How do you prepare your organisation for the ISO 9001 certification?

You want to or you have to obtain ISO 9001 certification, but where do you start? In this step-by-step plan, we explain how an organisation prepares for ISO 9001 certification.

Certification in 6 steps:

Step 1


First of all, you make an inventory of what is already present within the company that meets the aspects of the standard. Map out your organisation’s processes. Once this has been charted, you can easily make a plan to implement ISO 9001. Are you going to implement it yourself, do you want to follow training courses or do you want to call in an expert? The external party can be deployed in a coaching role or take the entire process off your hands. This depends on what the needs and wishes are within the organisation.

Step 2

Documentation set-up

Gather as much information as possible within the company by talking to different disciplines. With this information, you can shape the context analysis and determine the risks and opportunities. Talk to the management and formulate the objectives that the entire company will be working on in the coming year together. In addition, you assess the critical suppliers, analyse the needs and expectations of the stakeholders and map out the legislation and regulations.

Step 3

Implement the management system

The requirements of the standard have been translated into the necessary documents. The next step is implementation. Based on the working agreements, the people responsible get to work to execute the processes according to the requirements of the standard.

Step 4

Internal audit

An internal audit is a mandatory part of the standard and tests the management system for conformity. An internal audit consists of all parts of the standard and a part of the processes. It is important that objectivity is guaranteed during an internal audit. You can do this by having the internal audit performed by an external consultant or by training someone internally to perform it.

Step 5

Management review

The management review is a mandatory part of the standard. This will include the opinion of the management about the effectiveness of the management system. They cast a critical eye over the progress of the objectives and the actions resulting from them. Complaints and the results of customer satisfaction surveys are evaluated.

Step 6

Audit supervision

You have worked hard to establish a management system that actually contributes to delivering quality. The management system is tested by an external auditor from a certified body. Want to know what requirements you have to meet? We will reveal that in the next paragraph.

What requirements are set by the ISO 9001 audit?

In order to obtain the ISO 9001 certificate, a number of requirements must be met. The interpretation of these requirements is recorded in the quality manual, but a manual is not an obligation from the standard. However, it is a pleasant tool to map out the interpretation of the standard in a clear fashion. In order to implement ISO 9001 smoothly in the organisation, it is important to tailor the interpretation to the organisation. In addition, the company must actually start working with the management system. The data must therefore be filled in, so that the proof is demonstrable. The auditor wants to see that there is continuous improvement.

An important requirement is that the management must be present while the context of the organisation is being discussed. A representative on behalf of the management is not allowed. Does your company consist of several locations? All of these must be visited by the auditor. An audit can therefore take several days. The management does not have to be present at all site visits.

Checklist ISO 9001

We created a practical checklist for ISO 9001 so you know exactly what requirements you have to meet according to the standard. Download the checklist here and start ticking off!

What are the biggest advantages of obtaining an ISO 9001 certificate?

With an ISO 9001 certificate, you show the outside world that you are reliable, work transparently and that throughout the organisation quality is implemented. The structure of the ISO 9001 management system helps the organisation to grow and processes to run smoothly.

An ISO certificate is recognised worldwide and is increasingly being demanded. With a certificate, you show that processes run efficiently and that, as a company, you anticipate the needs and wishes of the stakeholders. An ISO 9001 certificate can bring you more customers because the quality is demonstrably guaranteed.

In addition, certification ensures that the entire organisation is examined internally with a view to optimising processes. An ISO 9001 certificate is not only intended to optimise quality, but also provides a good opportunity to look at the organisation from a different perspective.