What are the real benefits of ISO 9001 Certification?

Steve Stubley, Group Technical Director at Alcumus and veteran of thousands of ISO 9001 audits, looks at the life-enhancing properties of an ISO 9001 certified Quality Management System.

9th Oct 2018

Steve Stubley - Alcumus ISOQARThere are some outrageous claims about the benefits of implementing an ISO 9001 Certified Quality Management System in your organisation.
 
Some would have you believe that a properly functioning QMS will bring world peace and an end to poverty.
 
Other articles on the matter go into tedious management speak with a list as long as your arm covering everything from ‘better resource management’ to ‘easier identification of deficiencies’, to cite two reasons I just read somewhere else.
 
But what does a quality management system actually mean for you? Not your business, but you. Why do you need ISO 9001?
 

You get richer

Yes, really. The overriding reason to get ISO 9001 certified is to win more business. Sometimes you just need that certificate on the wall and the logo on your letterhead.
 
Increasingly, in a world that’s more competitive by the day, you need to stand out from the crowd. You might be surprised to learn that there are probably only about 40,000 companies in the UK that are ISO 9001 certified - out of a total 5.7 million businesses. OK, many of those are just one or two people, but there are about 550,000 which are of 5 or more employees. So, an ISO 9001 certified business is in a very select elite.
 
And as you will know, many larger companies and public sector institutions won’t even entertain the idea of selecting a supplier that isn’t ISO 9001 certified. You won’t even clear the first hurdle of the PQQ (pre-qualification questionnaire).
 
Win more business, make more money.
 

You can go home earlier on Fridays

Chances are that at some point in your career you have - or you will - work in a rather chaotic organisation. It’s a bit like clearing the dishes away after dinner, arguing about whose turn it is tonight. Then it either doesn’t get done until bedtime (or the next morning), or you end up tripping over each other.
 
Well, in an organised ISO 9001 certified business with proper processes (and no, it doesn’t necessarily mean pages of written procedures), everyone knows their role. You’ll often see this referred to as ‘setting out areas of responsibility’ or ‘improved efficiency of management processes’. However you phrase it, your business functions more smoothly, you spend less time in meetings, there’s less waste and duplication of effort and there’s considerably less stress. It’s a happier place to work.
 
You get more done in less time.
 

You’ll have more friends

Management is really hard. Whether you supervise just one person or ten thousand, having their careers and livelihood in your hands is a big responsibility. Some love the power, some find it a burden.
 
Either way, you’re going to be more effective as a manager if people are on your side. And an ISO 9001 Quality Management System gives you the framework to do this. For example, you’ll have to commit to communicating with staff, to ensuring they have the skills to do their jobs properly and to listening to their feedback. It doesn’t take a genius to see that employees appreciate that.
 
This positive vibe permeates through everything your business does and translates to the products and services you provide to your customers. So, your customers will like you more, too. And after all, people buy from people. So, it’s good for business.