ISO standards are so widely used in business that for many people, the ISO name is linked to its management standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
What is less well known is that ISO management systems offer the same benefits to smaller businesses as they do to multinationals. By bringing a methodical and harmonized approach, complex concepts such as quality management are defined in a way that is easy to grasp and implement. But more than this ISO Standards have proven potential to save money through more efficient use of resources, such as energy.
Below you can find out more about the most commonly-used business management standards, who develops them, and new projects in the pipeline.
Being certified/accredited by ISO standard means, as a company, you follow a set of guidelines that ensure your products and service are of the highest quality, instilling customers trust in the product and service you deliver.
Having the ISO certification/accreditation improves your customers, shareholders and employees perception of your brand, enhancing your brand’s image through a willingness to strive for improved efficiency and quality.
Key roles and responsibilities are established for your staff members, increasing their motivation and efficiency.
Having ISO systems in place increases the efficiency and productivity of your business, reducing product recalls, highlighting product/service deficiencies, allowing improvements that result in less waste and fewer customer complaints.
Customers will notice that orders are met consistently, on time and to the correct specification. This can open up the market place to increased opportunities.
Companies that have been certified against an ISO standard have reported better sales growth than companies that aren’t certified.
Improves financial performance
A study has found that being certified by ISO standard improves financial performance measured by the return of assets (ROA).
Improving Tender Success
Been beat to a contract because your competitor is certified? Many organisations no longer accept bids from companies that do not hold ISO certification. By being able to show that you run an ISO system, you are more likely to be considered for a contract as you are showing that you are a professional company with a commitment to providing a quality service, no matter what your company size is. This will help you gain the edge over any competitors and level the playing field with larger companies.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
The number one target for the majority of businesses. Happy customers. As a small business, you will know that the key to repeat business is high-quality customer service. Running an ISO management system can build on your customer satisfaction by improving your running as a company. You will be able to identify and resolve customer relation issues quicker, smarter, and more efficiently before the customer even knows it. You can also prove to potential customers that you are a consistent and reliable company, through the successful marketing of your standard.
Increased Business Efficiency
When you are a small business, being efficient with your resources can be an effective way of reducing wasted time, money and effort. Running an ISO system can help you to manage your use of a resource so that you can identify aspects where savings can be made and acted on them. This will help your small business as it allows you to re-allocate your resources to aspects that need it more, keeping your company running smoothly.
Making Business Decisions on Facts- not Feelings
Having a feeling something is a good idea should not be the reason you make that business decision. It is a risk and shouldn’t be gambling, especially when you are a small business. With ISO certification, you can look at the facts before you make a business decision, so you can support your choice with the appropriate figures and be able to predict the outcome.
Small businesses should seek out ISO certification if they have ambition and willingness to grow. The benefits that can be enjoyed by your company fully outweigh the cost, solidifying the future of your company.
The process approach: Establishing uniform processes in the early days of business can yield great benefits as your startup grows. Forming common processes in these early days not only can help your organization provide consistent products and services, but will also provide a sound foundation for expansion and growth. Introducing new employees to processes that are established and well documented can help save on time, cost, and accuracy of delivery.
Business Risk Assessment: ISO standards, asks Organizations to identify Issues- internal and external. It asks organizations to identify and rate Risks and Opportunities, and identify appropriate operational Controls.
The Plan, Do, Check, Act model: This is a fundamental part of the ISO standard, and learning to use this effectively can benefit any startup business. At a time when the speed of action seems very important to a young business, it may well pay to build a culture amongst your staff where careful planning, monitoring, and adjustment of actions taken helps to provide excellent and consistent results for the startup.
Drive your sales up: In the article How can ISO standards boost your sales activities, we considered how implementing the standard can grow sales for your business. Using customer feedback, learning how to monitor and review, developing an effective corrective action process, and building a culture of continuous improvement can all help to drive sales. Establishing these good habits in the early days of a startup can help to establish a good practice that helps your startup grow.
Developing a vigilant attitude to risk and opportunity: While risk and opportunity are critical elements of the ISO standard, these items have always been at the centre of successful businesses. Building a culture where startup employees have a keen eye for risk and opportunity will serve a business well, and allow profits to be maximized while risks are identified early and can be mitigated.
Control of change management: One thing that is certain is that change will happen throughout the early stages of a start-up. Inability to handle change and develop accordingly is one of the main reasons that many start-ups do not survive through the first two years of business.
We consider how the ISO Standard can help an organization control and manage change with the correct mix of planning, action, and review. Planning for change is one of the most sensible things an aspirational startup can do, and recently has become a fashionable topic for investors to ask start-up businesses about before making a financial commitment. After all, if a start-up is not equipped for change, then growth cannot happen.
Setting goals and objectives: Goals and objectives are key elements of the ISO standards and critical elements for any new business. Establishing the practice of setting, reviewing, and taking action against objectives and the subsequent results is a vital part of driving growth and improvement early in a new business’s life.
It soon becomes clear that implementing ISO standards can bring many strengths as well as benefits to a start-up, but is there anything else to note?
ISO standards’ certification benefits all aspects of a business. Some of the key benefits of ISO 9001 certification are the following:
- Structured and efficient processes management
- Business Risk Assessment
- High customer satisfaction and retention
- Improved quality and service
- Higher potential for clients and contracts
- Trusted and valued information and results about the business
- Better business reputation
- Consistent processes
- Increased business turnover
Last, but not least, certifying your organization according to ISO standards means getting organized, and getting organized means continual improvement, and continual improvement guarantees a sustainable business. Who wouldn’t want that?
The ISO standards certification is something every company should endeavour to obtain, the benefits speak for themselves and customers should consider this certification when ordering products or service.