Achieving an ISO quality management certification can pay huge dividends for your business in improved efficiency, productivity and customer satisfaction. But the benefits of ISO go far beyond your operations to every aspect of the business, including sales and marketing, strategic planning and employee engagement.
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an independent, non-governmental organization that develops standards to ensure the quality, safety and efficiency of products, services and systems. It requires you to set clear objectives for your business, standardize processes and explain them to your employees. You stop doing things ad hoc and start doing them in a systematic, organized way.
Below are five key benefits companies reap from achieving and maintaining an ISO certification:
1. Identify risks and opportunities
The best way to deal with quality issues is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. To achieve this goal, ISO 9001—the popular quality management standard—asks you to identify potential risks to your business and control them in a structured way. This risk-based thinking leads to fewer surprises, improved planning, more effective decision-making and better relationships with suppliers, customers and employees. At the same time, ISO asks you to look for opportunities for your business and consider how to take advantage of them in an organized fashion.
2. Prevent problems from reoccurring
Too often businesses repeat the same mistakes because they don’t have a system to record and correct problems as they occur. ISO requires you to maintain careful records of problems, seek out their root causes and come up with lasting solutions. The result is less waste, better quality and lower costs.
3. Boost your marketing and sales efforts
Just think of how many times you’ve seen companies promote their ISO certification in advertising, on their website and even on a banner outside their building. As an internationally recognized quality management system, achieving ISO certification will support your marketing and help increase your sales. Indeed, many large companies require their suppliers to be ISO certified. And certification can be particularly important if you want to enter foreign markets.
4. Improve employee performance
Employee morale improves when they know you are committed to eliminating waste and producing the highest quality products and services. ISO also requires you define tasks (who does what), eliminate skills gaps in your business and communicate your quality policies to employees.
5. Improve your control over the business
ISO requires you to monitor, measure, analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of your quality management system. By doing so, you will generate performance metrics that allow you to judge how well you’re doing and where you need to improve. These are powerful tools for gaining insight into your business and make better decisions.