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With globalization and the competition that exists in international markets, the commitment of companies for quality and efficiency is essential for the conquest of their market share. In addition, any organization with an operating structure that is not focused on quality will be exposed to high costs that affect its benefits.In this sense, complying with internationalqualitystandards is essential for any company.
What are international quality standards?
According to the dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy, a standard is that “which serves as a type, model, norm, pattern or reference”.
The quality standards are criteria or rules established by organizations that help determine the conformity of a process between different nations.These rules or criteria of quality management facilitate the execution of businesses of a certain sector at a global level.
ISO quality standards
ISO is theinternational organization for standardization(ISO International Organization for Standardization). This organization based in Geneva and founded in 1947 is the largest organization of international standards in the world, is currently structured as a federation of organizations, among which we find AENOR of Spain, AFNOR of France and DIN of Germany among others. Since its foundation, it has published more than 20,000 international standards from different sectors,focusing mainly on manufacturing and commerce.
The ISO standardscover multiple systems, including:
ISO 9001: This standard is focused on quality management, in order to demonstrate that the company is capable ofmanufacturing products that meet the demands of customers.ISO 9002 is a system of standards that certifies the assurance of quality in production, installation and service.
ISO 14001: This standard of standardization is the second best known of the ISO,corresponds to the environmental management system, so its controls are focused on the protection of nature.It is also responsible for evaluating the laws that the company must follow in terms of the environment.
ISO 18001: This standard can be implemented in conjunction with ISO 9001 and seeks todetect possible occupational risk factorswithin the company, in order to safeguard the integrity of workers.
ISO 27001: This quality management certification is focused on information security, therefore, it seeks to standardize good practices that minimize or avoid the risks associated with information, improving communication processes and safeguarding data.
Benefits of the implementation of Quality Standards
The implementation of quality standards such asISO 9001brings several benefits for the company.As for customers, the implementation of quality standardsincreases their level of satisfaction. On the other hand, the market improves the image of products or services, which allows gaining market shares and in turn accessing new ones. Internally for the company, quality standards are a mechanism to maintain and boost efficiency, enter a process of continuous improvement, optimize the use of resources and promote motivation and participation of staff.
The implementation of ISO standards requires, on the part of the entire organization, a great commitment and flexibility. The top management must show its leadership with the intention that the whole company has as a common purpose the implementation of quality standards. All factors that may affect the implementation of the standard must be taken into account, not only those that are related to the internal part of the company, external factors such as the competitive environment of the company and the legal framework must be taken into consideration.
ISO standards are voluntary, and adapt to any type of company, large, medium or small.The implementation of these standards implies an international recognition for the company and allows it to speak about itself and its quality with the best companies worldwide. In the case of companies that are engaged in international trade, the effort that can mean the implementation of the standard is offset by the levels of quality that are achieved, which will allow the company to place their products in the competitive world of exports.
Other types of quality standards
Several countries have their own standardization standards, many of which are integrated into the ISO, as indicated above. This is the case of the DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung), which is based in Berlin and is the German body in charge of standardization. In the case of Spain is the Spanish Association for Standardization and Certification (AENOR), created in 1986 and which is currently among the ten most important certificates in the world. In Canada there is the CSA (Canadian Standard Association), who writes the standards for different products for several years.