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Gurdeep Mahal

Standards

Three Benefits of ISO 9001 Certification for Small Businesses

It’s a worthwhile investment

Published: Monday, September 21, 2015 - 09:47

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One of the most common misconceptions about ISO 9001 certification is that it’s only for big businesses. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The standards set forth by ISO are generic by design so that they may be applied to businesses of any size, type, and product line. As ISO itself noted, 95 percent of businesses in the world are considered “small businesses,” many of which are becoming registered to ISO standards such as ISO 9001.

Just one member of the ISO 9000 family, ISO 9001 lays out the requirements that organizations must fulfill before they are certified by a recognized certification body. It’s a quality management system that establishes a framework for businesses to pursue continuous improvement to operations, give confidence to customers, and open up new market opportunities.

Many small businesses hesitate at the idea of getting certified due to the cost and time it takes to achieve certification. On the contrary, certification should be seen as an investment in the business that will generate a return in the form of new contracts landed, higher quality products, and more efficient operations. Following is a closer look at some of the potential benefits of ISO 9001 certification for small businesses.

Makes you a competitive bidder

If a customer is taking quotes from several potential suppliers, who do you think they will choose if it comes down to a supplier that is ISO 9001 certified and one that isn't? Today, many organizations won’t accept bids from suppliers unless they are ISO 9001 certified.

It’s important to note that, although you can implement ISO 9001 guidelines without getting certified, it still leaves your customers in the position of having to perform their own audits to ensure compliance. The certification takes that uncertainty out of the picture and improves your marketability.

Having an ISO 9001 certification gives potential customers a reliable indicator that you’re committed to providing a high level of customer service. Your larger competitors will almost certainly have this certification, so by becoming certified, you’ll level the playing field considerably.

Improves the whole business

Another misconception that businesses often have regarding ISO 9001 certification is that it's solely about quality assurance. In fact, ISO 9001 certification is really about a holistic approach to improving operations and growing the business by providing consistent and reliable products and services. It's about improving processes as much as it is improving those products and services. Here are some of the benefits certification can bring to small businesses:
Direction and accountability. Employees and managers know exactly what is expected of them in terms of quality objectives, the processes they must use to handle each task, and process metrics that provide actionable feedback on their performance.
Reduced operational expenses and inefficiencies. The rigorous certification process often reveals suboptimal processes that, when optimized, cut costs and eliminate waste due to inefficient and nonvalue-added tasks and activities.
Improved customer service. The ISO 9001 framework helps businesses place more focus on improving every facet of their customer service, leading to stronger long-term relationships with customers.

Opens doors to international markets

Small businesses don’t often have the budgets to promote themselves effectively in international markets. An ISO 9001 certification, however, can make up for that because it’s instantly recognized all over the world. According to ISO, more than one million organizations in more than 175 countries rely on ISO certifications to improve their own operations and verify the quality of suppliers and partners. In many instances, ISO certification is a prerequisite just to start a dialogue with many of these international players.

It’s true that ISO 9001 certification process can be challenging and time-consuming for small businesses, but it's an investment that can pay ongoing dividends. To learn more about how your small business can get ISO 9001 certified, click here.

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About The Author

Gurdeep Mahal’s picture

Gurdeep Mahal

Gurdeep S. Mahal is the ISO 9001 technical program manager and a certified lead auditor for TÜV SÜD America. He has audited hundreds of companies worldwide for ISO 9001, ESD 20.20, AS9100 and 9120, and TL 9000 standards. Mahal has spoken at many conferences including the 19th International ISO 9000 Conference, and conducted numerous seminars and webinars on ISO 9001, ISO 9004, and related subjects. He’s authored several articles published in trade publications. He is also a registered professional engineer, an ANAB- and CCAA-QMS lead auditor, a certified ScrumMaster, an ASQ-certified quality auditor, and a senior member of ASQ.

Comments

ISO9001 for SMEs

A very good read for SMEs and Small businesses going for ISO 9001 certification..