What is ISO 9001 Compliance?

What is a ISO 9001 Compliance

ISO 9001 Compliance Definition

ISO 9001 refers to the requirements that companies must fulfill to meet the set standards in relation to creating a new service or product. It defines the criteria for a quality management system (QMS). A third-party certification is required by an independent confirmation that the company meets all requirements of ISO 9001. A company seeking ISO 9001 quality management standards needs to meet efficiency and security standards with its document-handling procedures.


ISO 9001 is used by organizations of all sizes across a wide range of industries including medical device, aerospace and defense, electric vehicle, and high-tech. By adopting the ISO 9001 standard as part of their QMS, organizations can add more structure to their processes, boost operational efficiency, and demonstrate continuous improvement.


ISO 9001 incorporates principles of the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle and provides a process-oriented approach for establishing an effective quality management system (QMS). The current ISO 9001 revision places greater emphasis on risk management and involvement of an organization’s leadership team.

Key areas covered in the ISO 9001 standard include:


ISO 9001 is the only standard in the ISO 9000 series that companies can apply for certification. The certification process lasts an average of six months; however, the duration really depends on the size and complexity of the business.

The path to a successful certification and achieving ISO 9001 compliance hinges on the following steps:

1. Preparation

The first key step in the certification process is setting clear business goals and objectives. What do you want to accomplish (e.g., operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, improved quality)? This will help you define the scope of the certification and determine how it should be applied across the organization.

Also identify the person(s) responsible for overseeing and maintaining the certification. This could include a quality assurance manager or an executive.

Once you’ve established goals and objectives and identified key stakeholders, it’s important to conduct companywide trainings to ensure employees clearly understand the ISO requirements and how they impact the day-to-day operation.

Lastly, perform a gap assessment to gauge where your company is at in meeting the ISO 9001 requirements. Based on the analysis, you can identify deficiencies and prioritize areas that need the greatest attention.

2. QMS Implementation

A QMS serves as the roadmap to help your organization carry out processes in a systematic manner and achieve ISO 9001 compliance.

Develop documentation to support your QMS and reflect what your business does. As part of the QMS, a robust document management system should be in place to ensure proper revision control.

Required QMS documentation includes:
• Quality policy
• Quality objectives
• Scope of the QMS
• Procedures
• Work instructions
• Forms
• Process maps/flowcharts
• Training records

Today many companies are moving away from traditional paper-based systems and embracing an enterprise quality management system (eQMS) solution to simplify ISO compliance and gain greater control and traceability over product and quality records.

3. Internal Audit

To verify the effectiveness of your QMS, perform an internal audit. The role of an auditor is to thoroughly review specific processes or issues. Auditors can be trained company employees or an external consultant.

Results of the internal audit should be presented during a management review to ensure that the proper corrective actions are put in place.

4. Certification Audit

Certification audits are conducted by accredited third-party organizations. The assessment is typically divided into two phases. A stage 1 audit is conducted remotely and involves the review of QMS documentation. The stage 2 audit is conducted on-site and entails the review of work processes.

Most audits will uncover minor issues that can be corrected prior to receiving the certification. If severe nonconformities are detected, a follow-up audit will be conducted to determine if the company can be certified.

Upon passing an audit, the ISO 9001 registrar will issue a certificate, which will remain valid for up to three years.


What are the primary requirements of ISO 9001?

The primary requirements of ISO 9001 are:

1. Context of the Organization

Organizations must establish their purpose and strategic direction in terms of quality. This involves determining the factors that affect the quality of services, identifying key stakeholders, and understanding customer needs.

2. Leadership

Leadership must take responsibility for creating a quality management system, establishing quality policies and objectives, communicating policies and objectives to employees, and managing annual reviews.

3. Planning

Organizations must document potential risks, plan to prevent or reduce undesired effects, and integrate plans to enhance desired effects.

4. Support

Organizations must provide resources for robust infrastructure, efficient working environments, and effective HR management.

5. Operation

Organizations must implement processes that fulfill quality objectives, help employees develop products successfully, allow for the monitoring and inspection of company needs, and establish rules for the creation and storage of records.

6. Performance Evaluation

Organizations must measure, analyze, and record processes to demonstrate compliance with ISO 9001.

7. Improvement

Measures should be put in place to identify nonconformities, improve product quality, and enhance customer satisfaction.

*Source: https://www.qmsuk.com/iso-standards/iso-9001/iso-9001-requirements

What is the current ISO 9001 standard?

The current ISO 9001 standard is ISO 9001:2015.

*Source: https://the9000store.com/what-are-iso-9000-standards/what-is-iso-9001/

Why is ISO 9001 important?

ISO 9001 is important because it helps organizations establish an effective quality management system (QMS), which in turn enables them to:

  • Increase revenue
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Increase operational efficiency
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Establish a culture of continuous improvement
  • Improve supplier relationships

*Source: https://www.skillcast.com/blog/why-iso-9001-is-important


  • The ISO 9001 certification process involves planning, implementing a QMS, conducting an internal audit, and completing the final certification audit.
  • To streamline ISO compliance, companies are making the switch from manual, paper-based systems to cloud-based eQMS solutions.
  • ISO 9001 compliance enables organizations to establish an effective QMS which leads to increased revenue, improved customer satisfaction, and greater operational efficiency.

ISO 9001

Arena QMS simplifies compliance by connecting teams to work together and introduce new products on time and under budget.