What is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)? Why It's Important to Ballistic Protection

What is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)? Why It's Important to Ballistic Protection

With the official announcement of our certification to ISO standards, this week is going to be a little different. As much as we love to help our local and national heroes learn and buy the best armor, today is about the ISO. 

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the official organization responsible for setting standards in the commercial, technical, and industrial industries worldwide.

ISO creates guidelines and best-practices in every industry to produce a safer, more efficient, and profitable organization. They use the expertise of men and women from all over the world to create standardization for every country to contribute to globalism in an ethical and safe way.

ISO creates standards, including cyber security management, health and safety standards in the workplace, and Quality Management Systems (QMS)

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Why is the International Organization for Standardization ISO?

When I first learned about ISO many years ago, I never understood why their acronym is ISO when their company name is The International Organization for Standardization

The reason for the confusion is there were 25 nations that created the first international standardization program in 1947. With so many different languages to speak, the acronym would have meant something different in every language had it been IOS. 

As any critically thinking collective would do, they made an executive decision to stick with one acronym that all countries recognize (ISO). It turns out to be a great decision because they now have 165 members, with each member representing a different nation. 

What is the Function of the ISO?

ISO’s main goal for every business with the ISO certification of approval is to make them more efficient, safe, environmentally responsible, and profitable. 

They can’t set rules as a non-governmental organization, but the level of professionalism, integrity, and respect of the ISO is known in at least 165 countries. 

The ISO functions as an authority figure to encourage productive, moral, and ethical business. The organization conducting the consultation will be versed in all statutory and regulatory requirements. 

By pointing out where you're efficient and deficient, the advisor (auditor) is able to help keep your business within all laws and regulations. 

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Why is ISO Important?

By creating a standard for all nations to follow, ISO is able to ensure that every nation in the world that wants to do business on an international scale, has the tools and guidelines they need.

ISO also helps nations regulate environmental, industrial, and technology companies by creating an unilateral standard that is accepted internationally. Many nations look to ISO for their guidance on setting workplace standards, such as safety and efficiency. 

When businesses or organizations see an ISO certification of approval letter, they know that your company is using best-practices that are backed by the consensus of at least 165 other nations. 

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What is the ISO 9001 Certification?

The ISO 9001 standard lays out the requirements for a QMS. Its purpose is to help businesses and organizations provide a more efficient, safe workplace, while improving customer relationships. 

How Do I Get ISO Certification?

It might sound strange, but the ISO doesn’t offer certifications to any company. This is done so they can always maintain neutrality and integrity worldwide. 

The ISO sets the standards and uses licensed third party organizations to evaluate, monitor compliance, and certify in accordance with the ISO standard. For example, we received our certification of approval from a very well respected organization near our home in Akron, OH.

Smithers is a quality and environmental management systems certification body that partnered with us to be compliant with international standards. 

We already knew of the great reputation that Smithers had with quality control, but if you need a local auditor licensed by the ISO, search on the International Accreditation Forum (IAF). 

What are the 3 Steps to ISO Certification?

1. Perform a Gap Analysis

A gap analysis is when an advisor comes to your place of business (our manufacturing facility) and performs an analysis on the entire facility. 

This inspection includes all documented processes and procedure plans and physical inspections of your facility. I think of a gap analysis as a home inspection when you buy your first house.

Once this inspection was completed, the Smithers advisors documented and reported anything that didn’t meet ISO standards.

2. Implementation of Change

We received an appropriate amount of time to fix all deficiencies and report that we’re ready for a follow-up inspection. One thing we learned with this process is we can always be better in some way or another. 

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By applying the principles of ISO, clearly explained remedies have made us more efficient and customer friendly.

3. Certification and Compliance

Once the Smithers advisors returned to our business, they conducted a follow-up inspection to determine if we met the ISO 9001:2015 Standard.

After the certification body provided us with a certification of approval letter, we now have 1 year until they reinspect our facility to maintain compliance with the standard of business.

What Are the ISO Standards Based On?

The ISO standards sometimes seem like a thing people use but don’t really know what it means. There are 7 core principles of a QMS that all ISO standards are based on. 

