How to go about ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 certifications

Client satisfaction should always be top of mind. As should the desire to consistently be improving the quality of work your team provides. ISO certifications are one such way to commit to these goals. ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 are two reputable standards that guide organizations in the design of a process based Quality Management System (QMS). While both these certifications help ensure quality, they have key differences that are worth understanding. Below, you’ll find a video that illustrates the differences between these two standards.

Know the Standards

For those looking to pursue one of these certification processes, it is important to have a clear understanding of the concept of “quality”. A QMS needs to be designed as a system of continuous improvement. Designing this system requires a meticulous study of the processes that a company follows, so that you can then evaluate the best strategy for applying the requirements of the standard. ISO 9001 and ISO 17100 are two different types of certification that serve different needs. 

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In short, ISO 9001 is a type of certification that is not geared towards a specific industry. ISO 9001 generally regulates a company’s QMS, which includes a company’s regulation of responsibilities, processes, and workflows. The goal of this certification is to enhance customer satisfaction via the effective application of a set system. Unlike ISO 9001, which any industry can utilize, ISO 17100 is a certification designed for use in the translation industry. ISO 17100 establishes the requirements for language service providers and regulates the process that a team must follow during a translation project from beginning to end. The combination of these two standards leads to a quality-oriented translation service.

Find a Good Auditor

When pursuing ISO standards, it is important to find a good auditor to work with, either internally or externally. If you choose to work with an internal auditor for the internal audits, they will need to have first-hand experience of the organizational culture and its processes, as well as be flexible to recognize the application of the standard in the organization. 

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If you hire an external auditor, you will need to take into account the knowledge of the auditor of the country of operation of your company. One option worth considering, is working with a consulting firm. You should aim to work with a firm who has experience in certifying ISO standards. Ideally you will work with someone who is flexible and can help you create the QMS according to the standard, while keeping the organizational culture in mind. Looking for a firm that has certified other language service providers in your area is a good place to start. 

Whatever path you choose to take, preparing an audit plan with details of every aspect that will be audited is a smart move to make. Having a good communication plan internally to report how the QMS is advancing prior to the audit, as well as inform about results post-certification audit will also be helpful. 

The Impact 

Adopting an ISO certification can make a huge impact internally as it enables you to organize all processes and make proper documentations. Doing so can also affect your team’s mindset when it comes to quality and processes. Clients will benefit from certification as well as it shows your commitment to continuous improvement. These certifications can also serve as a selling point when engaging with potential clients. 

Adopt the Right Mindset

At the end of the day, pursuing any type of ISO certification is a team effort. Having a detailed communication plan to train your organization in the general knowledge of the standard you are pursuing, the quality management policy, and the impact of the QMS in the daily dynamic of the organization can help your entire team adopt the right mindset and put you on the path towards certification.