We often have customers inquire about our ISO Certification. There are several different certifications for the aerospace, medical, automotive and petrochemical industries; to name a few. Unfortunately, not all industry certifications are created equal. ISO is probably the most prevalent quality certification of them all.
That’s why it’s important for every organization to have a good grasp of what each certification means, and that includes ISO certification. Which ones are essential for your company, either because they help ensure that you have a safe and reputable business, or simply because they are well regarded in the marketplace?
Today we’ll be looking at ISO certification, including what it is and why businesses need to be up to date.
What is ISO Certification?
ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization, and if that seems like the letters are out of order, it’s because ISO is not an acronym. The abbreviation comes from the Greek word Isos, which means equal. Because the ISO was founded to be a global standard setting body for proprietary, industrial and commercial needs, and because its name in various languages would result in different acronyms (IOS in English, OIN in French, for example) the founders decided to use ISO out of a sense of fairness.
Founded on February 23, 1947, the organization is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and currently works in at least 164 countries. It serves as an independent, non-governmental organization to develop voluntary international standards that are intended to facilitate world trade and commercial exchange. To date, over twenty thousand standards have been established. These cover everything from manufactured goods, technology, and devices to food safety, agriculture and healthcare.
The aim is for the standards to help ensure products and services that are safe, reliable and of good quality; as well as allowing for businesses to operate more seamlessly across borders. Many of the standards increase productivity while decreasing errors and waste. The standards can also protect consumers and end-users by making sure that certified products adhere to the minimum international standards.
Because there are so many standards it can be hard to keep track of which ones might apply to a particular business or industry. Businesses working with stainless steel and aluminum might come from any number of sectors, so there may be a variety of standards that impact their operations daily.
Let’s look at what standards might play a role in your business.
The most common ISO certification
One of the most popular ISO standards is ISO 9001. It was formulated to act as a quality management guide, with a central focus on the customer. 9001 covers the creation of a quality management system, including information, planning and process interaction. It also examines how to manage human resources and the work environment, as well as product realization. It is one of the key certifications that any business should have to demonstrate its quality and performance integrity.
Clinton Aluminum is proud to be ISO 9001 certified.
ISO for Machining and Fabrication Shops
CNC machining centers use rotating cutting tools to transform a workpiece. The goal is to consistently machine parts to a precise size and shape. Having international standards helps to facilitate industry and trade while ensuring safety.
Quality control is essential, so both consumers and manufacturers look to ISO standards to help ensure system integrity. Following these protocols not only allows for peace of mind among procurement departments, it also avoids costly product returns and replacements because a shipment was out of specification.
One role that ISO plays in machining is publishing standards for the different sizes and gauges of cutting tools. For instance, ISO 237 deals with diameters of shanks and the sizes of driving squares for rotating tools with parallel shanks. ISO 513 concerns the classification and application of hard cutting materials for metal removal with defined cutting edges. Another example involves ISO 883, which standardizes the dimensions of indexable carbide inserts with rounded corners.
These examples demonstrate how specific ISO certification can be. Obviously, manufacturers use other methods for processing aluminum and stainless steel; each has an ISO standard to ensure quality.
ISO for Distributors and OEMs
Distribution channels may only involve a simple “pass through” step or several processes, conversion or fabrication at each stage. Having reliable standards to ensure quality control is essential, and ISO plays a prominent role in aiding distributors around the world. A key certification for distributors is 9001, mentioned above.
Streamlining business increases profitability, but it can also enhance relationships with customers and partners. Savvy distributors will look to eliminate any non-essential steps from their internal and external processes, helping to improve performance and revenue.
In addition to 9001, there are other important standards for specific industries that reputable distributors need to adhere to. For instance, a distributor of medical devices should be certified with ISO 13485, which concerns standards for quality management systems of medical devices.
Likewise, OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) will need to be certified in their industries. As a specific example, telecommunications manufacturers will want to strongly consider having ISO 27001 certification, an international standard for the best information security management practices. It helps companies implement a suitable set of controls, such as policies, processes and organizational structures, to ensure security.
Clinton is fully versed in ISO certifications. In addition to being ISO 9001 certified, we also work with our clients to ensure they are knowledgeable regarding international standards and are following all current best practices. Contact us today to learn more.