Reviews of ISO 9001 implementation packages and templates

There are many ISO 9001 implementation packages and documentation templates that allow companies to implement ISO 9001 in-house, but the qualitative differences are significant. Another key consideration is the template's adaptability to individual industries and businesses The following reviews are subjective opinions based on our own research, professional experience and feedback from Council members.

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9001Simplified

5 stars

Reviewed: 3 June 20182018154

9001Simplified was one of the first online vendors to market ISO 9001 template kits, thus enabling small businesses to achieve ISO 9001 certification for a fraction of the fees consultants typically charge. The company later simplified its ISO 9001 implementation tools and placed greater emphasis on practical, operational improvements. More recently the company innovated by introducing a template kit, the "ISO 9001 Certification Package", that can be configured automatically, prior to purchase.

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This configuration option is not one we've seen elsewhere and at the time of writing (June 2018) appears to be unique. It's an especially interesting feature insofar as it allows companies to tailor the Certification Package according to their precise needs and individual circumstances. The advantages of this approach are obvious – it makes subsequent customization easier, leads to better and more individualized ISO 9001 documentation, reduces certification costs and results in quicker ISO 9001 certification. Again, and at the risk of repeating ourselves, these unique configurations can be made automatically, prior to purchase.

The Certification Package includes everything we consider needed to implement an ISO 9001 Quality Management System. There are over 40 procedures that address every ISO 9001:2015 requirement, and more than 45 forms and checklists that complement the procedures. Also included is an internal audit package, a certification toolkit and ISO 9001 training. Project guide and customization instructions are detailed but the package includes unlimited support. The included "ISO 9001 Quality Manual" provides an easy way for companies to showcase their ISO 9001 system to inquiring customers - before completing the implementation. In certain situations this could be quite beneficial.

We tested the Certification Package in a simulated ISO implementation and found the procedures user-friendly, well-written and jargon-free. All ISO 9001:2015 requirements are met through practical, logical steps. The "process structure" version even eliminates duplication by combining some ISO 9001:2015 requirements (we prefer this configuration option unless we wanted to combine ISO 9001 with another ISO standard). Customization instructions are detailed and allow for easy modification to fit virtually all situations.

A final feature worth highlighting is efficiency: we found no unnecessary steps or requirements, and in our opinion this Certification Package should result in a lean Quality Management System that's easy and inexpensive to maintain. For most companies it should also pave the way to numerous operational improvements.

In summary, we consider 9001Simplified's Certification Package to be an unusually business-oriented template kit, and we applaud the company for taking this crucial element so seriously. We found the package well suited not just for easy and fast ISO 9001 certification, but for improving operational performance.

Business Value-Added: 5 stars (98%)

Ease of Use: 5 stars (95%)

Value/Price: 4.5 stars (92%)

The bottom line:

5 stars

(95%)

Easy9001

4.5 stars

Reviewed: 26 June 20182018177

Easy9001 offers only two products: a package to upgrade an ISO 9001:2008 system to meet ISO 9001:2015 requirements and an implementation kit, the "All-In-One Easy 9001 Toolkit". We found the Toolkit to be very comprehensive: as well as a detailed project guide, there are 45 procedures templates covering the entire spectrum of ISO 9001:2015, and over 60 additional forms and templates. Included training is limited to a PowerPoint presentation.

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The Toolkit includes many forms and other documentation templates, but the most important documents are the procedures. To find out if they are as "easy" as claimed, we evaluated them for usability, effectiveness and business value-added. The "easy" part is definitely noticeable throughout: Easy9001 appears to have designed the procedures for ease of customization and ease of use later on. In our opinion, the customization instructions are well-written and comprehensive, and allow for easy customization in a variety of business situations and industries. All procedures are set up so that they are useful for both service and manufacturing businesses. All in all, we think that the procedures templates and customization instructions may also allow you to create an effective ISO 9001 QMS that also adds business value – though this important aspect is apparently not Easy9001's priority. According to Easy9001, the most important goal is to achieve ISO 9001 certification quickly, and subsequent utilization of the QMS will automatically improve business operations. Though we are strong believers in implementing ISO 9001 for its value as a business improvement tool, we acknowledge Easy's approach.

