What is an 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 standard. This often concerns standards such as ISO 9001 for quality management, but sometimes also standards such as ISO 14001 for environmental management, ISO 45001 and VCA for health and safety management and ISO 27001 for information security. But what precisely is certification? And how do you get started with it?

The ISO certification

With certification, you demonstrate that you meet the requirements of the relevant 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 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 standard in question. The auditor of the certifying body will visit your organisation to assess whether you comply with all the requirements of the standard. If this audit is successful, you will receive the ISO Certificate. The auditor will then come and assess annually whether you continue to meet the requirements of the standard.

Practical e book

Want to know more about ISO standards? Download our practical ISO e book and find out what ISO is, what the benefits are, how you can get ISO certified and much more. Click here to download the free e book.