Understanding ISO certification and its Importance

Understanding ISO certification and its Importance

Understanding ISO certification and its Importance

Customer satisfaction drives growth in industries.  To this end, organizations all over the world invest heavily to stand out as leaders in their sectors. One great way that they achieve this is by getting ISO certified.

What does ISO represent?

 A non-governmental body, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)’s objectives involve setting standards for management systems, manufacturing processes, documentation procedures and services, all with the aim of maintaining quality, safety and efficiency across the board.

Founded in 1947, ISO has since developed over 23,000 published standards across 165 countries worldwide. Their standards are well researched by carefully chosen experts in particular fields who recommend ways of further improving processes. These ways are then voted in for consensus. To create a standard, the following has to occur:

  • There has to be a need for that standard in the market.
  • There has to be a gathering of global experts.
  • It has to be developed through a multi-stakeholder process.
  • All parties must reach a consensus.

Meeting all these requirements takes time. The average time for the creation of one standard is three years.

“We are ISO certified.” What does this mean?

To be ISO certified means that your organization has complied with the standards in their area of business. Certification is obtained from a 3rd party who will audit your organization, as ISO itself does not do it. The process of certification may take up to a year, and depends on the size of your company. Let’s look at an example:

Company B is ISO 9001:2015 Certified

9001, here stands for the family of standards, and 2015 represents the year the version was created.  Company B has been audited and is found to be compliant in the following areas:

  • The company is customer-focused.
  • Its leadership structure is in line with ISO recommendations.
  • People are involved in key decision making.
  • Processes are well documented and are in line with ISO.
  • The company continuously improves.
  • Decision-making is based on facts.
  • There is a healthy relationship between a company and its suppliers.

Should I get my company ISO certified?

Companies that are ISO certified:

  • Have an edge with tenders and contracts.
  • Save time and money since all processes are geared towards efficiency.
  • ISO processes ensure that customer satisfaction is at the top of the company’s priorities, enabling it to get more business.
  • Boost the company’s credibility for obtaining grants and loans.
  • Get more value out of their resources.

Before you make this decision, it’s essential to consider the following:

Is it necessary? Perform a cost-benefit analysis to see the added cost of doing business in line with implementation vis-à-vis customer growth.

Can I achieve it? ISO implementation is a team effort. You would have to get all staff and stakeholders on board. If they are not supportive, your efforts could fail.

Can I afford it? Implementation of standards requires consultation with a specialist. You have to create an extra budget to cater to this.

Takeaways

An ISO certified organization does possess an added advantage in terms of credibility, but they have to continually adhere to those standards for them to be effective.

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