The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent organization with a membership of 164 national standards entities. The organization’s members work together to develop standards that industries and businesses voluntarily adopt to ensure that their products, materials, services, and processes do what they are supposed to do, safely and accurately. These standards have a broad impact—some apply to any and every industry, while others are specific to particular industries, such as technology, food safety, healthcare, and agriculture.
The ISO Certification Process
The ISO itself does not offer certification. Rather, independent third-party organizations exist that can determine whether a particular product, service, or system meets specific requirements. Accreditation differs from certification, in that an independent accrediting body formally recognizes that a certification body compiles with international standards. Various industries use ISO certification from an accredited organization to inspire confidence in their products and processes.
Industries That Use ISO Certification
The ISO publishes standards relating to management, security, social responsibility, language, currency, testing, and calibration laboratories and medical devices, to name a few. Industries that may seek certification for their processes, products, or services include healthcare, environmental protection industries, testing, metrology and measurement labs, electronics, telecommunications, petroleum, wood and paper industries, paint and color industries, construction, mining, defense, plastics, and more.
Some standards apply to many different industries. These are standards that address quality management processes, information security, or risk management, and provide guidelines that various industries can follow and apply. When a business or industry adopts these standards, they can seek certification that their operations follow them. Certification can increase customer confidence, identify processes that need improvement, and boost credibility for products and results.
Technical and scientific industries, such as medical and product testing labs, need training to meet international standards that have been recently revised or updated, or as refreshers about acceptable processes that will meet international standards.