Where to start ISO 9001 implementation?

Starting something new generally raises many questions that need to be answered. One of the first is: Where do I start ISO 9001 implementation?

There is no single answer for all organizations, the answer to this question is organization-specific, but a good place to start is with a Gap Analysis. The gap analysis is designed to have you review the processes you currently have in place, compare them against the ISO 9001 standard requirements, and see what gaps exist that need to be filled. Once you know this you can define the scope of the ISO 9001 implementation:

  1. What are the quick wins or low hanging fruit? These are the processes that are already very close to meeting all requirements. A slight modification to these will gain quick results.
  2. What processes are new or will require significant changes. It is good to start on these early to ensure you have enough time for implementing and training against the new process.
  3. What are your pain points? If there is a recurring problem that can be addressed while you are already updating a process this improvement can be seen now.
  4. What will be your budget – this will bring discipline and focus regarding the processes that you plan to implement (e.g., if you have a limited budget, as most people have, the focus will be more on important process updates rather than the minor improvements that could be made.
  5. What will be your timeframe – timeframe is usually limited, so you focus on what is important rather than on what would be nice to have.

By having the scope defined, you can relax. The first and very important step is made. Now the preparation phase can begin.

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