Frequently Asked Questions

We have organised F.A.Q. in two groups:

  • What is ISO?
  • Why do I need ISO?

Click or tap on a question or + symbol to reveal its answer.


What is ISO?

It is the International Organization for Standardization, headquartered in Geneva. This is a global federation of more than 160 national standards bodies; set up to provide certainty in an uncertain world. The ISO promotes standards and their development, assisting trade across international borders. The national bodies work together to create agreements that are published as international standards.

How did ISO start?

The ISO began life shortly after the end of the Second World War. It officially opened its doors in 1947. In the year prior to that, a meeting was held in London to which delegates from 25 countries were invited. They decided to launch a new, international organisation to “facilitate the international co-ordination and unification of industrial standards”.

What is a standard?

The ISO itself describes standards as “making things work”. By having ISO standard certification your organisation is already proving it operates as a world-class business. Standards give best-practice specifications for products, services and systems. They are implemented to facilitate international trade, and ensure quality safety and efficiency. To date, there are more than 22,000 ISO standards in existence!

How are standards developed?

Quite simply, they are devised and agreed by the experts who need them in the first place. Any business or expert individual can put forward suggestions for a standard in their sector. They will then be put to the consensus of the ISO, which can write them into official standards. The process means standards reflect a wealth of international experience and expertise.

Do standards differ across industries?

Yes, they do. As standards are created to improve aspects of certain industries, so those sectors will have their own specific needs for an ISO certificate covering a certain process or facet of a profession. For example, ISO standards exist in different “series” across sectors including aviation, other areas such as the automotive world, and laboratory work. Speak to one of our team or explore our website to find the correct ISO standards for your organisation.

What does certified mean?

While the ISO develops standards, is doesn’t actually perform certification (examination) processes or award certificates. To achieve ISO standards you will need the help of external experts who can help you become certified by a separate certification body. In some industries, certification is a legal or contractual obligation. In all instances, your Qualitator can help you decide, as part of our service, which route to take and which certifier to use.

How is ISO governed?

ISO is an independent and non-governmental organisation. It is ultimately overseen by a General Assembly, made up of representatives from national standards bodies of more than 160 countries as well as the ISO’s Principal Officers. The General Assembly of the ISO meets annually.

Meanwhile, the ISO Council meets three times per year. It consists of 20 member bodies appointed on a rotation basis, ISO officers and chairs of various ISO Policy Development Committees. There is also a Technical Management Board, which reports to the Council.


What is ISO 9000 certification?

ISO 9000 certification is one of a globally recognised family of quality management standards. The standards are relevant and beneficial to organisations of any size. Standards also vary to cover a vast range of industries.

Having an ISO 9000 certification enables organisations to demonstrate that they have reached an internationally acclaimed level of quality, efficiency and service. In this way, businesses can satisfy their customers and employees that their operations meet high expectations. ISO certification can also denote compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements particular to the industry in which the organisation operates.

But this is just the beginning. Having installed the ISO 9001 system, it can, and should, be used to operate the organisation towards the goals set by the Board.  It will, when used correctly, be second nature to use as it is simply the embodiment of the way the business works. Thus a change to the systems (reflecting the latest goal) will result in the necessary changes to the way people work in order to achieve the latest goal.

What is ISO 9000?

ISO 9000 deals with – and provides a framework for – fundamental principles of quality management systems and quality assurance. It lays down international standards that must be implemented to maintain an efficient quality management system.

There are huge benefits to gaining ISO 9000 certification. These include: boosting customer satisfaction; meeting regulatory requirements; enhancing financial returns; increasing staff morale and reducing staff turnover; all while achieving continual improvement and attaining the goals set by the Board.

Whatever your industry, ISO certifications give your entire organisation confidence that you are delivering to an internationally recognised level, and continuing to develop your business to greater standards of productivity, efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Although meriting ISO 9000 gives organisations an immediate competitive advantage over their rivals, certification should only be viewed as a first step on a longer corporate journey, which uses the standards as a launchpad for delivering better products and services and – ultimately – results.

What is ISO 9001?

ISO 9001 is the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system.

Organisations use the certification to demonstrate their ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements while, at the same time, enhance staff working practices, reduce costs and expand sales possibilities.

ISO 9001 is an ultimate indicator of quality. Its focus is customer satisfaction. +. Ask any of Qualitation’s consultants what holding ISO 9001will do for your business and they’ll tell you it will:

  • Allow you to match your products or services with your customers’ expectations
  • Enable your organisation, however large or small, to be agile to changes such as market prices.

In order to implement ISO 9001 organisations must:

  • Adopt a mechanism for capturing customer feedback and satisfaction levels
  • Create customer service guidelines to ensure that complaints are monitored, responded to and, over time, kept to a minimum, if not zero
  • Optimise operations by incorporating both external and internal feedback into your systems.

Firms that have successfully met the exacting standards of ISO 9001 have reaped the rewards, rising to the top of their fields. It’s an organising principle that an entire business can gather around and play their part to implement.

ISO 9001 is confirmed and awarded by third-party certification bodies, such as UKAS and BSI in the UK. More than 1 million organisations around the world have been independently certified, making ISO 9001 one of the most widely used of all management tools globally.


What is ISO 14001?

ISO 14001 (occasionally referred to as ISO14001), is the standard for environmental management and monitoring. It is second only to ISO 9001 in terms of the number of organisations holding the standard around the world.

