QM.UK Delivering ISO Standards Since 2001

QMUK 17yrs Today – Growing Business by Growing Businesses! & thanks to all the businesses we have worked & grown with over the last 17 years –

Orion (Computer Consumables Distributor) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 14001 in 2004, bought in 2005 by Westcoast

Wstore (IT Reseller) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 14001 in 2009 – bought by Misco/Symantex in 2009 who we also helped through ISO 14001 in the same year

Optevia (Microsoft Cloud based CRM Systems) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 27001 in 2014 – bought by IBM Global Business Services Division 2016

Blue Chip (Managed IT Services & Cloud Hosting) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 27001 in 2014 – bought out by GCI in 2017 who we also helped through ISO 9001, 27001 & 14001 in 2013

EPS Research (Clinical Data Analysis) who we guided through ISO 9001 & 27001 in 2014 also – bought out by IQVIA in 2017

Current Clients: MLL Telecom Grown from 55 to 130 staff in just over 2 years, CTS (Combined Tech Serv) Grown 30% in 2 years, Wilkinson Eyre Grown 50%, secured Battersea Power St Project and with the challenges of GDPR The Telecom Marketing Company continue to grow & prosper….

Find out how we can work with you & help YOUR business Grow

How Do You PROVE Your Product or Service Claims?

Many companies make bold marketing claims that are hard to prove & often unsubstantiated, so go largely unbelieved.



So Keep it Simple: Say It – Do it – Prove It!

In purchasing your product or Service with the exception of cost, what elements are most important to your Customer?

Quality of Product or Service?

When customers find a product or service they trust, they return, make repeat purchases, and recommend the product or service to others. Develop a Mgt System with processes that consistently deliver on time & at minimum, to your customer’s requirements. Then Independently certify your Claims – ISO 9001 Certification

Security of Their Information & Privacy?

Without the proper checks and balances in place to safeguard customer data, things can go sideways very quickly. Develop a Mgt System that risk assesses all information you hold ensuring you fully implement the controls required to effectively protect both their & your own information, then inspire customer confidence by Independently Certifying – ISO 27001 Certification

The Potential Health & Safety Impact of Your Operations:

Health and safety is an integral part of any and every business as it ensures that the well-being of employees, customers and visitors is protected. Alleviate potential customer concerns over the Safety of your operations, products or services by having your H&S Systems certified – ISO 45001 Certification – (replacing OHSAS 18001)

Your Possible Impact on the Environment or Their Environmental Profile:

Many companies place great importance on their Environmental profile. A Unilever study reveals a third of consumers are now buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact. Good practice can attract new customers Demonstrate you take your potential environmental impacts seriously by certifying to a recognised Environmental Standard – ISO 14001 Certification

Wear the badges with pride – #iso9001 #iso27001 #iso45001 #iso14001

Say It – Do it……….. PROVE IT!

What is the Financial Impact of ISO?

From our experience businesses pursuing ISO 9001, ISO 27001, ISO 14001 or OHSAS 18001 do it for one of 3 reasons:

• To fulfil tender or customer requirements and win new work

• To drive Business or Process improvement

• Both of the above

I would guestimate from our experience 20% of businesses pursue certification to solely fulfil tender or customer requirements and win new work.

A similar percentage would use their certification project to focus mainly on driving Business or Process improvement.

The bulk of businesses want the certification to win new work but engage with the process of attaining certification, to benefit from both Business & process improvements.

For any Business considering implementing the standards we would always ask that they consider Return on Investment. Firstly obtain a costing for the certification route you think could best help you improve in your operations & best serve a positive outcome in gaining your chosen certification. See previous post for various methods of attaining certification.

The main financial benefit will be the additional tenders it qualifies you for & the extra work it may bring in – ask your potential clients if it could give you a more favourable outcome when bidding for work. Benefits outside of this most obvious financial reward are normally found in the project phase & can be –

ISO 9001 Project Phase

• Enables you to examine your current operating processes & identify areas for improvement

• Pushes you to rationalise & define systematic processes that ensures all are “singing off the same hymn sheet” within the business

• Clearly defined business processes support company growth “before things get out of control”

ISO 27001 Project Phase

• Ensures you identify all information stored within the company & it’s importance to your business

• Systematically guides you through risk assessing the threats & vulnerabilities to the information you hold

