We received an announcement from Shapeways that they’ve achieved ISO 9001 certification and you might want to know what that means.
Shapeways is one of the oldest consumer-facing 3D print services on the planet, having been launched way back in 2007 — before desktop 3D printers even really existed. Their goal was to provide an ability to 3D print objects even if you didn’t have access to a device, and they continue to do so today.
But what is this ISO 9001 certification?
It is part of the ISO 9000 family of standards that address quality management within a business. ISO 9001 is the specific things a company must do to to be declared compliant, thus “ISO 9001” means a company has instituted sufficient internal and external processes to ensure product quality.
The standard includes steps required to achieve seven different quality management principles which, according to Wikipedia, are:
Principle 1 – Customer focus: Organizations depend on their customers and therefore should understand current and future customer needs, should meet customer requirements and strive to exceed customer expectations.
Principle 2 – Leadership: Leaders establish unity of purpose and direction of the organization. They should create and maintain the internal environment in which people can become fully involved in achieving the organization’s objectives.
Principle 3 – Engagement of people: People at all levels are the essence of an organization and their full involvement enables their abilities to be used for the organization’s benefit.
Principle 4 – Process approach: A desired result is achieved more efficiently when activities and related resources are managed as a process.
Principle 5 – Improvement: Improvement of the organization’s overall performance should be a permanent objective of the organization.
Principle 6 – Evidence-based decision making: Effective decisions are based on the analysis of data and information.
Principle 7 – Relationship management: An organization and its external providers (suppliers, contractors, service providers) are interdependent and a mutually beneficial relationship enhances the ability of both to create value.
After reading that list, imagine a company actually doing all of the above. It would then be apparent that the company is performing processes on a consistent basis that ensure and improve the quality of the output.
Shapeways and ISO 9001
Now we find that Shapeways has achieved this level of certification. They say:
“We are proud to announce Shapeways has received ISO9001 certification and are internationally recognized for our dedication to quality management and customer satisfaction. This is a demonstration of our commitment to businesses that rely on Shapeways for the highest level of quality, reliability and service.”
What does this mean for Shapeways clients? It should mean their product quality will be consistent from job to job, and over time actually increase in quality.
And that’s something every company should strive for.