What are ISO standards and why are they important?

The ‘International Organisation for Standardisation’ (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental international organisation with a membership of 164 national standard bodies.  The ISO develops international standards which are recognised across the globe. They are not involved in certification and do not issue certificates; this is performed by external certification bodies.

ISO currently publishes a number of standards required for a business or company to prove their own health, safety and quality standards.  These standards provide requirements, specifications, guidelines or characteristics.  An Auditor gets in touch to plan for Stage 1 of the Assessment and the first visit to the site, after which a report is issued to highlight next steps for certification.  Once the business is ready, the Auditor pays a second visit to establish the right systems and processes in place to issue certification.  This happens on a yearly basis for most standards.

For many, it is a legal or contractual requirement for a supplier to have certain certifications, but there are many reasons why you choose to work with a company that holds relevant certifications.  We are certified in the following ISO standards for many reasons, including many benefits to employees, but it can provide our customers with many reassurances, such as:

  • Quality – Standardisation results in a quality product that meets the required specifications; our customers can expect exceptional quality every time.

  • On-time delivery – An ISO certified company has processes in place to calculate lead times and ensure delivery of the product. These systems result in fewer unexpected delays.

  • Reliability – Standardisation, equipment, customer service and quality are all monitored to set us up to provide a reliable service, and if there are issues, we already have procedures in place to resolve them, improve the process, and prevent the problem recurring in the future.

  • Improved environmental standards – We have efficient policies and procedures in place to ensure we measure, reduce and manage our consumption and waste, improving our environmental performance.

  • Health & Safety – We have procedures in place to ensure we comply with current legislation and help manage the wellbeing of our employees.

  • Confidence –  Be confident you are working with a supplier that cares and actively seeks to monitor, maintain and improve its standards.

What is ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System?

ISO 14001:2015 is intended for use by an organisation seeking to manage its environmental responsibilities in a systematic manner that contributes to the environmental pillar of sustainability.  It helps an organisation achieve the intended outcomes of its environmental management system, which provide value for the environment, the organization itself and interested parties. Consistent with the organisation’s environmental policy, the intended outcomes of an environmental management system include:

· enhancement of environmental performance

· fulfilment of compliance obligations

· achievement of environmental objectives.

All our print sites are ISO 14001:2015 certified. 

What is ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System?

ISO 9001:2015 specifies requirements for a quality management system when an organisation:

a) needs to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, and

b) aims to enhance customer satisfaction through the effective application of the system, including processes for improvement of the system and the assurance of conformity to customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

All our print sites (excluding Oldham) are ISO 9001:2015 certified. 

What is ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health & Safety System?

ISO 45001 replaces OHSAS 18001.  It is an International Standard that specifies requirements for an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system, with guidance for its use, to enable an organisation to proactively improve its OH&S performance in preventing injury and ill-health, finding and identifying potential hazard risks before they cause accidents and injuries. 

All our print sites are ISO 45001 certified.

Watford, Teesside and Luton recently passed a surveillance audit to renew the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System,  ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System and ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the audit was conducted remotely under very different conditions.  Luke James, Peter Hutchinson and Steve Fairley from Reach Printing Services, alongside their internal audit partners, used a shared drive to submit all the required documentation.  Through a combination of Google Hangout meetings, scans and photographs, the external auditor gathered all the required evidence to renew all accreditations.  

The audits were conducted within a one-week period, with various queries coming through at regular intervals, ranging from routine health and safety queries to quality, to our new upgraded security procedures for COVID-19.  At the end of the process we passed with no items of non-conformance and no observations.  

To receive no non-conformities and no observations shows how strong our procedures and the sites’ commitment to the ISO standards are, and a great achievement for the sites, which shows the dedication and commitment of all staff despite the additional pressures of the pandemic.

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