IS0 9001: achieving cost-effective certification
Could ISO 9001 certification benefit your business and help you achieve your wider goals? Implementing this standard gives your potential customers a better level of assurance that you will complete any task to the highest of standards. However, is this investment worthwhile and, more importantly, could you reduce the overall cost of achieving certification?
What is ISO 9001?
ISO 9001 is the internationally recognised management system standard that can help ensure your company meets the needs of customers and stakeholders, while delivering your products and services. It offers assurance of a continual high level of quality and customer service. It can also assist in saving your business money in the long term through improved overall delivery, helping your business to grow.
What influences the cost of ISO 9001?
If you’re thinking about ISO 9001 certification, some of the key factors to consider are:
- Your industry and the complexity of certification
- The number of sites and units you have in your business
- What your business produces at each site
- The number of employees you have across your organisation
It’s the audit process that makes up the bulk of the costs, so the bigger your organisation and the more complex your output, the higher the overall price. Conversely, if you have a small, agile company with a well-defined single product then expect to achieve cost-effective certification.
How to ensure you achieve cost-effective certification
It’s possible for a business to reduce the cost of ISO 9001 or even gain funding to cover the total costs of the process. Grants and external support are key here, with the right kind of award schemes helping drive down overall spend on implementation. Checking your organisation’s eligibility is the first stage, with location, business size and industry or sector, all forming important selection criteria.
Helping you with the costs for business growth
It’s always good to get an idea of the overall costs of certification, allowing you to review how much any award would cover. This way you can better consider your own costs and what impact an award could make.
You can begin your search for reduced-cost ISO 9001 certification by exploring support and guidance available on the gov.uk website and finance support search portal. You will find further information here about possible grants, subsidies, loans, and also gain an impression of the consultant expertise available to assist you in the process.
Other regional government departments may be more suitable alternatives for your organisation. These are also alongside many of the local government authorities, small business services, agencies and trusts, all of which could be potential grant providers to help you on your way to certification.
Applying for a grant
Unfortunately, there’s more to this process than simply asking for a grant. The ideal place to start is requesting more information from the issuing body to find out what they need to know. This is also a good way to start off a personal relationship with the organisation.
When it comes to the application process, it’s vital that you include points that absolutely meet the requirements of the awarding body. You’ll also need to include evidence of your track record, cost breakdowns and a business plan that demonstrates the difference that certification could make to you in the future.
Best practice transfers
Although these are not strictly grants, a best practice transfer can help your organisation achieve low-cost ISO 9001 implementation. This is where a business that has successfully achieved certification passes on some of its knowledge and procedures for the benefit of the recipient organisation. It can often happen through business networks, or when one company is using another as a dedicated supplier for a particular job or subcontracted task.
Is self-certification possible?
Many companies and organisations successfully manage to implement ISO 9001 with absolutely no previous knowledge or experience of the standard. One good example is Fitnut — who provided a case study at British Assessment Bureau.
ISO 9001 was originally designed with simplicity in mind, to make it easy for clients and companies to implement on their own or with the support of consultant organisations. However, it’s important for you to examine your resources and management schedule to ensure that you have the available resources, particularly the time, to implement the standard.
Many small businesses don’t have the benefit of specific managers in many key areas, meaning that directors and senior staff have to take on multiple roles. With ISO 9001 it’s important that you select the right person for the job, with a good understanding of the organisation and the total support and drive of the management team.
ISO 9001 — next steps
Would you like to know how much ISO 9001 could cost to implement, for your business?
Our team can talk you through the scope of the entire process, in terms of both the time and cost investment you can expect. ISO 9001 is a commitment, but it’s one that can pay off in the long term and support the continued growth of your business.
To get your free quote for ISO 9001 certification, use our online quotation form or call our award-winning team on 0800 404 7007.
Free Introduction to ISO 9001 course