What are management system standards?
Management system standards aren’t ‘just another tool.’ When an organization is certified to one of these standards it’s an important way to demonstrate that they’re able to perform the tasks required to fulfill the objectives or needs of their clients and/or drive meaningful improvements in a specific area.
Let’s use ISO 9001 as an example. It’s a QMS (quality management system) that, when put in place, shows that the certified company can reach customers’ requirements. It is a form of management system including:
- A certain setup of the processes involved in delivering products or services
- A set of procedures and training programs
- A way of ensuring the equipment runs as expected and the gauges can be trusted
- Some type of system for managing long-lasting improvements
- Internal audits and management reviews to keep the whole system running
When a supplier is certified for any standard this allows a buyer to feel confident in working with them if this standard is important to their business, therefore it’s one factor to consider as part of the supplier vetting process.
Learning about standards
In this episode, we discuss everything importers are likely to need to know about management system standards. We’ll cover some of the key standards you may or may not have heard of, their benefits (for both manufacturers and buyers), the difference between a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ implementation, learning and training in certain standards, how auditing them works, and more.
Importantly, I’ll also be giving some tips on how you can save a lot of time, paperwork, and money when implementing standards, as there are many pitfalls that organizations fall into that can see them paying too much for work that doesn’t really need to happen if you’re smart.
Listen to the episode right here 👇👇👇
Here’s a summary of what’s in the episode:
- What management system standards are and their role in the process of vetting new suppliers or auditing your own manufacturing operations.
- Standards in China – are suppliers officially certified, by whom, where to check, and fake certificate warnings.
- Some examples of key standards, like ISO 9001, 14001, those for medical devices, the auto industry, and more.
- The Chinese government’s environmental regulations and enforcement and how this can influence companies to become certified for environmental management systems.
- How and why to become certified for more than one standard.
- The differences between good and bad implementations – explaining how you can save time and money with a ‘good’ implementation.
- Why and how certifying bodies and auditors often push in the wrong direction in order to make more profit.
- The certification process variations per certifying body.
- How to learn and train for certifications without being ripped off.
- The auditing process for management systems and the difference between 1st (internal audit by supplier’s own staff), 2nd (customer sends an employee or uses an external agency like Sofeast to go an audit the supplier), and 3rd party audits (auditor from a certifying body goes in to perform the audit sticking strictly to the standard’s clauses), and their respective pros & cons.
All of the following blog posts are relevant to the topics we discussed in this episode:
- What Factory CERTIFICATIONS Mean in China
- Basics about ISO 9001: The Standard and the Certification Process
- Food safety standards: ISO 22001, HACCP, GMP
- Writing a procedure that is consistent with ISO 9000 standards
- Quality system: a checklist for factory auditors
Have you benefited by becoming certified to certain standards? How so?
As a buyer, do you demand that suppliers hold certain certifications?
Let me know your thoughts, please.
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