The UK economy is predicted to grow by 2.2% in 2014, and the Service sector looks like it will be the top performer. Good news perhaps, but now is certainly not the time for any business to be complacent. Whatever its market sector, all businesses need to raise their performance levels to ensure they are competitive, both nationally and globally. Of course having a stellar management team is a definite advantage. However, it’s often the basics, such as having efficient, robust systems in place, that are overlooked - a self-imposed barrier to raising your game. You may not even have proper systems; you just do it the way you’ve always done it.
Quality Standards have been around for well over 100 years. The British Standard Mark – the ‘Kitemark’ - was introduced way back in 1903 to reassure buyers that the product they were purchasing was quite simply “up to standard.” Today, it’s not just the quality of products that count but the quality of a business’s management systems. ISO 9001 is now the world’s most recognized standard with more than 1,000,000 organizations having certifications, with China at the top of the leader board.
ISO Standards now cover diverse areas such as environmental management, health and safety, energy performance, quality management specific to the aerospace industry, and the security of sensitive information and data, which certainly wasn’t on the agenda in 1903. Although ISO certification is not mandatory, there does appear to be a compelling business case, not least that many of the new Standards have been developed to ensure that businesses comply with current and new legislation. And complying with legislation is not voluntary.
So what can an ISO certification bring?
- Cost Savings by streamlining and optimizing processes and operations, improving profitability.
- Customer Satisfaction, increased credibility and confidence, and better customer service, which increase sales.
- A Toolkit to help you proactively manage your business effectively.
- The Framework for continuous improvement.
- Opening new markets by having preferred supplier status.
- More efficient use of resources.
- Improved risk management.
- Access to global management expertise and examples of best practice.
- Reassurance that you are complying with all necessary legislation.
Unlike previous Standards loathed by many, ISO is simple to manage and maintain. No longer is there the need to destroy a small rainforest with a mountain of paper-based documentation – it can all be handled on a web-based secure interface.
If you’re looking for a significant ROI, ISO certification looks like a pretty safe bet.