The Toolkit's project guide is complete as well as practical. We think that anybody should be able to follow the clear implementation steps. The guide also references the numerous other implementation tools included, making their usage quite obvious. As mentioned, there are lots of other documents, forms and tools, including the documents necessary to set up an internal ISO 9001 audit program, and a PowerPoint presentation for staff training. Several components of the Toolkit are unusual and interesting. The "Insider Secrets for a Successful ISO 9001 Certification Audit", for example, contains information and advice that might alone justify the price of the Toolkit.

The result of our evaluation: we find the Toolkit good for quick and easy ISO 9001 certification, but just acceptable for business value-added. Based on our simulated ISO 9001 implementation at a small manufacturing company, we believe even a complete beginner can use this Toolkit to achieve ISO 9001 certification quickly and satisfactorily.

Business Value-Added: 4 stars (76%)

Ease of Use: 5 stars (98%)

Value/Price: 4 stars (83%)

The bottom line:

4.5 stars

(86%)

Epsilon Quality

1 star

Reviewed: 14 July 20182018195

As of mid-2018 Epsilon Quality's materials pertained only to the now obsolete ISO 9001:2008 Standard. Consequently, neither the company nor its products warrant too much attention. We will nonetheless add this review in order to illustrate other pitfalls buyers ought to be aware of and, where possible, avoid.

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Epsilon Quality offers documentation templates and a "Turn Key Program". While they don't offer an implementation kit, they sell a "modified for you" service of their documentation templates as well as an ISO 9001 certification service that issues an "Epsilon Quality ISO compliance certificate".

Epsilon's documentation templates consist of a "Quality Control Manual", a "Quality Systems Manual" that includes a set of ISO 9001 quality procedures, and a package, "Complete Documentation Program", that combines the Quality Control Manual and Quality Systems Manual. Notably, the Complete Documentation Program does not include an implementation guide, audit materials, training materials, or any other materials required to implement an efficient ISO 9001 Quality Management System.

The ISO 9001 procedures struck us as counter-intuitive, bureaucratic and rather technical. We don't think that their color coding feature is adding any practical value either; in fact, color-coded documentation only complicates documentation maintenance and the required color printing increases cost.

Epsilon Quality advertises a "Turn Key Program" that (within 48 hours) provides companies with a fully customized documentation package and a "guarantee" for ISO 9001 certification. We consider this grossly misleading: template kits will only ever bear fruition when managed by individuals intimately acquainted with the company, its business processes and culture. The guaranteed ISO 9001 certification is considered equally misleading as their certificate lacks authority and accreditation, rendering it useless.

And this leads us to a warning: if ready-made ISO 9001 documentation or a guarantee that ISO 9001 certification is on offer, be wary. Implementing an effective ISO 9001 Quality Management System requires time and effort, and there are many company-internal factors that impact the success of the ISO 9001 certification audit. The benefits that typically accrue after certification can be immense, but no kit will enable companies to achieve these gains overnight or without dedicated effort.

Business Value-Added: 0.5 star (9%)

Ease of Use: 2.5 stars (48%)

Value/Price: 0.5 star (13%)

The bottom line:

1 star

(23%)

Forms 'n' More

3 stars

Reviewed: 18 October 20162016291

In addition to forms, Forms 'n' More offers templates for an ISO 9001 procedures manual, "Quality plus Procedures Manual", and an ISO 9001 quality manual, "Quality Manual". However, the company offers neither an ISO 9001 implementation package, nor a project guide for the ISO 9001 implementation. We reviewed both documentation templates.

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First of all, the "Quality Manual" is a no-frills template for an optional ISO 9001 quality manual (without procedures), which is no longer required under ISO 9001:2015. The "Quality plus Procedures Manual" includes more than 25 procedures covering just over half of all ISO 9001:2015 clauses. We were particularly disappointed by the procedures for the new ISO 9001:2015 requirements (for example, risk-based thinking and context of the organization) as those procedures are very thin; in fact, they appear to be more of a rewrite of the actual ISO 9001:2015 requirements rather than contain instructive and workable processes. We consider the included customization instructions to be not detailed enough for a variety of business situations. As a result, these procedures templates will not suffice as basis of a business-friendly ISO 9001 QMS in our opinion.