This ISO certification is recommended for any organisation that wishes to demonstrate its environmental credentials, and showcase the procedures and outputs that prove it has demonstrably considered the environmental impacts the organisation makes on the world and made every reasonable effort to reduce the effects of its operations appropriately.

Built into this standard are procedures and quality management controls that will also allow the business achieving ISO certification to maximise the positive effects of its production.

According to the British Standards Institute, achieving ISO 14001 certification has led to 60% of companies measuring increased trust from their customer base.

What aspects are certified under ISO 14001?

Many factors come into play when a business is refining and optimising its approach to sustainability. ISO 14001 helps organisations take stock and take control of all of these processes, making their day-to-day operations more environmentally friendly.

Procedures covered by this ISO standard include product development and production, manufacturing, marketing, storage, distribution and even procurement.

 At a time when public concern over the environmental efforts of organisations of all sizes and sectors is greater than ever, investment in ISO 14001 can make all the difference. Having globally recognised environmental standards in place at your business is crucial to build and maintain trust among your target market, and is also a key contributor to business growth.

What is ISO 13485?

ISO 13485 is the standard that relates to the management of quality within the global market for medical devices and supprts the process of CE marking in this sector. It draws on the quality management standards laid down in ISO 9001 Quality but adds sector-specific elements to prove compliance and provide certainty to customers.

CE marking in the medical sector indicates that the healthcare appliances your organisation produces or uses – meet EU legislative requirements in full. The certification that supports you in meeting these standards is ISO 13485.

CE compliance in combination with ISO 13485 recognises that feedback and improvements will continuously be fed into systems, as well as facilitating harmonised regulatory requirements for medical devices.

Our Qualitators can help you understand the requirement for a CE mark and advise you about the process of achieving it. We assist with creation of registration documents, collaborate on technical information and requirements (we never assume we know more about your products than you do), and correct formatting of the application to save time and money.

What is ISO 27001?

ISO 27001 was developed with IT and information security in mind. It is specifies the requirements for an information security management system that is secure going forwards. Please note: the concepts within ISO 27001 will achieve this – but they have to be applied anew as technology and the approaches adopted by viruses/spammers and hackers develop.

This standard is highly recommended for any organisation that uses multiple computers to process transactional and other regular operations, as well as firms that hold large quantities of sensitive data such as customersor employeespersonal information.

ISO 27001 is relevant for any size of organisation. It formally specifies a system that is intended to bring information security under management control and demonstrate the efrorts made by the organisation to address the likes of the GDPR legislation (the EU’s General Data Processing Regulations).


Why do I need ISO?

There are many reasons that your organisation may want to have or require ISO certification. These range from improving efficiency, employee engagement and customer satisfaction, to the frequent legal need businesses in some industries have to achieve ISO standards. If you are unsure whether your organisation needs ISO certification, or why, call or email us today. Ultimately, if you are not ISO certified, you simply will not match up to the quality of your rivals.

What are some of the benefits of ISO certification?

The benefits are manifold. Explore our website and you will learn some of the advantages of ISO certification. Many businesses that have met and surpassed ISO standards tell us they have grown to become leaders in their market. At Qualitation, we are very clear that growth cannot happen unless it is underpinned with quality to agreed standards.

Further benefits include:

  • optimised operations, slashing waste to boost available capital
  • increasing customer retention rates
  • enhancing financial returns
  • expanding the customer pool
  • improving workforce morale

Which ISO do I need?

This really depends on your industry. As you’ll see on our website, many sectors have their own bespoke standards relating to specific processes or quality management in those industries, and these can also be broken down to assess certain sections of an industry. For example, aviation standards are divided into manufacture, maintenance and distribution.

There are other, highly popular ISO standards that cover more generic aspects of industry, such as environment and sustainability, health and safety, and quality management systems. These, too, are explored further in other sections of this website. However, if you’d prefer to speak to one of our experts about your organisation’s ISO certification needs, 0345 600 6975 or email

Who needs ISO?

The question should really be, who doesn’t need ISO? Organisations of all types and sizes across a full range of sectors rarely reach the top of their industry without ISO certification – such is its galvanising effect on quality, efficiency, and employee and customer satisfaction – among other things.

In some sectors, ISO standards are required by law, so it’s important to investigate whether your business falls under that heading. If you’re not sure, or you already know the answer but want to find out more about the ISO process, please get in touch.

What is Quality+?

This is our name for the original standard, ISO 9001 Quality together with the 2 other generic standards ISO 14001 Environmental and ISO 45001 Health & Safety standards. These arethe international standards that specify requirements for a quality/environmental/H&S management system. Organisations use the certifications to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet both customer and regulatory requirements.

What does the ISO process look like?

We will provide the support of our experts who will accompany you along every step of your journey through change, excellence and growth, as part of the process of gaining accreditation.

Chosen for their expert knowledge across a range of industries and quality management systems, our team deeply understands that an ISO standard can be the life-blood of a business. Whether you need to totally transform or simply do some things better, for an outcome your customers will love, Qualitators know what to do.

This could mean reviewing existing process and suggesting amendments to improve systems; spotting additional training requirements; communicating goals; identifying a certification body; implementing ongoing audit actions; and building and maintaining market-leading management systems; and using the ISO systems to apply the growth and developmental requirements from Board determinations.

We’ve spent over 20 years building a UK network of Qualitators, meaning wherever the need for ISO standards springs up, a team member can be on hand – locally, nationally and even internationally.

Please submit another question