• Ensures you put in adequate controls to protect your information and ultimately your business

ISO 14001 Project Phase

• Identifies any aspect of your business that can impact the environment

• Makes you evaluate the impacts your business could have on the environment & identifies the controls needed to reduce the likelihood or prevent such impacts

• Ensures an awareness of Environmental Legislation & avoids any unnecessary & “crippling” fines

OHSAS 18001 Project Phase

• Identifies any Hazards within your business that could impact Human Health or cause Accidents

• Makes you evaluate the Risks associated with these Hazards & identifies the controls needed to reduce the likelihood of accidents or affects on Human Health

• Ensures an awareness of Health and Safety Legislation, avoids any unnecessary “crippling” fines & most importantly protects both your employees and anybody else who can be affected by your work

These are just a few bullet points on some of the ways certification can help your business, there are many more. So if you want any further info just get in touch.

grant@qmuk.co.uk

“I know a company who has ISO 9001, and they are totally useless”

So just how much of a Benchmark is it – How Credible is ISO Certification?

ISO 9001

ISO 9001 is the Quality Standard but as such the most open to controversy. This is because there is often confusion as to what “Quality” actually is. If one company produced a Ford Focus & another a Ferrari, most would regard the later as having produced the highest Quality Product. However “Quality” is defined as the ability to deliver to pre-defined requirements. Therefore if the requirements were a roomy car that did 40 mpg & could be retailed at less than £20k, the production of a Ferrari would be a very poor Quality Output.

It should also be noted that ISO 9001 is certification of your Management System, not your product or service. Certification to the standard confirms your Management System has achieved a standard that can ensure consistency of product or service. What level a company sets itself to deliver is up to them and in fact Ford and Ferrari could operate to the very same Quality Management System – they just produce to different specifications. So before you right off an ISO 9001 company you have to ask, are they consistently delivering to their (or your) specification – not everybody can afford a Ferrari.

ISO 27001

The Information Security Standard. This is the most current & in demand as Cyber Attacks become more frequent & companies become more aware of their vulnerabilities and the need to secure services from companies that can safeguard their information. This standard is the most reliable measure of a company’s credentials, as Information Security is more measurable and less subjective than Quality.

There are 2 main parts to ISO 27001. A company has to identify all of its Information Assets, Risk Assess & Control. The other main part of ISO 27001 is a detailed list of “Control Objectives” (requirements) for which, if applicable – you must put a control in place. This makes 27001 the most measurable & auditable of standards, therefore Certification does ensure a high level of Information Security.

ISO 14001

The Environmental Standard. This is a reliable measure that a company has systematic control over any possible environmental impact and has plans in place for continual improvement. A large part of this is similar to 27001 in that a company has to identify all of its Environmental Aspects rather than Information Assets, but still Risk Assesses & Controls. Environmental Objectives must also be established to where possible, continually improve environmental performance.

If you feel a company claiming to be holding one of these standards is poorly performing, don’t take it on face value. Check it is a credible Certification, or that it is a certification at all. If it is a UKAS Approved Certification Body ask for their name or take it off a displayed logo and contact them asking if the company is actually ISO Registered with them. If it is in the UK and not a UKAS Certification, it’s best not taking it as verification of anything……

grant@qmuk.co.uk

ISO 9001, ISO 27001, ISO 14001 & OHSAS 18001 – How Long Does It Take?

Time Scale varies greatly for the various ISO offerings in the Market Place, as does client requirements & expectations. The time to Certification depends on Internal Expertise, External Help, Management Commitment, Internal Resource & the Route you chose.

As independent UKAS Certification is the only certification recognised by ISO & the British Government, if you choose any other route – pay your money and demand it right away. Don’t be surprised though if it costs business rather than creates.

3 main routes to UKAS Certification:

1. Internal Expertise

If you have an internal member of your team who has been through the process before or is a relevant practising Quality, Information Security, Environmental or Health & Safety Mgr, he will probably be able to successfully guide you through the process. Timeframe will depend on how much experience they have of taking organisations through the process & how much commitment they get from their colleagues. Being internal the most frequent downfall is that chargeable work often tends to take priority & ISO is often put on the back burner – or seen as almost the sole responsibility of that Manager & is hard to integrate.

