We are ISO:9001 certified: why is this good news?

13 Jul 2023

Pauwels Consulting obtained the ISO 9001 certification for its quality management system earlier this year. This is good news, but what does it actually mean for us as a company and for our clients? Luc Marivoet is our QHSE-manager and he explains why ISO 9001 makes a difference and which misconceptions exist.

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is the international standard for quality management. By obtaining the certification, Pauwels Consulting demonstrates that the quality management system meets the standards and is transparent and trustworthy. This means that the business processes in place are aligned in a way that ensures high-quality service, for example to implement changes or to absorb deviations or handle concerns of clients. A quality management system always aims to provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. And it helps to address risks and opportunities within the company and its business processes, which then facilitates opportunities to increase customer satisfaction.

Why is ISO 9001 important for our clients?

The certificate is a way to reassure our clients and other stakeholders that we offer quality and reliable services to prioritize customer satisfaction. On top of that, we are able to promise them that we strive to improve constantly. We communicate that we are customer-oriented and demonstrate this through the ISO 9001 certification as well.

Long term engagement

Obtaining the certificate is not a one-time achievement. Several teams within Pauwels Consulting have been committed for years to optimizing the processes as the company grows. The ISO 9001 certification also ensures that we are audited annually by an independent party, and through this we have objective proof that Pauwels Consulting is committed to quality and customer satisfaction. Additionally, we must also strive to constantly improve our quality management system to accommodate our increasing growth.

Why does Pauwels Consulting want to be ISO 9001 certified?

The introduction of an ISO 9001 quality management system brings more structure to our rapidly growing organization. It ensures that we further professionalize our organization and are committed to continuously improving our processes and services.  The certificate reassures our customers, stakeholders and employees because they can rely on processes that work well in a demonstrated manner.

What does an ISO 9001 audit look like?

The auditor holds all aspects of our quality management system to the norms of ISO 9001 standards. All documented information the norm requests is closely observed, and our procedures are reviewed with a critical eye.  The auditor is aware that we also help clients implement, evaluate and maintain an ISO 9001 quality management system (or QMS), so she asked very pointed questions and set the bar high for our QMS. That’s understandable, of course, because anyone offering a QMS service should have an excellent quality management system themselves! Every year the auditor will come back to evaluate our quality management system and for a cycle of 3 years, which is the validity period of the certificate. Afterwards, a recertification audit will follow.

We maintain our individuality

In addition, it is important to note that the ISO 9001 standard is logically structured and constructed to use internationally so that it is applicable to any organization, regardless of its type or size or the products and services it provides. However, the level of the quality management system will be adapted to the maturity of the organization. I sometimes compare it to a dish, take meatballs in tomato sauce, for example. In a brasserie you expect to get a classic dish, but when it’s on the menu in a starred establishment, it will probably be served with better ingredients or in a different composition. The bottom line remains that you deliver the products and services to your customers that they expect and deserve.

We raise the bar for ourselves

Now that we are certified, the next audit is a follow-up session. In the meantime, we conduct internal audits to see how we can further improve our business processes to achieve our goals. One action point for Pauwels Consulting was document management. We now have a clear document management process that ensures that all documents and information available to Pauwels Consulting are managed efficiently and in a controlled manner. It has ensured that it is always clear where the final and current version of a document can be found, that this version is easily identifiable, and that document modification and security against changes has been made manageable.

An ISO 9001 certificate turns your company into a so called ‘paper tiger’

A well-known misunderstanding about ISO 9001 is that this standard creates bureaucratic companies. This is nonsense, of course, because the current ISO 9001 standard is actually very pragmatic. It is true that earlier versions of the standard required mandatory procedures. But much has changed since then and now the standard gives freedom as well as responsibilities to the company to determine the extent of their documented information themselves. Of course, this varies from company to company because it depends on the activities performed, the complexity of the processes, the products and services, and the competence of the employees. Of course, records are still needed to have confidence that the processes are carried out as planned.  This is why we choose, for example, to use our CRM application Bullhorn and other software applications to incorporate most of the registrations into our workflows and immediately facilitate the work of our employees.

We have ISO 9001 expertise

Luc Marivoet is our QHSE Manager and has over 30 years of experience in Quality Management. He helps us to comply with the ISO 9001 standard and to improve and standardize our operation. As a QHSE consultant, he also provides our customers with a full service for their quality management systems: he gives advice, supports implementation and monitors compliance with standards. Luc also provides training on QHS management systems (ISO 9001 and ISO 45001).

We stay up-to-date

At the Pauwels Academy, he gives our consultants training in quality management and ISO certification. Luc also continues to educate himself to stay up to date with all standards. So he can also call himself IRCA certified QMS ISO9001:2015 Lead auditor and prevention consultant level 2.

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