Business Value-Added: 2 stars (44%)

Ease of Customization: 3 stars (62%)

Value/Price: 4 stars (77%)

The bottom line:

3 stars

(61%)

Oxebridge

2 stars

Reviewed: 27 February 20182018058

Oxebridge is an ISO 9001 consulting firm operated by a controversial individual named Christopher Paris. Christopher takes the view that template kits "suck" and attempts to prove his point by offering one for free. Being designed to "suck", we weren't surprised to find the Oxebridge kit a good tool for Christopher's purposes, but problematic for implementing an ISO 9001 system.

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The Oxebridge template kit lacks many of the features of a real template kit. For example, the essential project guide and detailed customization instructions are missing. In their place, the kit includes an "instructions" document containing a thinly veiled sales pitch for Oxebridge's consultancy services and Christopher's e-book on ISO 9001 (which he advertises as having an "adult language warning"). We consider the highlighted tips within the template text insufficient in guiding meaningful customization and adopting the templates to individual situations. The 25 forms and the audit checklist included with the kit are rather limited in number and mixed in practical usability. Particularly forms in Excel format initially impressed due to their complexity but, in our simulated application, lead to unnecessary confusion and frustration in required setup and practical use. On the other hand, we found forms like the "Approved Supplier List" inadequate and inefficient. Further, in our opinion, there are no forms and checklists, nor are there any tools to set up an internal audit program for those who intend to implement their own QMS without Oxebridge procedures.

We found the Oxebridge kit to contain sample ISO 9001 documentation with numerous shortcomings. For starters, we found that most of the procedures included with the kit lack real, actionable content and instructions. Though some procedures contain instructions in the form of numbered lists, other procedures seem to contain little more than reworded ISO 9001 requirements. Our review found that the kit also fails to address several ISO 9001:2015 requirements, resulting in incomplete ISO 9001 documentation for those unable to fill the gaps. Part of the Oxebridge kit are three versions of a "Quality Manual": documents that are no longer required by ISO 9001:2015 and that, in their current form, we consider to add limited practical value and usability to the QMS. We could imagine the "mini" version useful as a marketing tool if the QMS is based on Oxebridge procedures; the "numbered by clauses" version follows the structure of Annex SL for companies attempting to integrate with another ISO standard; the "free form" version appears to be an attempt of introducing more efficiency into the QMS by creating an alternate structure. While we applaud this endeavor, we think that manual and references to the procedures are structured in a bizarre way, combining some ISO 9001:2015 requirements and breaking up others in seemingly random fashion.

During our evaluation we also came to a rather troubling conclusion. As the shortcomings of this kit are not immediately obvious, users may invest significant time and effort before realizing they won't be able to implement ISO 9001 without the assistance of an Oxebridge consultant. We encourage those who think that nothing is lost by trying a free template kit to consider the motives of the Oxebridge consulting company.

Business Value-Added: 3 stars (58%)

Ease of Use: 1.5 stars (30%)

Value/Price: N/A (cannot rate)

The bottom line:

2 stars

(44%)

QualityManualTemplates (QMT)

4 stars

Reviewed: 11 May 20172017131

QualityManualTemplates offers an "ISO 9001:2015 Certification Package" as well as templates, forms and guides (you can even purchase individual forms). The Certification Package is quite complete, with extensive documentation templates (more than 40 procedures covering all ISO 9001:2015 requirements), an "essential forms package", which includes 23 forms that go hand in hand with the procedures, an audit package, gap analysis checklist and project guide, and extensive customization instructions for the templates.

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Our review found the procedures templates to be well written: their layout is pleasing and clear, and the described processes are straightforward. The procedures generally strike the right level of detail. Only the design-related procedures are a bit lacking, which make this template sub-optimal for companies involved in design activities. Other than that, all procedures are integrated into the "process oriented" ISO 9001 procedures manual – a well structured document that uses a so-called "process structure" instead of following the structure and numbering system of ISO 9001:2015. We found this process structure intuitive and easy to use, but it may not be ideal for companies wanting to integrate ISO 9001 with another ISO standard; for those companies, we recommend QMT's regular quality & procedures manual. The customization instructions are detailed and well balanced, making them easy to use in a wide range of circumstances. We think that most companies (with the exception of those involved in design activities) will be able to customize the templates without difficulty.

