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ISO 9001 & ISO 14001 - One Year Down The Line

06 September 2016
We’re one year into a three year transition period for ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 and it’s quite surprising how few companies have made the move to the new versions of the Standards. 

NQA has produced a lot of information about the new versions of these two standards and have been actively promoting the transition. NQA has also created documents to help a company look at their systems against the old versions of the standards to assist in the identification of changes required. Completing this form will then detail the actions a company has taken to address the changes.

This will be used at the transition audit by your NQA Assessor. So there’s a lot of guidance and help out there. Consultancy firms like JWS Solutions are also here to help with the whole process from where a company is now through to Assessment support to help ensure a positive outcome.

JWS Solutions experience of the transition so far

JWS Solutions jumped in quite early with an ISO 9001 transition with a multi-site distributor, Routeco Ltd, who are a very forward thinking company. I felt they were an ideal company to work with as a first ISO 9001:2015 transition and they were eager to make the transition.

The transition visit followed after a couple of months of working with the client to meet the new/changed requirements and helping them understand the implications of the new standard. The transition visit took place in early February 2016 and saw a successful conclusion to the process with a new ISO 9001:2015 certificate being issued. JWS Solutions believes this was amongst the first of NQA’s clients to transfer to ISO 9001:2015. The client was understandably delighted.

Since that transition JWS Solutions have worked with a further five clients that have gone through to registration. In addition two clients have  rewritten their systems and we’re awaiting assessor visits, two more are work in progress and one is about to start. A couple of these projects have been ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 integrated systems. JWS Solutions are encouraging companies to transfer as the process is not as bad as some people fear. So let’s look at the basics.

Much has been written and published about the new versions of these two Standards so there is no need to go into detail but they are both much improved in a number of areas. As you are probably aware, the new standards follow Annex SL. Annex SL is the standard that defines the new high level structure for all ISO management systems standards.

This represents a big improvement for companies with integrated management systems, as it makes integration a much easier process with the clause requirements between the two standards aligning to each other. It’s just a case of getting used to the new layout.

There are benefits for everyone. ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 are even better business standards. To help explain this it’s worth taking a look at the first two requirements (4.1 and 4.2). These require a company to consider, its context, internal and external issues and their interested parties. With ISO 9001:2015 this needs to directly link to the company’s strategic direction.

This is not a new concept to companies with registration but its how all this fits in with a Quality Management System (QMS), Environmental Management System (EMS) or Integrated Management System (IMS). It means that a company’s management systems are even more a part of how the organization runs. A criticism in the past has been that sometimes a QMS or EMS can feel like an add-on to a company’s systems; the new versions bring these systems more into the centre of the way a business operates.

The assessment process has been a great experience

The approach I’ve seen from NQA Assessors is brilliant. You couldn’t ask for a group of more helpful Assessors. Everyone involved in the process, be it the company with registration, the Assessor or the Consultant are all looking for the same conclusion; positive improvements and registration to ISO 9001:2015 and/or ISO 14001:2015.  

So why have so few companies made the transition in the first year of the process? The process is very well supported by NQA and its Assessors, the changes are positive improvements to a QMS, EMS or IMS and the transition assessments have been carried out in a very professional way as to help companies make the transition. Add to that the fact that there are consultants out there ready to help you with the process.  

So what are you waiting for?

This article has been authored by Philip Swain at JWS Solutions Ltd for use on the NQA Certification Ltd website. JWS Solutions Ltd is listed as a trusted and valued consultancy organization on NQA’s Associate Consultant Register. To find out more please click here.