How Big/How Small - Size limitation on a company being ISO 9001 certified?

A

Aussie Jeff

#1
Hello all,

I was asked a question today - let’s say a hypothetical question, that I could not answer. And what better way to find the answer than to come to the forum for guidance.

The question was something along these lines: I am starting up a new company and the environment that I will be working in requires me to be ISO certified. At least for the first three to four months I will be operating with very minimal staff – mostly only one or two persons; however the companies that I will be negotiating with will require my company to be ISO certified, right from the very start of the operation.

So my question to you good folk, is there any size limitation on a company being ISO certified?
I thank you in anticipation.

Cheers from Oz
Jeff.

PS – Happy Memorial Day to all in the US.
 
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qusys

Trusted Information Resource
#3
Hello all,

I was asked a question today - let’s say a hypothetical question, that I could not answer. And what better way to find the answer than to come to the forum for guidance.

The question was something along these lines: I am starting up a new company and the environment that I will be working in requires me to be ISO certified. At least for the first three to four months I will be operating with very minimal staff – mostly only one or two persons; however the companies that I will be negotiating with will require my company to be ISO certified, right from the very start of the operation.

So my question to you good folk, is there any size limitation on a company being ISO certified?
I thank you in anticipation.

Cheers from Oz
Jeff.

PS – Happy Memorial Day to all in the US.
Hi Aussie Jeff,
how are you?

To respond to your question, I can say that there is not limitation in a company sizing to be ISO 9001 Certified.
Said that, there are clearly other things. For example, the complexity of the QMS based upon your processes. If you have 3 people, some activities are leaner ( I think about mgmt rewiew , the first I thought) with respect to certify a multinational company from Corporate point of view.
ISO 9001 has been thought just in this sense, so that it can be applied without taking in consideration the number of peolple of which is composed, but fostering for process approach and putting the Customer to the fist place.
If you have a newco, my suggestion is to try to work first in compliace with ISO 9001, without attaining the certifcate, then make a roadmap to apply and reach the certificate with a registrar.
You can sign this with the Customer, in agreement to also respect their requirements.
Good luck and let us know what about. This Cove is very useful and good to share ideas and best practices.
see you:bigwave:
 

Rameshwar25

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
You have not mentioned the ISO's standard in your question, i take it that you are talking about ISO 9001.

No, there is no size limitation as far as number of employee is concerned.
The requirement of the standard is to carry out certain processes, no matter who carries them out.
Even if your establishment is new, you must be doing 95% of all activities (processes) required by ISO 9001 standard. eg. you must be doing marketing research, following up with new customers, purchasing, training, doing core process (your organisation's main process like manufacturing, providing any type of service etc.), monitoring of service/product quality, preservation of products, identification, calibration, review of organization's performance etc.

The difference in certified and non-certified is only that during implementation, organization starts maintaining records of above activities as an evidence. In addition, a few activities like internal audit and document/ record control are carried out.

Regards
rameshwar
 

harry

Super Moderator
#5
If you look at ISO 9001 standard and under Introduction, 0.1 General, it starts with: The adoption of a quality management system should be a strategic decision of an organization. ................. I think what it implies here is that you can get best results when a need or purpose (part of strategic decision) is there.

I would think that a one man show is at a too early stage of the business growth cycle to talk/think of or adopt strategic planning.

However, in practice, there are one man operations (usually in the service field) who may be assisted by some part-timers. Over here, I remember reading about a one man organization that is certified to ISO 13485.
 

Big Jim

Super Moderator
#6
For what it is worth, I have performed registration audits to one person companies who became registered. I have also performed consulting to aid one person companies become certified. Different companies, so there was no conflict of interest. One of the most memorable one person companies had started business only a few weeks before attaining registration. His attitude, a great one, is that he wanted to start off correctly so he didn't have to worry about breaking bad habits.
 

somashekar

Staff member
Super Moderator
#7
Hello Jeff ...
There is no size limitation and this is already very clear. However, how you will have people who join you, quickly get aligned to your QMS must be well addressed, and you will have to extend this to even your processes that you outsource, which have bearing on your product / service conformity to requirement.
Today it may be you, then later you and your secretary and then perhaps the front desk receptionist... later becoming a small group of say 5-6 people. QMS has to address continual improvement, and business improvement is a part of continual improvement, and the only asset that will sustain this or any other improvement are people.
 
A

Aussie Jeff

#8
Thanks to all who have replied,

As always your incite and information has been invaluable. I have passed all comments onto my mate and I am pretty sure that he will attempt certification before his company grows too large.

I really like the comment in Big Jim's answer "...... he wanted to start off correctly so he didn't have to worry about breaking bad habits." it does seem like a logical way to proceed.

Again thank you for you assistance.

Cheers from Oz
Jeff.
 
J

JaneB

#9
The Standard itself, of course provides the answer (my bold added):

1.2 Application
All requirements of this International Standard are generic and are intended to be applicable to all organizations, regardless of type, size and product provided.
It can and I have done it with a single person company. The question and the challenge, of course, is at what point the cost/benefit ratio is acceptable.
 

suildur

Involved In Discussions
#10
Well, I think there is a minimum size limitation. As far as I know/have seen, all the price lists of CBs -which are based on man.dates- begin with at least 2 personnels.

Why?

Me and my colleagues have discussed over that and agreed on the QMR topic. You know, there must be a QMR if you are going to run a system, and the QMR cannot be the boss or the GM. So, at least, there must be a QMR and a GM, which makes 2 people.

But, there is no maximum size limitation for sure.
 
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