In China, ISO9001 certification is commonly found across all industries but unfortunately for many businesses it is seen as little more than a paper you need to get new business.
Many local certification bodies offer “certification-in-a-box” where all of the necessary paperwork to be ISO9001 certified is prepared using standard templates.
Indeed, it is often the case that upon asking to see a company’s quality manual the call “quick, get the ISO9001 documentation” is heard, followed by a rush to the filing cabinet to pull out the otherwise unused documents.
The good news is that in almost all cases, an English copy of the certificate is provided to the factory, which you will be able to use to gleam some useful information from.
Here are some basic checks which can be made to learn more about the business and the value of their ISO9001 certification:
- Check that the name on the certificate is the same as the factory
- if not, is the company a parent company, a trading company?
- Is the certificate the 2000 or 2008 edition of the standard?
- it is now 2011, has the business upgraded their certification?
- Check the scope of the certificate
- if there isn’t a scope it isn’t a valid certificate
- does it cover the products you wish to purchase?
- Check the expiry date
- if the certificate has expired, why has this been allowed to occur?
- Does the certification body have international accreditation?
- the more reputable certification bodies will be accredited to international schemes such as UKAS or IAF