ISO 9001: Knowing What Has Been Sold to Your Client

If your business handles many orders from customers, you will need to have systems for storing the details and feeding the consequential instructions to your operations function as well as keeping accounts. Even if your business is relatively simple, such as running a pre-booked taxi service, you will need to be able to see full details of what has been ordered and the state of progress towards order fulfilment at any time, no matter which of your personnel takes the order and who is involved in fulfilling it. If the system for order taking and processing is a computer database, it is essential that everybody who could possibly need to interrogate it is able to do so and that it contains the complete up-to-date record.

In even a slightly more complicated business, say, involving assembling equipment from modular units to meet customers orders, no two of which are the same, computer systems alone will never be enough to ensure that every order is fully met as promised to the customer. To start with, there will need to be procedures to ensure that the sales function sells only what can be delivered as promised, that the order documentation is correct, that input materials will be available as required, that work in progress is carried out consistently and recorded immediately and that the customer is kept informed as he requires. Such a regime is called a quality management system and is a pre-requisite for profit maximisation.

Having a quality management system that customers can recognise is, of course, a major selling feature and, for this reason an international standard for such systems has been established, since 1994, by a UN agency called the International Standards Organisation. The current version of the standard is ISO 9001:2008.

Why not see what would be involved in setting up a quality management system to ISO 9001:2008 in your business? Visit to see the full range of options, from self-building using a computerised tool, through to use of full consultancy.

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