What is a QMS?

A Quality Management System is a structured system of advisors (Smithers) and guidelines (ISO Standards) that help a business function more efficiently, effectively, and safely. 

The advisors use pre established standards (ISO) to ensure a company always stays within their customer and regulatory guidelines. 

There are 7 QMS principles that the ISO grades a business on to determine how well they operate as a business. A QMS is meant to assess the principles that every business in the world must follow if they want to have the official approval of the ISO. 

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What are the 7 Quality Management Principles?

7 QMS Principles

Customer Focus

The focus of your business should be on customer and investor satisfaction, both currently and in the future. 


A QMS can help your business retain customers and better predict future trends in your industry. 

Leadership

Having everyone in your company on the same page with clear and succinct roles and guidance is what leadership is all about.


A QMS can help with creating a plan to engage with the company to create a singular vision.

 

Engagement of People

Being able to engage with all people in your organization is paramount to success. 


A QMS will help a company maintain accountability and respect for one another. 


Something as simple as respect and recognition can have great impacts on the success of a company. 

Process Approach

In order to maintain stability in a company, you have to have a process of running your company ensures predictable and repeatable results.


A QMS will help your company achieve a clearer understanding of everyone's roles in the company. 


A QMS encourages your workforce to work together to offer the best possible efficiency and effectiveness. 

Improvement

We can all agree that striving for improvement in everything we do will benefit us in the end product. 


A QMS will help a business create new opportunities within the company and improve the performance of each employee. 


A QMS creates a process to quickly identify, prevent, and resolve problems faster.

Evidence-Based Decision Making

Using analytics to evaluate your company data will help achieve more consistent results. 


A QMS helps establish procedures in order to conduct data analysis using strictly facts and data analysis. Overall a QMS improves the decision-making process of your company

Relationship Management

Every manufacturer knows how important their suppliers are to their business. 


A QMS helps establish and maintain good, productive relationships with suppliers to ensure future success. 

What are the Benefits of an ISO 9001 Certification?

We couldn’t be more proud and excited to achieve our certification to ISO 9001;2015 with design. There are probably too many benefits to name all of them, but the top 8 benefits that I’ve seen already are:

  1. International recognition
  2. Improved our reputation 
  3. Increased our production
  4. Increased our efficiency 
  5. Increased our workplace safety
  6. We are quicker to diagnose a problem and quicker to fix a problem
  7. Improved customer service and satisfaction
  8. More deals with larger organizations because they respect ISO standards

Is ISO 9001 certification mandatory?

Not at all. No company could be mandated (in the U.S.) to follow ISO guidelines and principles with the free market we have. 

If your company wants to do business internationally, having an ISO certification letter of approval could be essential for regulatory compliance, internationally. 

Why is an ISO Stamp of Approval Important for us?

As a manufacturer, there is no bigger or more important recognition than being certified to ISO standard 9001-2015. We believe we’ve done things correctly since our start, but now we can say and prove to the world that our manufacturing process is one of the best in the world.

The credibility that the ISO 9001 standard brings us as a company will help us expand into new markets and continually strive to be better.  

At the very least, we hope that this shows our customers, worldwide, that we are a transparent company that prides itself on using the best materials and processes to produce ballistic armor. 

What Does the ShotStop® Certified to 9001:2015 Standard Look Like?

ISO 9001:2015 Certified Stamp

How Does the Certification to ISO Standards Impact Our Customers?

We are delighted to serve our customers even better through the well-defined and documented processes this certification requires. While we've always been committed to quality in our products and services, this certification ensures a more productive environment through faster identification and resolution of quality issues, among many other benefits.

Conclusion

The amount of credibility and trust we’ve gained from completing the ISO certification process has been humbling for our team. ShotStop® wants only the best for our customers and employees. Having our facility certified to ISO standards ensures we’re on the path to efficiency and unrivaled customer satisfaction. 

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As much as we’re known to live by our commitment to our motto, We Protect the Protectors, we also want to make sure every customer is satisfied with their purchase. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer questions and concerns.


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