3. Why ISO 9001?
“ISO 9001 takes our QMS further and makes it even stronger. Our ISO 9001-certified QMS helps us to hold our heads high, stand out in a tough market and punch way above our weight!”
Dr Ann Brighty, Managing Director, Vector Laboratories Ltd
Ann Brighty says: “With our QMS in place and working well, we decided to apply for ISO 9001 certification for several reasons. When we first looked at the standard, it seemed relevant to us. Also, ISO 9001 is considered a gold standard, it gives us greater kudos and confidence, it helps us to be taken more seriously and it meets clients’ expectations and requirements.
“We’re a small, privately owned company surrounded by bigger players. Faced with this, our robust, finely honed QMS helps us to be super-efficient, lean and mean.
ISO 9001 assessment and certification
“We chose LRQA as our certification body as they were recommended to us by an industry collaborator,” says Ann Brighty. “I knew LRQA was a highly reputable, professional company and was happy to follow this recommendation.
“LRQA’s Small Business Scheme and general assessment methods seemed a good fit. I particularly like LRQA’s focused suggestions and input, its broad, company-wide approach to business improvement and the way it helps me to manage key risks.
“LRQA has proved to be professional and very good all round. Parvinder Kaur, our assessor for many years, is personable, thorough and has suggested areas for improvement.”
Adopted by Vector Laboratories, Parvinder Kaur’s suggestions have included:
- introducing a product recall procedure and practising product recalls
- regularly backing up records and copying these to an external location
- formalising a simple business continuity plan
- monitoring late deliveries (where they actually affect the customer)
- reducing paperwork and ending the unnecessary production of hard copies
- testing processes that have not been used for a while, or ever
- setting deadlines for meetings action points
Ann Brighty continues: “We thought preparing our QMS for assessment would involve a lot of box filling – that it might be a bit of an ordeal, like an exam. However, this wasn’t the case, partly because we were already in good shape. From the start we’ve constantly improved our QMS and have always aimed for excellence, not just the ‘satisfactory’ or, later on, compliance.”