Five reasons to get an ISO
One of the key basis for acquiring an ISO standard should be to get a better set of procedures and working practices for ongoing improvement of the business. This being the main aim of the company, here are five alternative reasons to consider an ISO.
1: ISO to be able to apply for public sector tenders
As we discovered in the previous blog, ‘The importance of Quality Management Certification when tendering for NHS contracts’, public sector organisations are increasingly asking for an ISO in recognition of the ISO standard’s impact on systems and quality control within potential contract companies. When applicant organisations are considering whether to get an ISO as a way to meet such tender requirements, they should not look at the tender opportunity in isolation – as the cost of an ISO if it is only for a chance to win the tender will not give the feedback necessary. But if the full rewards are considered – not just in giving the ability to apply for a tender (which does not mean winning it) but also in the benefits of the systems that an ISO will infer on the organisation thereafter – this becomes a far healthier proposition. Therefore the reward of ISO certification should be looked upon as gaining a means of improving standards and systems within the company and not just a quick way to win contracts. It is thus an ongoing reward that pays dividends with longevity.
2: ISO for growing organisations: to save management time and align team goals
To allow your organisation to evolve from a small, fast growing, operation into a medium-sized, fast growing, operation, whilst keeping control of everything, is often a driver to attain ISO certification for management. Growth of staff numbers usually results in losing the familiar Director-to-individual-team-member links that have driven the company forward to this point. The installation of an ISO system will ensure that all staff, at all levels, will be working towards the same, clear and appropriate goals. The outset of the process in adopting an ISO could be daunting for management, because of fears that it will detract and take too much management time. This should not be the case, however, and while comprehensive system creation does initially take time to get completed optimally, once the team are aligned in their end goals, the company is free to grow exponentially without the need for time to re-adjust and re-write the old ways. The savings in future management time thereafter dramatically repay the effort required.
3: ISO for legal compliance and meeting market demand
Some market areas (aviation/defence/space and automotive for example) require that organisations have the appropriate standards as entry level requirements – and some even require it for legal reasons (eg forensics evidence generation). There are other areas that require formal registration for the products and which acknowledge an ISO standard as an appropriate approach (eg CE marking and medical devices).
Thus for those organisations wishing to operate in or move into these fields, the appropriate standard is necessary – technically demanding as the market specific standards may be. This is as true in these fields for a one man band (eg an acoustics engineer) as it would be for a large organisation (eg a public supplier of drinking water).
The reasons behind these market requirements are the same reasons that having an ISO standard is good for business – any ISO requires a controlled approach to all activities in a way that oversight is consistent and improvements built in – and these specific markets recognise that this is a way of demonstrating competent operation – and thus consistency and reliability of supply.
4: ISO following acquisition or merger
Companies that have grown through acquisition or merger are likely to contain different systems across a range of sites which do not coordinate, link or even match mutual ideals. To switch to common systems, which can be infinitely duplicated in case of further expansion, will ultimately ensure coordination and alignment of the company, even across a range of sites. Even for a larger company to undertake such an alignment of systems, assistance from external ISO consultants may be necessary. Once the initial alignment has been achieved and ISO systems are adopted across the board it is possible that an in-house full time Quality Assurance Specialist can take on the management of the resulting systems.
5: ISO for globally recognised excellence
If none of the four previous reasons describe your situation, then to obtain a third party audited, globally recognised, label of excellence is still a strong driver on its own! This is often the main reason for a company to undertake an ISO and applies to all operations of all sizes.
With an ISO in place, your organisation can achieve better procedures so that they can reduce waste, increase profit, encourage staff morale and customer retention, increase scope and return to shareholders and owners, all at the same time as making your customers happier.
ISO systems are based on globally accepted good practice – and this is known and understood around the world – if you are not following these, there needs to be a good reason not to!
Carl Kruger on
0845 600 6975