Certification to an ISO standard should not just be a tick-box exercise – it should also always offer real and measurable value to your business.
A quick search of the internet will yield hundreds of results on how ISO standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 50001, have saved organisations money, improved efficiency and helped retain customers new and old. However, very few will be able to substantiate their claims or provide categorical figures for your organisation. This is because everyone is different. Meaningful certification to one or more ISO standard requires distinct levels of support, time and effort from all those involved. From this will come different objectives, controls and procedures. These will in turn directly impact the benefits an organisation can achieve and the costs that they incur. All this is still before a company decides to what metrics to use to measures success.
To give you an idea of the benefits an ISO certification can bring to your organisation and to help you bring a case for implementation, have a look at the following steps:
Step 1: Identify costs
Start by understanding the costs associated with gaining certification. Call/Get in touch with a few consultants, ask them to come and see/meet you at your place of work. Tell them exactly what you want to achieve and in what time frame. Finally, tell them as much about your company as possible. From this, the consultant can then get a real feel for your business and design a project plan that best suits your needs at a realistic cost.
Step 2: Identify specific benefits
The next stage is to think about the kinds of benefits you might expect to get from your certification. What do you want to achieve and how will you measure success? Think about the areas of your business that could be improved, and the financial benefits these changes might bring. Try to be specific, and add your projections into an Excel spreadsheet.
Will you try to reduce your energy use by 10%? Will you improve the quality of your service and retain 20% more customers?
How much extra work do you think the certification will bring in? How many recent tenders have asked for certification and/or included it in the scoring process? What have these tenders been worth, and what chance do you think you had of winning them with or without the certification?
Step 3: Calculate net profit over a three year plan
It’s important to build a business case based on 3 or more years of projections – else internal colleagues may be put off by the initial start-up costs.
Step 4: Speak to your consultant
A consultant should be able to provide you with supporting material. Furthermore, they can help in designing and implementing your objectives with metrics that can best communicate your success.
Finally some top tips on implementing an ISO standard:
- Ensure senior management are on-board and supportive.
- Everyone in the business needs to be involved in the implementation process. Those who are going to control process need to have ownership.
- If you have an existing management system can you integrate the systems,? This will save work, time and cost whilst reducing the chance of contradiction in procedures and potential nonconformities.
- Bring together a multidisciplinary and multidepartment team to get the best results.
- Be clear and keep it simple, over complication will confuse people and (may) put them off/dissuade/discourage/prevent getting involved.
By: Mr Paul Stevens- aviso consultancy