant, more and more businesses are adopting electronic document management (EDM) software. By implementing an EDM solution, organizations are creating efficient working practices to better support staff and improve customer satisfaction. According to ISO 9001, a company must implement a quality management solution which delivers robust database security, easy audit preparation, document control and versioning, structured approval processes and automated workflow consistency. EDM solutions are built to help businesses establish company-specific, process-driven strategies to fully comply with these requirements while providing a unique competitive advantage. Under ISO 9001, every business-related document must be controlled and EDM makes this process effortless.
Benefits to your business
In fact, many companies now require their suppliers to hold ISO 9001 standards because businesses compliant to quality management guidelines tend to be healthier, more successful organizations. Some of the benefits of becoming an ISO 9001 compliant business include:
- Setting company-wide responsibility and accountability
- Improved internal communication to staff and customers
- Creating efficient and time saving processes
- Highlighting trouble areas that need to be addressed
- Better management control and improved customer service
- Reduced operational expenses in event of error and consequential “rework”
- Heightened credibility, increased marketability and international exposure
Benefits to your customers
By seeking and securing ISO 9001 compliance, companies can provide their clients with the opportunity to acknowledge their suppliers’ dedication to quality. Plus with EDM, customers can receive immediate attention about their personal orders as the entire document database is at each employee’s fingertips. ISO 9001 compliance benefits customers in the following areas:
- Improved quality and service
- On-time order deliveries
- Instant access to customer records
- Ability to address clients questions on the spot
- Fewer returned products and complaints
- Trusting a supplier’s proven commitment to quality
Ensure your processes are followed
Implementing ISO 9001 quality regulations also provides the ability to prove your data is protected, unaltered and appropriately used. By using EDM to manage company data, you can avoid issues with compliance while safeguarding internal processes. The robust security of EDM solutions can keep document policies in place through:
- Individual Access Control/Secure Sign-On
- Document Audit Trails
- Detailed History Log
- Document Versioning
- Pre-set Retention Schedules
- Document Preservation
EDM provides a clear log of user activities so that staff can be held responsible for their document actions. Plus, by recording when, why and what changes are made to documents, as well as current, draft, review and approval statuses, administration has better visibility into internal operations. To abide by ISO 9001, EDM also ensures that all document versions are available, in the event of a processing error, by maintaining revised and original copies. EDM solutions help to ensure that information is sufficiently accurate, current and reliable under a company’s specific control structure.
Easy process visualization
In addition, document workflow module available in many EDM products provides a graphical layout of processes to complete procedural routines and fully comply with ISO 9001’s policy on consistent process automation. With clear document routes and instruction, document workflow helps to enforce structure and uniform paperwork processing. Structuring a ISO 9001 compliant workflow routine with the right EDM solution can help to:
- Easily accomplish daily tasks through integrated processes
- Define the responsibilities needed to complete these tasks efficiently
- Further reduce internal cross-functional barriers
- Automatically route documents to users and locations
- Routinely notify users for future document action
- Simplify approval processes with electronic signature applicator
- Effortlessly distribute documents and export data
Customers want to know that their suppliers paying adequate attention to the quality in their products and services. ISO 9001 compliance can help to secure new business and improving the quality of processes. Adopting an ISO 9001 compliant document management system will benefit organizations large and small by saving time and costs, while improve efficiency and customer relations.
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