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The Importance of Certifications in Contract Manufacturing

By September 4, 2023September 5th, 2023Blog
A display of Machining Concepts' ISO 9001, AS9100, and ISO 13485 certifications.

Not just plaques but living, breathing aspects of our daily operations.

Introduction to Certifications

Contract manufacturing plays an increasingly critical role in today’s global business landscape, providing specialized production services for a myriad of industries, from aerospace and medical devices to consumer electronics. However, with great responsibility comes the necessity for stringent standards and quality assurance. This is where certifications like ISO 9001, AS9100, and ISO 13485 come into play.

The Necessity of Certifications

Certifications are more than just badges of honor. They serve as a guarantee for quality, safety, and operational efficiency. In the competitive field of contract manufacturing, certifications are often a prerequisite for bidding on projects, particularly those related to critical industries like aerospace or healthcare.

Common Certifications in Contract Manufacturing

Understanding common certifications can help both clients and manufacturers make informed decisions. Here’s a breakdown of three major certifications we’ll discuss today:

ISO 9001

  • What it is: ISO 9001 is a globally recognized certification for Quality Management Systems (QMS).
  • Industries it is relevant to: Virtually all, from automotive to textiles.
  • Benefits for contract manufacturers: Streamlined operations, global recognition, and an edge in customer acquisition.


  • What it is: An aerospace standard based on the ISO 9001 framework but with additional quality and safety measures.
  • Industries it is relevant to: Aerospace and defense.
  • Special requirements: Enhanced focus on risk management, product traceability, and configuration management.

ISO 13485

  • What it is: A Quality Management System certification specifically designed for the manufacture of medical devices.
  • Industries it is relevant to: Healthcare and medical device manufacturing.
  • Differences from ISO 9001: Additional requirements related to sterile manufacturing, traceability, and regulatory compliance.

Case Study: Machining Concepts

Here at Machining Concepts, our journey towards obtaining certifications like ISO 9001, AS9100, ISO 13485, as well as RoHS and REACH compliance, has been transformative, to say the least. We would like to take this opportunity to go deeper into the tangible impacts these certifications have had on our operations and customer relationships.

Expanding Market Reach

Before obtaining these certifications, our reach catered mainly to general manufacturing requirements. However, achieving the ISO 13485 for medical device manufacturing and AS9100 for aerospace allowed us to broaden our horizons immensely. We have been able to engage with high-profile clients in specialized industries, who view these certifications as non-negotiable prerequisites.

Reducing Product Defects and Returns for Enhanced Customer Satisfaction

Since obtaining certifications like ISO 9001, AS9100, and ISO 13485, we’ve been able to drastically minimize product defects thanks to rigorous quality management systems. The result? Fewer returns and happier customers. Many of these defects are now caught before they even leave our facility, eliminating potential dissatisfaction and costly recalls down the line.  Even further, the initial uptick of internal rejections has steadily declined  illustrating the team’s growing proficiency and adaptation to the higher standards.  This proactive approach to quality control has not only improved our product reliability but has also positively influenced our customer satisfaction metrics.

Enhancing Customer Trust and Retention

One of the immediate benefits post-certification was the increased level of trust from our existing customer base. Even in sectors where such certifications are not strictly necessary, the fact that we possess them has reassured our clients about our commitment to quality and excellence.

Streamlining Internal Operations

The road to certification was far from easy. It necessitated an overhaul of our internal processes to meet stringent standards. However, these changes were beneficial, yielding streamlined operations and reduced waste. For instance, the risk management requirements under AS9100 led us to develop a more comprehensive approach to identifying and mitigating potential production issues before they could affect product quality.

Invaluable Learning and Continuous Improvement

The process of obtaining and maintaining these certifications has instilled a culture of continuous improvement within the organization. Annual audits and periodic internal reviews ensure that we are always at the top of our game. The certifications are not just plaques on the wall but living, breathing aspects of our daily operations.

ROI on Certifications

While the upfront costs and time investments in obtaining these certifications were considerable, the return on investment (ROI) has been phenomenal. From opening new market segments to reducing internal inefficiencies, the financial and operational gains have far outweighed the initial expenditures.

Benefits of Certifications

For Clients

  • Assurance of Quality: When you partner with a certified manufacturer, you’re effectively minimizing risks related to quality and compliance.
  • Easier Compliance with Industry Regulations: A certified partner will already have processes that align with industry standards, making your job easier when it comes to audits and compliance checks.
  • Peace of Mind: Ensuring that the contract manufacturer meets globally recognized quality and safety standards, thereby minimizing risks related to product defects, compliance issues, and operational inefficiencies.

For Contract Manufacturers

  • Competitive Edge: In a crowded market, certifications help you stand out.
  • Improved Internal Processes: The certification process itself can act as a catalyst for organizational improvement, streamlining operations and enhancing efficiency.
  • Reputational Boost: Establishes them as credible, reliable, and committed to quality and safety, thereby enhancing their competitiveness in the global market.

The Certification Process

Obtaining certifications involves a multi-step process that includes an audit by an accredited body, extensive documentation, and implementation of appropriate Quality Management Systems. While it can be time-consuming and requires an upfront investment, the long-term benefits are undeniable.  Learn more here.


In a global market that’s more competitive than ever, certifications like ISO 9001, AS9100, and ISO 13485 serve as vital tools for establishing credibility, enhancing operations, and winning customer trust. Both clients and contract manufacturers have a lot to gain from recognizing the value of these certifications.

Additional Resources

For more information on each of these certifications, you can visit:

By understanding the importance of these certifications, you’re taking a crucial step towards ensuring quality and reliability in all your manufacturing endeavors. Choose wisely, and never underestimate the power of a well-earned certification.

Call to Action

If you’re a business seeking a contract manufacturer, always look for those who hold relevant certifications. It’s a hallmark of quality and reliability.

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