There are many uses of the ISO acronym. These uses vary significantly from one field to another. In business, it means one thing while in chemistry and other sciences; it means an entirely different thing. It is common to see many corporations boasting about having multiple ISO certifications. So, what does ISO stand for? Here is a comprehensive analysis of the meaning of the ISO abbreviation in different scenarios.
What does ISO mean? In layman terms, ISO stands for ‘In Search Of’. When you come across the abbreviation while having a casual conversation, your best bet is to assume that this is what ISO means. However, in sciences, it is a prefix that means ‘equal'.The acronym can also be used to mean isolation.
In medicine, it stands for the Immunization Safety Office. Curious about how many meanings of this acronym exist? According to the Acronym Finder, there are at least 376 meanings. A few notable ones are:
- In Support Of
- Incentive Stock Option
- Imperial Symphony Orchestra
- Independent Scholar Option
- Imperial Service Order
- Illinois Symphony Orchestra
- Information Systems Officer
- International Science Olympiad
- Intelligence and Security Officer
- Infrared Space Observatory
These are some of the many ways to define ISO. The most common ISO definition is used in business and is recognized internationally.
What does ISO stand for? The most common definition explained
The acronym stands for the International Organization for Standardization. As the name suggests, it is an international body that is in charge of setting standards worldwide for best practices in all professional fields.
The organization brings together standard organization representatives from member countries all over the world. Currently, there are 164 member organizations. The reason behind the abbreviation is to standardize the meaning regardless of the language barrier among members.
While operating as a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, it has set more than twenty thousand standards so far. There are numerous corporations worldwide that adhere to these standards and take pride in doing business according to them.
You might have seen many brands proudly proclaiming that they are ISO 9001:2015 certified and wondered, what does this mean? This is the international standard for the implementation of a quality management system (QMS).
Because it is proof of product quality, it is often displayed on most certified products. It is also an indicator of proper management, which explains why every recipient takes pride in it.
What does ISO do?
The ISO meaning broadly defines what the organization does. More specifically, the organization is in charge of giving product and service specifications that ensure quality and efficiency. These standards are voluntary and do not have to be adhered to by law. However, they are crucial for the facilitation of international trade and also boost consumers' confidence in a brand.
The organization, through representatives in member countries, develops, enforces, and evaluates adherence to standards annually. Members often work with quality assurance departments.
Despite it being voluntary, it is in the best interest of any business to become ISO certified. The requirements for certification help businesses reduce errors and wastage in operation. Therefore, all manufacturers are bound to benefit greatly by adhering to the standards.
It is important to understand that the organization does not perform certification. It only creates international standards. The actual certification is done by various bodies in member countries. External certification bodies have guidelines to follow before issuing certificates. It is, therefore, incorrect to say that a business is "certified by ISO". The correct term is, "ISO 9001 -2015 certified".
Why is ISO important?
The world has a diverse mix of people with different languages, cultures, business practices, education systems, and even standards of measure.
This diversity creates a need for an organization that will define the best practices, common units of measurement, common languages for business, and best production processes. It was on this premise that this organization was formed.
Small businesses, as well as corporations, benefit greatly from becoming ISO certified. The standards give three guarantees:
1. Creation of reliable, safe and top-quality products
Before you can export any product to a new market overseas, you have to have proof of its quality. Being certified means that your product has met the required international standards and can be distributed and consumed safely. When setting up a new factory or business, having a certification proves that you adhere to efficient production practices with minimal wastage and errors.
2. Facilitation of entry into new markets for businesses
When looking to partner with overseas companies in international trade, a business needs proof of its new partner's reliability. The certification provides assurance that regardless of the differences in local practice, the foreign company is reliable.
3. Improvement of production practices
Any business that desires to improve its production processes can do so by following the recommended standards. Some of these standards include recommendations for the right production practices, recycling, and sourcing of materials from all over the world.
How to get ISO certification
Even though this certification is not compulsory, there are some business niches that have a legal or contractual requirement for certification. To become certified, a business, institution, or company should open itself up to scrutiny and monitoring of its business by external accreditation bodies.
Accreditation can be a long and drawn-out process due to the number of recommendations. Adapting a business' existing processes to suit international practices takes time and commitment. Once all requirements have been met, an International Organization for Standardization certificate is awarded. So, what does ISO stand for? In simple terms, it is a mark of quality for a business.