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What’s the difference between being ISO compliant and ISO certified?

"If I have a quality or environmental system that meets the ISO rules, what's the big deal about being certified?" I get asked this a lot. Being “compliant” means that you are aware of and believe you comply with the requirements of the specific ISO standard in question. Being “certified” means that not only do you think you meet the rules but you’re willing to prove it by having an outside “certifying body” come in and audit you to verify that you really do meet the requirements. Being compliant, but not certified, is like going through college but never taking the exams to prove you learned anything. All the work, but none of the credit. Being certified increases customer trust because they know what it takes to get there, and for those who know the difference it is a marketing tool to set you apart from the crowd. Achieving certification is something that everyone in the company can be proud of. After all, quality is everyone’s job – not just QCs – so why not give recognition for the hard work and effort of everyone on the team. If your company has a functioning documented management system that you believe is compliant to the requirements of an ISO standard, why not take the next step and contact a certifying body, and get a certificate to prove it?


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