There are some industries that require a machine shop vendor to be ISO certified. Even if yours is not one that has this requirement, it is a great idea to make sure that your CNC machine shop has the ISO 9001 certification for quality and efficiency.
IATF 16949 is the International Standard for Automotive Quality Management Systems by The International Automotive Task Force (IATF) members to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for approval and publication.
Having an ISO 9001 certification is important for several reasons, but primarily for improving your business.
What do you want from the certification?
To prepare for the certification, a foundation needs to be created in which your objectives are planned out and articulated.
An ISO 9001 has a wide range of benefits from streamlining your operation to assisting in your marketing efforts. Knowing which area needs the most work in your machine shop will help you during the certification process.
The certification doesn’t necessarily need to be applied to every aspect of your organization. By setting out clear goals, you can apply the process to the specific departments that will allow those goals to become tangible.
The certification process can be rolled out over time which allows you the ability to focus first on the areas that need it the most. Since it is a good idea to apply the ISO 9001 across your entire organization, this approach allows you to do so methodically and see the benefits much earlier.
Outsource or in-house?
There are two different approaches to the preparation for the certification process. First, there is the possibility of using a tool kit to do it from within your organization. Second, you can outsource to a consultant that specializes in the certification.
Each has its pros and cons such as budget and staff availability. It will cost more to use a consultant but you don’t have to pull somebody away from their main job to work on the preparation.
The best of both worlds is to do a hybrid approach and use consultants during certain phases of the preparation to get started and then use your ISO experience to implement the strategy in house.
Keep in mind that you do not need to have a consultant or auditor at any point in the process. It is entirely up to each organization to handle the preparation in the way that fits their needs best.
There are three phases to the training for the ISO 9001 certification. The first is understanding the requirements. Then to understand the standards required when applying the requirements. Lastly, the actual implementation of the requirements in a step-by-step process.
Shops that already have some background in ISO may want to work alongside a consultant to gain from their expertise to cover the areas that may be lacking. Small shops that don’t have any experience with ISO will do well to take a training course offered by training schools.
And, large shops will likely want customized training for their specific needs.