Why do I need ISO?

Improve your customer experience

You may have heard of the 5 “Y’s” which is a tool developed in the 1930’s by, Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota Industries, to drill down to the root cause of a problem!

Well, here are my 6 “Y’s” to highlight what may be stopping your business growing from increasing profits and reducing costs. Achieving an ISO certification helps with business growth through the identification of product or service failures which may be caused by failing processes and systems.

Ask yourself:

  • Why is the business is losing customers?
  • Why are ISO standards difficult to understand?
  • Why are ISO standards difficult to implement?
  • Why did I get let down by a previous consultant?
  • Why is the business failing to meet deadlines?
  • Why do I not know if I am legally compliant or up to date?

If you update and invest in your management systems, then customers should stay faithful as your management systems will reduce product returns or reduce the number of customer complaints. If there is an increase in product or service failures, returns and customer complaints, this could ultimately tarnish your professional image, damaging your reputation and resulting in loss of revenue, contracts and customer confidence.

Customer and client confidence are the key to unlock your potential. ISO’s will standardise and formalise your documentation while showing your competitors you are maintaining international standards and looking to continually improve.

Get a better understanding of ISO

ISO standards are not written in a way that are easily understood. However, there are additional ISO standards that may help make things clearer, e.g. ISO9001:2015 are the requirements needed to meet the standard which you may already know about. Meanwhile while ISO/TS 9002:2016 provides guidance on the intent of the requirements in ISO 9001:2015 to implement a Quality Management System. Most ISO requirements have a guidance of intent as asset with implementation, so don’t be put off by what the requirements are, there is always help at hand.

An ISO consultant can be a great asset to provide advice and guidance on how to implement a management system. However, they are not essential; we all had to start from somewhere and being thrown in the deep end with no prior knowledge was my initiation! That said a consultant can fill in the gaps and take up the challenges which the business does have the skills to do. Of course, there is a small investment, but cost this against business growth and expansion is a no-brainer.

Short term cost = Long term investment

Implement at your own pace

Implementation is generally based on
cost, time and effort. The size of your business will impact  the
cost of the project, how long it will take
and how much effort you want to commit
to it. I would expect implementation to
be completed within 3-6 months, it
may take longer depending on the
complexity or the amount of ISO’s you are wanting. It will also depend on the support from top management, CEO, Directors, business owners and their appetite to achieve an ISO standard for your business or organisation.

You may have time constraints which require you to achieve certification over a certain period due to a special project or a pending contract where you are required to have it.  This is where a consultant can be useful, as they will guide you through the process logically and ensure you keep on track with meeting all the milestones towards certification.

My last ISO consultant let me down

“taking too long”, “not engaging”, “unrealistic expectations” are some of the stories I have been told during some networking events.

Provide re-assurance can be difficult, but fortunately there are various ways to discover whether you have chosen the right consultant;

  • Carry out some due diligence. E.g. are they a limited company or sole trader, are they VAT registered, are they active on social media such as LinkedIn or Facebook.
  • Look at their website. E.g. is it up to date, blogs, newsletters, is the information relevant.
  • Set up a meeting. Working with a consultant is all about the relationship. E.g. will the consultant fit in, are they approachable.
  • Check ISO qualifications, memberships, do they have references or a portfolio of clients.

If a consultant is just starting out you could base your decision on their skills, knowledge and experience from previous roles gathered over time, and of course ISO qualifications.

Setting project milestones and targets during the proposal stage will identify what is required by both parties. It will also dismisses any confusion about the responsibilities of the consultant to ensure they meet your expectations in achieving ISO certification.

Its deadline!

Meeting deadlines and achieving customer satisfaction should be at the heart of all businesses – In many cases, your customers choose to come back to the business because of the connections they make with the employees and the quality of your product or service.

Deadlines can be missed because of;  a lack of leadership, failure in processes, poorly trained or misplaced staff. ISO standards provide you with tools to meet those deadlines by:

  • Improving internal and external communication
  • Setting objectives
  • Analysing and managing risks to the business
  • Conducting internal audits on processes
  • Reviewing management systems
  • Improving the customer experience and continual improving

The legal eagle!

Being compliant to regulations and following regulations is an extremely important element of any business. You always want to make sure to protect the business, staff, customers and product or service you provide.

Working with the ISO standard will provide the requirements needed to achieve the
standard, gain certification and remain compliant. It will make you look at all aspects of your business and consider such things as:

  • What your business does.
  • Identifying what the internal and external issues are within your business or organisation.
  • Discovering and understand the needs and expectations of those who have an interest in
  • your business.
  • Leadership and commitment.
  • s
  • Support e.g. resources, competence
  • Operational activity.

ISO standards have many benefits that will help and support businesses from sectors of all different sizes, which may give you the edge over your competitors, enhance your reputation, increase profits, reduce losses and minimise the risk to the business. But the most important benefit for any business is about customer satisfaction and continuous improvement.

‘Y’ it will help

Simply put from the “6Y’s” will

  • Help your business or organisation focus on planning ahead to make sure you have the right resources and knowledge in your organisation in order to improve customer satisfaction and ensure they return.
  • Provide you with the tools to gain a greater understanding of what is required to meet the standards, such as the use of a Consultant who will put ISO into context which will be easier to understand
  • Simplify the implementation process by engaging with a Consultant who can explain the standards in manageable terms and   improve your understanding.
  • Confirm the level of skills, knowledge and experience of a Consultant by agreeing implementation objectives and targets to meet your business requirements.
  • Improve meeting deadlines with employee engagement by defining their key roles, responsibilities, encouraging internal communications through review and internal audits analysing and managing risks.
  • Make sure you are legally compliant, following regulations which are applicable to your business and meeting the customers and other interested parties need.s

If you’re unsure whether you can stand to benefit from ISO certification then book a free 30-minute consultation.

Book a consultation with Douglas.