The included project guide is a useful tool with clear instructions that even beginners should be able to follow. The guide's extensive appendix is one of the most all-inclusive we have seen – it even includes an executive overview of ISO 9001:2015.

All in all, we consider this to be a comprehensive package. While some forms are missing (design planning and engineering changes, for example), the package can be considered a solid tool with which to set up an ISO 9001 QMS. The price is attractive.

Business Value-Added: 4 stars (76%)

Ease of Use: 4 stars (81%)

Value/Price: 5 stars (95%)

The bottom line:

4 stars

(84%)

Tips about ISO 9001 documentation templates and implementation packages
We hope our reviews will be helpful. However, you shouldn't make any purchase decision merely based on our opinion but rather evaluate for yourself. Please see our tips in How to select good ISO 9001 templates.

Reviews of ISO 9001 forms and checklists

Companies planning to implement ISO 9001 in-house will need to make use of numerous forms and checklists. Such forms (which can be bought individually or as packaged collections) can vary significantly in terms of design, user-friendliness and ease of customization. Packaged collections vary too – some packages are more complete than others, and some contain forms which simply aren't needed. The following reviews are subjective opinions based on our own research, professional experience and feedback from Council members.

9001Simplified

5 stars

Reviewed: 3 June 2018

9001Simplified offers a collection of 46 important ISO 9001 forms and checklists (which are also referenced in the company's procedures template). The forms include process definition, risk management, corrective and preventive action, gap analysis, record retention guide and others crucial to in-house ISO 9001 implementation. All are professionally designed, as well as easy to use and customize. The forms are recommended for their quality and excellent value.

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Business Value-Added: 5 stars (97%)

Ease of Use: 4.5 stars (91%)

Value/Price: 5 stars (96%)

The bottom line:

5 stars

(95%)

QualityManualTemplates

4 stars

Reviewed: 11 May 2017

QualityManualTemplates offers 23 essential ISO 9001 forms, each of which is professionally designed, easy to use and business-friendly. The forms are also simple to customize: detailed instructions are included. While each form is available individually, the company's "ISO 9001:2015 Essential Forms Package" includes all 23 and represents better value.

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Business Value-Added: 4.5 stars (86%)

Ease of Use: 4 stars (81%)

Value/Price: 4 stars (84%)

The bottom line:

4 stars

(84%)

Forms 'n' More

3 stars

Reviewed: 18 October 2016

Forms 'n' More is an online vendor offering a broad selection of ISO 9001 forms and checklists. The company's website is slightly confusing however – several forms required for ISO 9001 implementation are listed in the "HR Forms" section rather than the "ISO 9000 Forms" section. The appearance of the forms is generally good, though most cannot be filled easily on a computer (typing on them causes the entire layout to change), making them cumbersome for companies that prefer not to use hard copies. Another usability and efficiency issue is that some forms require duplicate data.

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Business Value-Added: 3 stars (60%)

Ease of Use: 2.5 stars (51%)

Value/Price: 4 stars (83%)

The bottom line:

3 stars

(65%)

Tips about ISO 9001 forms and checklists
We hope our reviews will be helpful. However, you shouldn't make any purchase decision merely based on our opinion but rather evaluate for yourself. Please see our tips in How to select good ISO 9001 templates.

Reviews of ISO 9001 training

ISO 9001 training programs include traditional class-based tuition (public and on-site), seminars and workshops, online courses and videos. The following reviews are subjective opinions based on our own research, professional experience and feedback from Council members.

TÜV Rheinland Group

5 stars

Reviewed: 18 May 2018

The TÜV Rheinland Group enjoys an outstanding reputation for its range of ISO 9001 Quality Management training courses. Training spans a number of sectors (industry, service providers, health service and hospitals, for example); formats include seminars, webinars, workshops and events. Tuition is presented by qualified, practicing auditors and other experienced QMS professionals. TÜV Rheinland also works in partnership with selected universities and colleges, and grants licenses to administer its ISO 9001 courses.

Fees are perhaps slightly higher than the industry average, but the payback in terms of quality is well worth the investment. In in our opinion, TÜV Rheinland is one of the leaders in this field and we highly recommend their services.

