Companies new to the game might find it daunting trying to understand the complex jargon around ISO certification.
This guide by leading UK specialist Lighthouse Risk Services will explain in simple terms exactly what ISO certification is and how it benefits businesses.
ISO Certification Explained
‘ISO’ refers to the International Organization for Standardization, which acts to promote the world-wide best-practice operating procedures and requirements related to how commerce and industry manage their information and processes. To be clear, ISO does not actually enforce the regulations, it is the responsibility of individual businesses and organisations to be ISO compliant. This is in their own interest, since ISO standards and systems are effectively useful tools that allow for streamlined implementation and communication which enables companies conduct business with each other regardless of what country they operate from.
In a nutshell, ISO certification guarantees that a certain management system, manufacturing process, service or documentation procedure has met all the requirements according to best-practice standards, meaning they have the quality assurance stamp of approval. ISO certification has nothing to do with a license needed as a permit for activity, although it is mandatory for companies that tender for certain areas of public sector work.
ISO Certifications that Apply to Any Business or Organisation
Most ISO standards relate to specific processes or products. However the most common ISO certifications relate to generic management system standards that can be applied to any business or organisation – these are called ISO 9001 and ISO 14001.
ISO 9001 requirements apply to quality-management systems, while ISO 14001 concerns environmental-management systems. They establish a framework for effective operation rather than acting to enforce regulations.
Achieving certification for both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 involves both internal and ISO audits to confirm that all procedural requirements and documentations during everyday practices meet with the standards set out.
Business Benefits of ISO Accreditation
ISO 9001 certification in particular is highly advantageous to any business or organisation, both large and small. If applied on a sound practical level, it will achieve improved working practices that benefit employees and customers, as well as letting the world know that your company is committed to quality and efficiency.
Here is a summary of the advantages that ISO 9001 certification gives companies:
- Reduces operating costs;
- Streamlines management process;
- Clarifies delegation of responsibility;
- Improves efficiency and productivity internally;
- Improves quality and service to customers;
- Weeds out weak areas that hamper the business;
- Provides framework for continued improvement;
- Identifies marketing opportunities;
- Minimises product returns and complaints;
- Boosts both staff and customer confidence.
This guide by Lighthouse Risk Services demonstrates that far from ISO certification being seen as an unnecessary bother, businesses and organisations should be keen to achieve ISO 9001 at the very least, since the streamlining of procedures and practices have a significant effect on profitability. Efficiency saves money while worker productivity and customer satisfaction earn money. What’s more, with help of seasoned professionals, ISO certification is not a daunting task – it should be viewed as the chance to make valuable improvements and earn the stamp of guaranteed quality.