The ISO logo: on the left is a blue insignia with a white globe and the initials ISO in the middle of it, on the right side ‘International Organization for Standardization’ is printed in blue text.

What is the International Standard Organization?

In a global marketplace, without checks and balances in place, it would be difficult to maintain consistency and quality across industries and nations. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an independent, non-governmental, international organization that solves this problem by developing standards to ensure the quality, safety, and efficiency of products, services, and systems. ISO standards are implemented in more than one million companies across 175 countries. ISO certifications exist in many areas of industry, from social responsibility to medical devices and energy management. Consistency in various sectors across the globe is ISO’s primary aim, so ISO develops its standards through the process of consensus. It is comprised of experts from all over the world that establish the standards to be suggested or required by their respective sectors.

For the most part, ISO certifications are not required by any regulating agency. However, certain industries have adopted the ISO certification as a requirement, including the automotive industry. While ISO certification is voluntary, a company that is ISO-certified is an indicator of how much they focus on quality.

What are the ISO guidelines for certification? 

A man in a blue uniform and a blue hard hat wearing safety goggles presses buttons on a machine in a steel processing plant.

  • Customer-centered. Does the company value customer needs, and is this reflected in the manufacturing of its product?
  • Good leadership. Is the management team comprised of leaders that honor their employees, their customers, and the end product?
  • A process approach to quality management. Does the management team evaluate the processes and machinery and update them as needed to ensure quality?
  • Continual improvement. Being ISO-certified means that a company is subjected to ongoing audits in order to ensure that it is constantly innovating new products that prevent its plant from entering a state of stasis.

The 5-stage process of ISO certification

The ISO certification involves an intensive, rigorous process that consists of five stages:

  • Stage 1: An initial assessment that determines if the mandatory requirements of the standard are met and if the management system is capable of proceeding to stage 2.
  • Stage 2: Determines the effectiveness of the system and seeks to confirm the management system.
  • Stage 3: Review any corrective actions taken to address findings at stage 1 and 2, certification may be recommended.
  • Stage 4: Organization’s files are reviewed by an independent and impartial panel and the certification decision is made.
  • Stage 5: Successful certification is communicated to the client and certifications are issued!

ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications

There are many different kinds of certification areas, many of which are sector specific. The two most popular certification areas are 9001 and 14001, which are streamlined for every sector. These are generic standards for management systems that can be applied to an organization, no matter the size, in any sector of activity. These certifications assess whatever the organization does to manage its processes or activities so that its services meet customer quality requirements and environmental requirements. These are both process, not product, standards.

ISO 9001:2015 (2015 refers to the year the standard was last updated) helps companies to implement quality management. ISO 14001:2015 helps organizations to implement environmental management. NMM is currently certified in both of these areas.

NMM applied for (and was subsequently granted) the 9001:2015 certification because we believe in quality management. Why? Quality refers to all of those features of a product or service which are required by a customer. Quality management is best determined by observing what the organization does to ensure that its products and services satisfy the quality requirements and comply with any regulations applicable to those products or services.

We obtained the 14001: 2015 certification because we care about the environment. This standard helps companies minimize the harmful effects on the environment caused by the company, and it also helps companies to conform to applicable regulatory requirements and achieve continual improvement of their annual performance.

A picture of the Earth with ocean and white clouds and green trees circling it; there is a pair of pale-skinned hands cradling the globe, as if to protect it; the background is blue with white clouds.

How does NMM’s ISO certification benefit its clients?

Because NMM is held to a set of quality standards set forth by an independent third party, our commitment to accurate, honest, and double-checked product will benefit our client     s in the following areas:

  • Improved consistency. NMM product quality is consistent with rare fluctuations.
  • Better efficiency, reduced waste, and cost savings. NMM, as a manufacturer, continually looks for ways to increase output and reduce waste, which helps us make our product better for the environment as well as more affordable.
  • Relevant products and services. When the standards change, we change along with them.

We are dedicated to our employees, our customers, and the planet!

NMM is a subsidiary of National Material L.P., operating 16 steel service centers and processing facilities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico and shipping over 2,000,000 tons of steel annually. National Material L.P. specializes in supplying, servicing, and processing steel with unmatched efficiency and capacity due to the company’s substantial list of capabilities. Proud to be ISO-certified, and uncompromised in its safety standards for their employees, National Material L.P is a leader through efficiency, innovation, and performance.