2. Training

If you wish to proceed without an external consultant but do not have the full internal expertise to proceed, there are training courses available. We would recommend you seek UKAS Certification Bodies for these courses. The trouble is these courses are very generic & we would only recommend this route if you have a Manager or person who may just fall short. We would recommend them as refresher or top-up courses, rather than a one-stop shop to ISO Certification. Timeframe raises same concerns as previous route, only a less experienced person is likely to attract less internal commitment & their aptitude for training is less predictable. The less experienced the person is, the more likely they are to go “Belt & Braces” with their systems to ensure conformance to all the clauses. This often produces cumbersome systems costly & time consuming to maintain ongoing.

3. External Consultancy

External Consultants who have several years experience of implementing systems & gaining ISO Certification should give a more predictable outcome. “Buyers Beware” – consultants can promise to meet your fast-track timeframes, but it is still less than predictable. To successfully implement a system & be able to demonstrate full integration into your working practices, there still requires internal commitment & resource. While an external consultant can produce a lean, dynamic system & guarantee a positive outcome – timeframe will still rely heavily on Internal Commitment.

While at QM.UK we offer the third option, we recommend you explore all options before making a decision.

QM.UK UKAS ISO 9001. ISO 27001, ISO 14001 & OHSAS 18001 Consultants

So What Is ISO 9001, ISO 27001, 14001 etc?

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations.

Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and as of 2013 worked in 164 countries.

There is only one National Standards Body recognised from each country and they in turn must be recognised by their Government. UKAS is the only ISO recognised Body in the UK.

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the national accreditation body for the United Kingdom, appointed by government, to assess organizations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services. There are many UKAS Approved ISO Certification Bodies, the most commonly recognized being BSI & Lloyds, but there is a full list on their website

Gaining UKAS Certification to an ISO Standard demonstrates a company or organization has achieved and operates to a certain standard, been verified by an independent & recognized body. Ongoing audits by the Certification Body evidences they consistently meet these standards.

ISO 9001 is the internationally recognized Quality Standard. It defines the elements of organization required by a company to systematically deliver quality products, services or advice.

ISO 9001 Certification is verification that you systematically deliver quality services or products. It is a benchmark for potential customers & helps you review and fine tune your own operations ongoing.

ISO 27001 is the internationally recognized Information Security Management Standard. It defines the elements of control required by a company to protect all information it holds.

In an ever increasing age of security awareness & media exposure of careless information handling, the protection of data is critical. Sectors such as finance, health, public and IT have become particularly sensitive. Hence, certification to the standard is increasingly winning both confidence & new contracts.

ISO 14001 is the internationally recognized Environmental Standard. It defines the elements of organization required by a company to control the impact of their activities, products or services on the environment.

14001 Certification demonstrates to an increasingly aware public & business community – a commitment to minimize your impact on their environment. It gives confidence that customer’s environmental credentials & good names won’t be tarnished by their suppliers operations

In general companies & organisations that can demonstrate their operational standards are UKAS certified, gain more confidence in the Market Place.

ISO 9001, ISO 14001 & ISO 27001 – UKAS ISO Assessors or ISO Consultants?

ISO 9001, ISO 14001 & ISO 27001 – UKAS ISO Assessors or ISO Consultants?

There still seems to be general confusion between the Roles of the “Consultant” & the Assessor”.

It is like sitting a GCSE. Teachers give you the tools and prepare you for the exam, independent & impartial examiners mark your papers. Achieve the correct mark you pass. The independent marking is key to assuring standards.

For ISO 9001, ISO 27001 & ISO 14001 the consultant prepares you for a Certification Audit. This can involve documenting your compliant system, training, completing Internal Audits & general prep – The Assessor then independently & impartially performs the final audit to assess if you meet the particular standard. If so, you are certified.

So Why The Confusion?

Sometimes people like to maintain a Black Art in order to force you down a particular path. There are other clear reasons, these being just a few:

• Non UKAS accredited Certification Bodies offer both the system & the certificate, so as a 1 Stop Shop there is no difference between Consultant & Assessor. This means there is no independent assessment & it certainly isn’t impartial – hence not recognised by the informed

• Some UKAS Approved Certification Bodies offer training courses so will be unlikely to push you towards consultants as that could take away your need for a training course

• Some UKAS Approved Certification Bodies advise they are “Friendly” or “Approachable” and do not advocate the use of a consultant – often because they fear a consultant would refer you to a cheaper UKAS Approved Certification Body & they would lose the work

We would advise whatever route you chose get a few quotes & ensure they are quoting like for like. The 3 routes we would advise:

• You already have the internal expertise to fully prepare for the UKAS Assessment – get at least 3 quotes from independent UKAS Approved Certification Bodies, listed on UKAS website

• You think you are almost there but not 100% – either get a consultant to do a one-of Gap Analysis Audit, or select a training course (preferably from a UKAS Approved Cert Body, as it will give some comfort to the standard of the course).

