How to implement an ISO standard

How to Implement an ISO Standard

So – you have decided to implement an ISO management standard. Whether you’re implementing one of the popular standards such as ISO 9001 for quality management or a more specialist one like ISO 13485 dealing with medical devices you can rest assured that the benefits you’ll get will make it all worthwhile.

Implementing an ISO based management framework

Implementing a management framework based around one of the ISO standards is a big step for any organisation, but you must now decide how best to introduce it.

There are several options, and that can be a positive or negative thing, depending on how you approach it.

Knowing you have different options is good if you realise you can choose the one that appeals most to you, and makes the most sense. However, if can also be a negative thing if you let it overwhelm you – and since any ISO standard can feel complex at first glance (as is anything new), it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed.

The three main options for standards implementation

So, let’s focus on the three main options you can consider, and remember, these will work for all ISO management standards currently available.

Option 1 – Enlist the help of existing employees

Doing everything in-house will likely take longer than choosing any other route to implementation. However, it is the cheapest route to take. You should note that ‘cheapest’ may not necessarily mean ‘cost-effective’.

Perhaps the main advantage of keeping it ‘in the family’ is that everyone will have a vested interest in making the implementation process a success. You should note, though, that there would be a greater chance of things going wrong, which would prolong the process still further if mistakes need to be put right. Worse, those mistakes could go unnoticed by all until much later.

There’s also a chance that using in-house employees who may be inexperienced in the development, implementation and optimisation of management processes could lead to an overly complex, cumbersome management system that becomes a burden, rather than a benefit to what you do.

Option 2 – Employ a trained adviser

It is worth considering whether your business could meet the cost of hiring an experienced management systems specialist like QMS to oversee the entire implementation process. This will ensure the requirements of the ISO standard are applied fully, in detail, and in the correct manner. While the cost can deter some businesses from taking this route, it will ensure a faster completion and one without error. It can also mean that formal ISO certification is achieved quickly and efficiently.

Option 3 – Mix both the above strategies to suit your needs

There is much to be said for taking a hybrid approach and mixing the best parts of options 1 and 2. It gives you control over the implementation of your chosen ISO standard, benefiting from three main areas:

  • You’re more likely to get “buy-in” if your colleagues are involved in the process
  • Existing employees can handle much of the work
  • External advisers and consultants can be called upon to assist with their extensive knowledge of the relevant standard, to ensure everyone involved is heading in the right direction

Only you will know which approach makes the most sense for your organisation. But one or other of the final two options is generally best for ensuring your chosen ISO standard is applied correctly, so you can reap the rewards.

World-class ISO standards and business management frameworks

Quality Management Systems deliver a comprehensive range of ISO based management frameworks, standards certification, auditing, training and software solutions to organisations of all sizes, structures, operating across all sectors.

If you would like to learn more about our ISO standards based systems development and implementation, and how we can help you develop world-class management frameworks please get in touch today.

Further reading…

More information about ISO standards … here →