StandardsCourses

4.5 stars

Reviewed: 3 May 2018

StandardsCourses is a long-established online vendor with a reputation for high quality, reasonably-priced products. Many of their ISO 9001 training courses have been created by some of the world's most respected QMS professionals The company offers training in two, easy-to-use formats:

Online courses (intensive, interactive e-Learning)

DVD courses (multimedia presentations for group training)

Either format allows learners to undertake ISO 9001 training onsite, thereby avoiding the need to travel to public classes or the expense of hiring an outside instructor. We found the DVD training courses informative and enjoyable, and overall surprisingly effective. Course durations range from 20-30 minutes – an appropriate length for use in employee or management meetings. All DVDs are accompanied by learning guides, which allows video presentations to be paused in order that attendees can take notes and maintain records of the training session.

The online courses are designed for individuals. The learner proceeds through the course and the content adjusts as he or she progresses. There are also practical examples that enable the learner to easily connect the ISO 9001 requirements to the operations of their own company, while the summaries and quizzes encourage the learner to retain the study materials.

In summary, we recommended these courses: they offer great value for money and in terms of content and teaching style, the quality is exemplary.

Plexus Training

4.5 stars

Reviewed: 29 November 2015

Plexus Training offers public courses at conference centers and hotels, as well as customized courses on-site. The company has an excellent interactive training approach, knowledgeable teachers and a fine global reputation. If you are interested in traditional training classes, Plexus Training is a thoroughly reliable choice.

Information on ISO 9001

There are many sources of information about ISO 9001 on the internet: most publishers of ISO 9001 implementation packages, ISO 9001 consultants and registrars make available lots of very good information on their websites. Other recommended resources are highlighted below.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

This is the official ISO website, where you'll find information on the organization itself, on the ISO 9000 standards series, as well as other ISO standards. You can also find links to national quality bodies, such as ANSI for the USA. The site is a quite hard to navigate at times and some articles are very technical. Here are some useful links:

ISO also publishes a monthly newsletter, ISOfocus, which can be accessed free of charge in PDF format. The newsletter covers a range of topics, is well-written and a pleasure to read. Only a small amount of the content pertains to ISO 9001:2015 (the case studies are especially interesting), but it's a fine resource, nonetheless.

The Quality Forum Online

We were made aware of this forum after some of our members used it and informed us of their generally positive experiences. The Quality Forum Online has two sections devoted to ISO 9001: one covers ISO 9001:2008, the other focuses on ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management Systems. The forum isn't particularly active, but the community is friendly and willing to share its knowledge and offer advice. There's no need to join if you simply want to browse some of the threads and read through the archives.

Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia with content provided and updated by its users. The website provides some interesting information about the history of the ISO 9000 family of standards, the different ISO 9000 revisions, certification and auditing, and industry-specific versions. There is also a discussion on some of the criticism concerning the ISO 9000 series.

ISO 9001 registrars

Selecting an ISO 9001 registrar that fits your individual circumstances is important. There are many criteria but the most important one is the registrar's accreditation: beware of registrars that offer certification without accreditation – attempting to use such a "certification" for marketing purposes often backfires and exposes the holder of the certificate as untrustworthy. A quick search on Google should turn up numerous ISO 9001 registrars in your nearest large town or city.

BSI Group

Headquartered in London, BSI Group is the National Standards Body of the United Kingdom and one of world's largest certification bodies. BSI is a non-profit distributing organization and offers global services in the linked fields of standardization, systems assessment, product certification, training and advisory services. As of mid-2018, BSI had 76 offices serving over 80,000 clients in 182 countries

DNV

Det Norske Veritas (DNV) is one of the world's largest certification and accreditation companies. We have had excellent experience with their auditors over the years. Also, pricing is very competitive. If your company has operations around the world, you will especially appreciate that DNV has local auditors in many regions and countries.

TÜV Rheinland Group

Founded in 1872, the TÜV Rheinland Group is a global giant that tests, monitors, develops, promotes and certifies products, equipment, processes and management systems in accordance with ISO Standards and other performance benchmarks. Companies that have used TÜV's services to achieve ISO 9001 certification can take advantage of Certipedia, an online certificate database. The database allows companies to create a personal Certipedia page that showcases their certifications and provides independent proof to the public.

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