Should Machine Shops Consider Getting an ISO 9000 Certification?

June 5, 2020 12:36 pm

Should the ISO 9000 certification matter to a machine shop? The Practical Machinist community on Instagram confirmed that opinions vary, with many arguing that it is a waste of time. ISO 9000 is an international set of standards for quality management and quality assurance. It is the world’s most recognized Quality Management System (QMS) standard. As it is not specific to one industry, consider the certification as an overarching umbrella with many segments underneath. The industry specific certifications are the AS9100D  (aerospace) and ISO/TS 16949:2009 (automotive). For aerospace specific guidance, check out the Top Aerospace Machining Books and AS9100D Certification Guides.

If your machine shop does work outside of aerospace and automotive areas, you’ve come to the right place. Towards the bottom of this article you will find a list of resources that will help you successfully implement and integrate the standards into your day-to-day operations.

What ISO 9000 Provides for Machine Shops

If implemented correctly and thoroughly, an ISO 9000 certification can bring benefits to machine shops in two major ways.

Firstly, it is a framework to improve the quality of your parts, the quality of your work, and the quality of all the processes that exist within a machine shop. Secondly, the process of becoming and being ISO 9000 certified actively makes machine shops much more competitive. Standardization of process, measuring waste and accountability are exactly why using ISO 9000 guidelines will enhance your machine shop’s success. Though the certification cost must be within your machine shops’ means, the adoption of ISO 9000 will allow your business to be much more valuable and compete as such.

However, if the certification is not your end goal, you will find that the resources mentioned below highlight best practices that will simply help your shop optimize its work.

ISO 9001:2015

As industries develop over time, the ISO 9000 standard grows alongside. The most recent version of the ISO 9000 certification is the ISO 9001:2015 which includes greater emphasis on building a management system that best supports your machine shop’s needs (so there is a greater push for accountability at the top of the organization). Additionally, the new version has less prescriptive requirements for documentation. This gives more freedom to the individual organization, allowing them to determine the formats that make most sense for their business.

Recommended Books

These books contain both machining-specific and general information about ISO 9000 geared to support the ISO 9000 certification process.

9001 for Manufacturing or Assembly: ISO 9001:2015 The complete and best how-to guide for successful implementation and certification

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If you are seriously considering the adoption of a new quality management system, this text is loaded with working templates and forms to make sure you get ISO 9000 certified. Maybe you are ready to transition your ISO certification to 9001:15. If so, this is a fantastic resource with step-by-step guidance. Those who have invested in this book claim it replaced their need to hire consultant support and reviews describe this book as invaluable.

9001 for Design and Manufacture: ISO 9001:2015 A complete how-to guide for successful implementation and certification

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The writer Fred Dobb is the author of ISO 9000 Quality Registration Step by Step first published in 1996 which was so successful it has been re-issued/printed 3 times helping 100s to achieve ISO 9001 accredited certification. You will have access to a Manual, Procedures and circa 70 Forms. The template can easily be amended to reflect how you wish to manage your organization.

Basic Metrology for ISO 9000 Certification

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A portion of the ISO 9000 certification is focused on optimizing your calibration and test measurement standards. This text focuses specifically on the basic metrology knowledge associated with the ISO 9000 certification.

Mastering ISO 9001:2015: A Step-By-Step Guide to the World’s Most Popular Management Standard

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Though a more generic option, this text will allow your shop to become a leader in your field. Quickly learn how to enhance business performance, get more clients, improve customer satisfaction.

The Quality Calibration Handbook: Developing and Managing a Calibration Program

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With quality being the foundation of ISO 9000 certification and metrology and important component, make sure calibration knowledge is strong. Containing all the information you need to upgrade the quality of your service, this read will ensure you achieve what your customers expect.

ISO 9001:2015 in Plain English

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If you are ISO 9000 certified and are putting off the upgrade to ISO 9001:2015, it’s time to make the change. This text will help you get there as it breaks down the process into simple, comprehensible action items.


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  • John says:

    Many (most?) ISO Registration efforts are 1-too detailed (overdesigned) and 2-done as check-the-box efforts that embroil the organization in non-value-adding (to the customer) efforts and serve only to raise costs. That being said, the concepts in ISO are not bad, and can be done more easily by identifying gaps in the current process and fixing those.

  • Nelson says:

    I believe that the ISO standard to applies to Quality is ISO 9003. This is easier to achieve than 9001 or 9002

  • acra2100 says:

    I worked at a shop that implemented ISO. After a few years went by we saw nothing of these people until they actually warn you they’re coming for an inspection. They want your money so they don’t want you to fail.
    When first implemented, suits went around and asked us how things were done and wrote it down so they can make sure you continue doing what you’re doing. In a nutshell, just another expense. More people that know nothing telling you what to do after you tell them how its done.
    Its too bad the people that require this spec rely on this system.
    Nothing beats a well managed business with a continued great reputation. Anything else is just smoke and mirrors.

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