The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is the world’s largest developer of international standards. International standards make it possible to derive state of the art specifications for goods and services. This goes a long way in enhancing good practice which helps make the industry both efficient and effective. ISO standards are developed voluntarily, through global consensus and have played a key role in making global trade a reality.
ISO Certification is a seal of approval, usually from a third party body, that your company runs to one of the recognized ISO management systems.
For your boss to agree to ISO Certification, you’ll need to convince him on these six aspects of certification. That;
- ISO Certification is a statement to your stakeholders, senior management and employees – it tells everyone involved that the company wishes to operate to international standards in order to achieve the company’s objectives. Be it production objectives or customer satisfaction goals, having ISO Certification in place is a great way of putting yourselves to task and proving your company’s commitment to delivering these objectives. It increases company credibility and boosts customer confidence in the brand or the product or service. Most public and private sector tenders are now requesting ISO Certification either as a pre-requisite for consideration or as a step in filtering out bidders from the tendering process.
- ISO Certification is not a have all or nothing program – you can decide to ISO certify just parts of the business that you desire to have certified. You do not have to engage the entire company. Better still, you can always certify other areas of the business as the need arises, without any complications. It is such a great way to start. If and when you feel it’s working for you, you can then involve other departments of your company.
- There are several ISO standards to choose from, depending on company needs – actually, there are over 16,500 different management standards. The most popular program, which is also arguably the best place to start, is ISO 9001. This is a quality management standard, a platform on which other well known international standards are built. ISO 27001 is an information security management program. The company can decide to implement only one program.
- The ISO Certification process is NOT technical – Basically, there are four steps to getting certified;
- Write a documentation (typically forms, quality manuals and certain procedures) detailing what you do, how you do it, and proof that you do it. The documents must meet ISO standard.
- Training of employees, depending on responsibilities
- Use your quality system for some time (a few months)
- Get audited. And that’s it.
- It only takes a few months to get certified – of course this depends on the size and preparedness of the company. Many companies get certified in 6 months or less. Some have even been certified in three months. Generally, it takes between 6 and 12 months for medium sized companies.
- Direct benefits – getting certified directly benefits your company in several ways including;
• Improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to increased sales
• An increase in revenue and market share boosted by flexible and fast responses
• Efficient integration of internal processes leading to increased productivity
• Greater business performance and better management of costs
• Consistency in delivery of quality products
• Improved planning, communication and administration
The cost of certification widely varies and is best determined after you establish the cost of the certification itself, plus the cost of getting prepared.
ISO Certification is therefore invaluable to the bottom line on any company.