By Rebecca D’Souza
ISO 9001 is an international Standard which defines the requirements for a best-practice Quality Management System (QMS). Organisations, of every size and from every industry sector, use the Standard to demonstrate their ability to consistently provide high-quality products or services. Certification makes it clear to staff, partners, clients and the wider business world that customer satisfaction is at the core of your business.
Reap repeat business
An integral element of ISO 9001 is customer satisfaction. Certification helps organisations to improve upon quality and to foster a ‘right first time’ attitude. By implementing the Standard, organisations can generate greater customer satisfaction and loyalty. Happy customers are invariably loyal ones and retaining existing customers is essential to any organisation’s success.
In some circumstances, existing customers can become advocates for your business and help to boost the bottom line in more ways than one. Using ISO 9001 as a continuous opportunity to review processes is inevitably going to be good news for your clients. Satisfied clients not only spend more, they also recommend and refer more. Many new business opportunities arise courtesy of referrals from happy customers.
Inspire confidence in potential customers
Referrals are, of course, invaluable, but they should not be relied upon alone. ISO 9001 certification should be at the heart of any organisation’s sales and marketing strategy.
ISO 9001 certification sends out an important message to potential customers. The integral, independent verification of your internal QMS demonstrates a commitment to quality and continuous improvement. Certification provides objective proof that your organisation attaches great importance to quality, as verified by an independent party. This commitment increases confidence in your organisation.
Many organisations turn to ISO 9001 to make the quality of their processes and procedures relating to products/services clear, measurable and controllable. This, in turn, enhances professionalism and distinguishes them from other suppliers.
The Standard speaks a language that businesses understand and is recognised as global best practice for quality management. Potential customers may be cautious when choosing suppliers and many may be aware of the benefits of dealing with an ISO 9001 accredited business. The promise of consistent quality in relation to products or services, delivered on time and to a high standard can be intrinsic to securing their custom. A certified ISO 9001 quality management system gives a positive company image. It levels the competitive playing field and offers an advantage over non-certified business rivals.
Secure your place in the supply chain
Rather than merely being a selling point, ISO 9001 certification can often be a stipulation when tendering for contracts and in particular, public contracts. It is a go-to standard for the public sector, as it allows contracting authorities to set a benchmark for potential suppliers. By asking for ISO 9001 from contractors, public sector bodies are able to spend tax payers’ money wisely. Credentials don’t need to be checked – the certificate does the talking. As such, ISO 9001 is revered within government. It’s no surprise that without ISO 9001, many businesses simply wouldn’t have won the work.
With ISO 9001 certification, your business can confidently compete for both public and private contracts. Indeed, ISO 9001 can often be a requirement in the private sector. The Standard enables an organisation to quickly prove its quality credentials, which is why it is requested in so many private sector tender situations.
Over the years, many major organisations have realised the numerous benefits of ISO 9001. As such, several have started to demand it of their suppliers. If applying to become part of a large supply chain, particularly where the main contractor has ISO 9001 in place, then certification can be vital. By making ISO 9001 a requirement throughout the supply chain, it ensures quality is at a consistently high level, thereby reducing the supply chain risk. Once an organisation holds ISO 9001 certification, it can advertise that fact and respond to requests for quotes from companies that insist upon it. ISO 9001 certification opens up new markets and provides business opportunities that were previously beyond reach.
The credibility of ISO 9001 gives a clear competitive advantage to companies throughout the business world. Many companies prefer to do business with ISO 9001 certified organisations. After all, a shared belief in quality and customer satisfaction facilitates better business. ISO 9001 is a worldwide standard, currently in use by over one million organisations around the world. It is a global standard for quality. Obtaining ISO 9001 certification will set your organisation among a very select group. While it was not initially developed to help organisations win new business, an increase in market share has often been a welcome consequence of certification.
Rebecca D’Souza is the former editor of Manufacturing Global and has worked as a journalist for Retail Digital and Business Review Europe. She now works as a Freelance Writer and enjoys writing about small business trends.