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What is ISO certification?
19 March 2021 

What is ISO certification?

Companies are increasingly being asked to submit an ISO certificate. To obtain ISO certification, a company must meet the requirements of the relevant ISO standards. This often concerns standards such as ISO 9001 for quality management, but also standards such as ISO 14001 for environmental management, ISO 45001, VCA for health and safety management and ISO 27001 for information security. But what precisely is the meaning of ISO certification? And how to get an ISO certification?

ISO certification

With ISO certification, you demonstrate that you meet the requirements of the relevant ISO standards. These standards consist of requirements that your organisation must meet. In doing so, you address issues on a regular basis, you describe how you work and you continue to work that way. In addition, each standard aims at continuous improvement: learning from what is not going well, for example through received complaints. In order to meet these standards, you have to set up the necessary procedures in your organisation. This is called a management system.

Rules of the game for ISO standards

Most certifications involve requirements relating to your organisation, not directly to your products. For example, requirements are made about which processes you must set up. Rules are included about which processes should comply with as a minimum. Standards are written in fairly general terms. The trick is to apply them properly to your own organisation.

The external audit and the auditor

Certification is issued by a so-called certifying body. After you have set up and implemented your management system, you invite the certifying body to assess you on the ISO standard in question. A so called  ISO audit. But what is a ISO audit? The external auditor of the certifying body will visit your organisation to assess whether you comply with all the requirements of the standard. If this external audit is successful, you will receive the ISO certification. The auditor will then come and assess annually whether you continue to meet the requirements of the ISO standard.

Would you like to know more about the advantages of an ISO certificate? Read our blog about why you should obtain an ISO certificate.

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