For more than twenty years, ISO 9001 has been recognised as the ideal way for an organisation to prove they take delivering a quality service seriously. The standard was released in 1987, being constantly reviewed and improved ever since. Most recently revised in September 2015, it sets a global benchmark for best practice in Quality Management. As a result, certification to the standard is often stipulated in important government tenders and supply chain questionnaires so that procurement teams can be sure they only choose from the best.
According to data from the British Assessment Bureau’s (BAB) independent 2015 Client Satisfaction Survey, the main motivational reasons (48%) for obtaining the Quality Management System standard from ISO is to win new business and to improve the chances of winning tenders.
The survey, which was conducted by specialist market research organisation Lake Market Research, showed that for many companies (45%), the industry requirements and expectations were another large motivation for implementing the standard.
These statistics identified through the BAB Client Satisfaction Survey did not surprise the BAB’s Director of Marketing, Rob Fenn, as he explained, “Every day, businesses of all sizes get in touch to say ISO 9001 is being asked in a pre-qualification questionnaire or framework agreement. The reality is companies can’t simply give their word, they need to demonstrate they can deliver a high level of service on a consistent basis. This is the assurance ISO 9001 certification provides.”
Providing on feedback on whether ISO 9001 certification had met their expectations, an overwhelming majority 67% cited that it had helped them either qualify for or directly win new work. Additionally, 34% said certification meant they satisfied existing clients or helped to improve their image.
Direct client feedback confirms the importance of obtaining the ISO 9001 certification in order to ‘open doors’ in their industry. “We can now get further into the pharmaceutical industry; we can work with companies that we wouldn’t have been able to before. It can now be recognised that we have been audited which confirms to clients what a high standard business we are,” says Nicola Stillie from TechniVal Ltd.
Certification isn’t just insisted on by the government either, as another BAB client, Zano Controls, explains;
“We can now do business with companies where the ISO 9001 is a requirement.It has helped us rapidly grow as a business, it’s made sure we have got processes in place that can help us improve,” – Sinead Heafey.
BAB is accredited and regulated by UKAS (the United Kingdom Accreditation Service). This ensures that BAB is impartial, objective, and competent to undertake certification; and they comply with the standard ISO 17021 – “Conformity assessment – “Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of management systems.” UKAS is the sole national accreditation body recognised by government; and UK businesses and the public sector are encouraged by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to seek UKAS-accredited certification where it’s available
By successfully achieving ISO 9001 certification, an organisation is able to distinguish themselves in a potentially competitor saturated market, while able to win new and retain existing business. The standards will improve productivity and increase profitability, as well as encourage risk assessment practices to create an exceptional Quality Management System.
These benefits were backed up by BAB’s Client Satisfaction Survey, where 70% of respondents said they were either better managed, more efficient, or had saved money from improving internal processes.
ISO, developer and publishers of more than 18,000 international standards, commissioned its own survey in 2014 showing that 1,138,155 ISO 9001 certificates were issued worldwide in 2014, showing that ISO 9001 is not just a UK phenomenon. With 95% of micro to small businesses and 97% of medium to very large sized businesses, recommending BAB’s services to other organisations, that figure looks set to increase.