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Pancake Day, also known as Shrove Tuesday, has been celebrated by Brits for centuries and always falls on the day preceding the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday. This year, you’ll need to get your frying pans at the ready for Tuesday 9th February!

So what have pancakes got to do with ISO 9001? Well, we believe whether it’s pancakes or a management system, you can’t underestimate the importance of the recipe, or plan.

If you believe ISO 9001 is complicated, then read on – we’re convinced that explaining a successful approach to certification is as easy as a classic pancake recipe.


RECIPE: “ISO 9001”
INGREDIENTS: Staff, motivation, organisation

RECIPE: “Pancakes”
INGREDIENTS: Plain flour, eggs, milk, water

Everyone looks forward to Pancake Day, thanks to fond memories of previous years where they’ve enjoyed the annual treat. So imagine the disappointment of returning home to find, whilst wonderfully garnished, the pancakes are too runny because you’ve added to much milk, or too dense because there’s too much flour!

The problem? You didn’t share the recipe.

We face the same issues in business. We have expectations of how products are made, or services are delivered, but often is down to interpretation, not a defined process – or recipe.

The result? An unhappy a client, and a demotivated employee wondering where it went all wrong.

If businesses don’t quickly learn this lesson – the importance of tried and tested processes – they’re ultimately going to lose customers. Up until this point, constant management attention will be required to fix problems and appease clients. If you’re the boss, say goodbye to these three words: work, life, balance.

Yet, the irony is that a recipe for pancakes would be considered obvious, yet many businesses believe it’s possible to operate without a robust management system, like ISO 9001. Ignoring ISO 9001, which is created through global census as agreed best practice, is a bit like shunning a pancake recipe from a Michelin star chef – why would you?

The importance of a recipe: Standardised recipes allows for consistency. Recipes allow kitchens to prepare food in large quantities without a change in quality or portion size. A kitchen that has a set of standard recipes allows management to calculate the amount of ingredients needed. Menu decisions can be made in advance, freeing up time and money for other areas of business. These menus can speed up workflow as the recipes can be access and independently followed by all staff and reduce the number f unexpected surprises encountered during normal kitchen operations. This can be related to businesses when following ISO 9001 processes…

If a business isn’t in complete control of their own “recipe”, then they have limited control of the consequences and outputs. If the recipe, ingredients and method are recorded, and people are trained to do their jobs effectively, then the risks are considerably reduced.

Do you agree? Comment on this post and view more on the British Assessment Bureau LinkedIn page.

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Written by Derrick Ross

QMS Scheme Manager - International Register of Certificated Auditors (IRCA) Lead Auditor providing support to national Assessor team for Quality Management System and Senior Lead Assessor/Auditor, providing third-party certification to businesses in a variety of sectors. Including ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 and ISO 27001.