ISO 9001: what is it and what does it really mean?

You probably recognise some of these questions: what does it mean if I have implemented ISO 9001:2015? Why do I need ISO certification? What are the concrete improvements you can expect from an ISO implementation?


There is still much uncertainty about the ISO standard and what its added value really is. Based on the findings of the study by Levine & Toffel (Levine & Toffel, 2010), this article will shed some light on the benefits. Despite the fact that the study is from 2010, it is still relevant for today’s business world.

Increasingly, companies, partners and customers are demanding that you are ISO certified before they will do business with you. Don’t have one? Then companies cannot assume that the requirements of your quality management system correspond to their criteria. Everyone has their own idea of quality, but organisations with an ISO 9001 certificate have the same agreements about what quality should be. Companies can be confident that these organisations have their quality system in order and can demonstrate this using the ISO standard: the improvements and processes are registered so that this can be monitored.


Furthermore, the study by Levine & Toffel comes to a number of interesting conclusions. In this study, almost one thousand ISO certified companies were compared to non-certified companies. This shows that ISO 9001 certified organisations have a much higher survival rate than equivalent non-certified organisations. The surviving ISO certified organisations have the advantage of: higher sales growth, higher wages and higher annual turnover. The conclusion of this article is that implementing ISO 9001 is absolutely valuable for your organisation!

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