• You feel you need solid guidance as you are not familiar with the standards or have no experience in implementing them (or perhaps just don’t have the time) – select a consultant & be sure to take references. Get more than 1 quote but ensure they are quoting like for like (& don’t forget the cost of the UKAS fees or your consultants attendance on those days).

If the final option is for you, you know where we are – enquiries@qmuk.co.uk

What’s Trending in ISO

ISO 9001, ISO 27001 & ISO 14001

(Based solely on the communications we receive)

Currently ISO 27001 is still growing & by far the most popular of the standards. With the ever increasing publicity & awareness surrounding Cyber Attacks & now the potential of Terrorist Cyber Attacks it is no wonder. Add to this the much publicised information losses from Big Names such as Morissons, Home Depot, eBay, T Mobile, Experian etc & the trend looks to continue.

ISO 9001 & ISO 14001 seem to be a little on hold as people hesitate over whether to go for the old or the newly released standards. As most UKAS Approved Cert Bodies will not be able to certify against the new standards until mid 2016 this is set to continue a little longer.

For ISO 14001 it has been quiet for a while. Have our environmental consciences dampened as we concentrate on Information Security concerns? Or is the current 27001 more commercially attractive?

Companies currently trending towards certification are from the IT, NHS, Banking & Insurance Sectors….

www.qmuk.co.uk

ISO 9001 & ISO 27001 – Questions & Answers

Sometimes a good question prompts informative answers. Here are 2 I answered today regarding ISO 9001 & 27001 –

Q Someone in the know recently described ISO Standards to me as “nothing more than shrink wrapped bureaucracy”. What do you think?

A It depends how the systems are created. The standards are generic to cover all business types, this in itself leaves them wide open to interpretation paticularly 9001. A system made best fit for your business within the requirements will give a base for improvements, or at least the means to monitor your current performance, You have to produce evidence you meet the requirements, hence a poor consultant will produce that evidence in the form of additional “paperwork” producing “shrink wrapped bureaucracy”. Similarly an internal employee tasked with the project will as a novice, normally go “Belt and Braces” to ensure all requirements are evidenced – “shrink wrapped bureaucracy”. I’d advise select a good consultant by obtaining references. 14001 & 27001 are similar, but do not have the same impact on your business ongoing as they only address 2 specifics – Information Security & the Environment.

Q In reference to Morrisons being sued by 2300 employees for losing their information – What a minefield this is! And its going to get worse – not better. What’s your take on it?

A Businesses have for hundreds of years protected their information against physical theft or damage, but software has developed over a very short period of time catching many out. Most businesses have just got their heads around protecting against data loss or damage, hence the boom in Cloud Hosting. Living in an age of “Ambulance Chasers” & the impending publication of the new Data Protection Act however, businesses will soon become aware of the financial implications & hopefully get more rigorous systems & controls in place.

Any questions you have ( ISO 9001 & ISO 27001, 14001 or OHSAS 18001) just email them to us, or myself – grant@qmuk.co.uk

Which ISO Best Fits You?

You should consider which standard/s could help improve your business against which standard/s would most impress your potential client base –

ISO 9001 helps you monitor & improve both your processes & client perception. It also gives you the discipline to ensure you don’t miss critical details in pursuit of profits & deadlines.

ISO 27001 makes you have a closer look at the information you hold &the security of it – protects against info loss that could publicly damage your brand.

ISO 14001 ensures you minimize your impact on the environment – gives you a clear conscience, green credentials & can impress potential clients.

OHSAS 18001 ensures you minimize risk to all personnel or anyone else affected by your activities – shows due diligence if in the unfortunate event, you have an accident or incident.

Ultimately it can boil down to “Return on Investment”

Ask: Will implementing these standards increase profits through improvement in internal operations or by helping you meet client & tender requirements?