ISO 9001 is a global standard certification that determines the requirements necessary for ensuring a quality management system. QMS or quality management system is crucial for any organization and the ISO 9001 acts as the standard benchmark. It defines the ability of the organization or business to deliver high-quality products consistently. But what does high-quality imply? It means the products can successfully meet the regulatory requirements and customer expectations. The standard ISO 9001 of the 9000 series is a globally-accepted certification that assures the credibility of the organization in terms of operational delivery.
The impact of Covid-19 across the globe
The impact of the coronavirus outbreak all-over the world has affected all organizations and companies. Most organizations have no other option but to send their employees on a remote working model. The concept of working from home, which was only relatable and relevant in the IT industry, became a norm for all industries. Safety and health of the employees are always the foremost priority for any organization, as they are the ones who make the company work on a daily basis by assisting operations. But it can be troublesome for the organization to ensure compliance with the global QMS standard of ISO 9001 unless you know the correct approach.
Remote working – The current solution
Working from home is the only feasible solution at this moment to keep things under control. Thus, companies and organizations must look for different ways to cope with the current situation without ignoring the QMS needs. Providing the best infrastructure for working in remote mode, communication mediums, and many more have become more essential than ever in the current times.
Staying ISO compliant during the pandemic
The three steps to ensure ISO compliance amidst the pandemic and remote working modes are – planning, implementation and assessment. The planning and implementation also revolve around the third step, which is assessment. How to assess and what to assess are the crucial aspects to consider.
For instance, if yours is a startup that manages different processes with the help of a manufacturer, you have to rethink a few aspects. You must consider opening more communication channels as you cannot ensure optimal visibility of the production line of your partner. Hence, connecting and communicating via distinct mediums is a must to ensure compliance with the QMS standard.
There are other ways as well that works aptly with the different organizations to comply with the ISO 9001 QMS standard, depending on the operational domain.
Clauses for the remote workers – Relevant for ISO 9001
If you are clueless about the ways to manage the requirements for complying with ISO 9001 amidst the remote working model, the following clauses can help you. The three clauses of ISO 9001 for remote workers are relevant at this moment and systematically describe the correct approach that you can follow.
Infrastructure: The first thing to consider for remote workers, in this case, has to be infrastructure. It concerns the physical aspects like buildings, equipment for working, information technological support for functioning and much more that influence the operation. Hence, the first thing to think about is the risks and concerns with IT and cyber security. You can implement the ISO standard of 27001 that investigates the needs of ISMS or an information security management system. You can read up on the elaborate steps and techniques that help in combining ISO 9001 and 27001 to ensure better risk management, as a part of QMS compliance.
Working ambience: Apart from infrastructure, the next thing to focus on is the working environment in the home of the employee. As per the regulations and standard norms in ISO 9001, the appropriate environment for working should include a combination of human and physical factors. It also includes the psychological and social aspects of working. However, it is almost impossible to look over the different physical factors in the case of remote work. The physical factors may include – hygiene, airflow, temperature, etc. So, you cannot control these aspects. But you can advise the employees to stay connected to their colleagues even while working remotely to ensure the social connection.
Inter-communication: Besides infrastructure and working ambience, communication is the third aspect and clause that helps in complying with the ISO norm for quality management. Education and communication are crucial for the remote working force to ensure compliance with ISO. But, education in this aspect is distinct from the conventional definition. Here, you have to educate your employees to learn the implementing software application that will be essential for adapting to the new infrastructure of remote operations. Creating new communication channels to clarify the progress of daily tasks is essential. Routine alignment calls to eliminate the uncertainties related to the work progress. Also, daily communication allows you to keep a note of workflow conveniently. Introduce communication mediums and protocols to take care of the following –
- Worker to worker communication
- Manager to worker communication
- Senior management to company communication
- Communication with customers and suppliers
Steps you can take – Other than focusing on the said clauses to comply with the ISO 9001 norms, you should also take a few steps to review the existing operations. Incorporate steps to access the internal and external processes. It works in a dual way in helping you review productivity and QMS compliance. Utilize the electronic QMS system to mitigate the potential risks. Apart from these, accelerating the workflow by looking for scopes to optimize is also vital on your part. You can eliminate the worries by incorporating steps that will help you stay audit-ready. On-site audits are not possible, for which managing the remote audits with the essential resources is the need of the hour.
Remote audits with expert guidance
It is not easy for organizations to keep the resources ready to conduct a remote audit through online mediums. For this, you need expert guidance and assistance. With IRQS, get every resource and information you need to ensure the adherence to the ISO 9001 for your workers operating on a remote site or from their homes. Connect to IRQS, the one-stop solution for bringing the resources and guidance for helping you combat the pandemic challenges without ignoring the ISO standards compliance.