What is ISO 9001?

Bramwell Partners: Your Quality Management System Consultants

For 26 years I have been working in Quality Management Systems. My introduction to quality began when, whilst pregnant with Connor, my father asked me to go to a “QA” meeting for his transport company. Dad wasn’t overly interested in QA but had been told that he needed to get certified to be able to continue to provide services to the government. Dad thought the certification would just happen following the meeting. He was not happy when he realised that it would take time and effort to become QA certified. However, as I technically had nothing better to do (being on maternity leave awaiting Connors arrival), he asked me to work on it for the company.

This really was a key milestone in my life. Firstly, because of the introduction to the International Standard Organisation 9001 Quality Management System Guidelines; and Secondly because throughout the development of the system I became immersed in my family company, some years later becoming General Manager.

Today, I am passionate about ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems and the difference developing business practices to satisfy the standard can make to a business’ operations.

Over the years I have worked with so many businesses that have taken the guidelines and used them as a road map to improving business performance.

I get that not everyone is as passionate about Quality Management System as I am and thought that I would provide some clarity around ISO 9001.


  • What is ISO 9001?
  • Benefits of ISO 9001 certification for your business
  • How do you get ISO 9001 certified?

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is the International Standards Organisation 9001:2015 Quality Management System Guidelines. 9001 is the number of the International Standard. 2015 is the version of the International Standard.

Essentially ISO 9001 is the Internationally recognised standard for evaluating the businesses ability to deliver a consistent quality of product or service to the market. The standard is designed to be a business improvement tool that can be applied to any organisation.

ISO 9001 certification (the standard) is recognised globally by the business community as the key identifier that a business has processes in place for providing a consistently high quality of goods and services. These processes are subject to continual review and improvement. The standard can positively help your business to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction and increase the effectiveness of business operations.

If you are wondering what is ISO 9001 ? find here a list of criteria that have been developed by a group of experts from around the world. The criteria states the requirements a business must be able to demonstrate to indicate systems and processes are in place that will ensure:

  1. A consistent standard of products and services are provided to meet customer expectation.
  2. Products and/or services are provided that meet legislative and regulatory obligations.
  3. If something goes wrong, you have a system of continual improvement whereby you don’t just fix problems and move on, you identify the root cause of the situation and take action to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The ISO 9001 certification standard provides guidelines for businesses to develop and implement processes that are focused on:

  • Continually improving, streamlining operations and reduce costs
  • Win more business and compete in tenders
  • Satisfy more customers
  • Be more resilient and build sustainable businesses
  • Show the business has strong corporate governance
  • Work effectively with stakeholders and your supply chain

Benefits of ISO 9001 certification for your business

Evidence has shown that small businesses who adopt the requirements for ISO 9001 certification build a system that facilitates business development and growth maximizing the value of their business.


  • Allows the business to become a more consistent competitor in the marketplace
  • Better quality management helps the business to identify and meet customer needs
  • More efficient ways of working will save time, money and resources
  • Improved operational performance will cut errors and increase profits
  • Motive and engage staff with more efficient internal processes
  • Win more high value customer through improved customer service
  • Broaden business opportunities by demonstrating compliance

The # 1 reason most businesses pursue certification is to win more business and compete in tenders. ISO 9001 certification will open the business to more opportunities by making the business more ‘tender compliant’. A businesses compliance with tender requirements will depend on their ability to demonstrate the existence of a Quality Management System.

As a rule, tenders are evaluated or assessed using a weighting system. Something like:

  • Fully Certified ISO 9001 Quality Management System – Full Points

In this case a copy of the certificate is requested

  • Quality Management System implemented but uncertified – Half Points

In this case evidence of the existence of a quality management system may be requested. Eg quality policy, internal audit schedule, risk register

  • No Quality Management System – No Points

Sorry – your tender is unlikely to proceed much further

Based on this, if you are submitting a Tender Response without full ISO 9001 QMS Certification, and your competitors are certified then it may be the difference between winning and losing the tender.

How do you get ISO 9001 Certified?

In many cases your existing procedures will be enough to achieve certification. The procedures and processes themselves are important. However, the certification process focuses on reviewing the evidence that the procedures and processes are in place and they are being used. Often there may be some additional procedures required that speak more to the function and operation of the management system.

Once that has been completed you can engage an accredited Certification Body to conduct your certification audit. Bramwell Partners work with a number of Certification Body’s and recommend a Certifier that would suit your business.

I recommend that a Gap Analysis is performed before engaging a Certifier. In my experience performing a Gap Analysis can fast track the certification process and reduce the costs associated. If a Gap Analysis is not performed the Certifier will require a Pre-Certification Audit to be performed. This can increase both the costs associated with certification and also the time involved.

Generally, a Gap Analysis will take half a day to complete however it ultimately depends on the size of the business (small businesses will take less time; bigger business will take more)

If you are looking for assistance getting an idea of where to begin with quality compliance and remaining competitive in tenders, then call Bramwell Partners today on 3630 5695 and talk to a quality management system consultant to help you with your business requirements.