It is essential you make an informed decision on whether ISO 9001, ISO 27001 or any of the other standards will help or profit your company before embarking on the Certification process, particularly small businesses that may invest time and money but gain no resulting benefit or return on investment. The 2 main reasons for seeking ISO Certifications are simple – Business Improvement or access to New Business. You should consider the reasons for pursuing Certification below prior to any decision – Business Improvement • Your business is expanding but you feel your processes and systems may not be robust enough to cope • Your business processes have been static for many years and you want a tool to drive improvements • There is obvious scope for rationalising processes & increasing efficiency and profitability • You fear your IT Systems & operations may not be secure enough to protect your business & the critical information it holds (ISO 27001) Access to New Business • Your business is growing and the competitors you wish to compete with hold Certifications • You wish to access Public Sector work or Frameworks • Certification requirements are more frequently appearing on tenders • Potential or current customers are asking if you have Certifications • You are a new or small business and want to verify your credentials with Certification to compete with more established companies • You fear the effect of Brexit and want to maintain the maximum competitive edge Look at the processes of achieving certification considering the costs and man-hours involved. We would obviously advise consultancy help, as although this has a cost attached, it will greatly reduce the number of in-house hours consumed by personnel inexperienced in the certification process. Obtain more than one consultancy quote and ensure you determine the cost of internal man-hours in addition to the consultancy fees. On establishing the ultimate cost, consider if it will produce a return on your investment. For the smaller businesses or new starts it is worth speaking to potential customers & directly asking – will Certification improve our chances of doing new business? Get a free & brief initial review & honest quote from us that will include our costs, UKAS Certification Fees & the estimated man-hours your people will have to invest, and then GO COMPARE…… Quotes by email correspondence – no Sales Pitches ENQUIRIES
In 1994 BS 5750 was replaced by ISO 9001, not a huge leap – still a standard very much driven by procedures & many would say Bureaucracy. In 2000 the ISO 9001 standard had its biggest change, became less prescriptive & more Process Driven. This was seen by the majority as a breath of fresh air! For previous standards if you wrote a procedure & created a form for everything you did – you could easily be certified to the standards. This often made it bureaucratic, onerous, said little of how you actually managed your business & contributed even less to improving your exisisting systems. Along no doubt with many other consultancies, we have spent years convincing potential clients that the new 9001 process based systems need no longer by onerous & should not only be integral to normal good management practises, but provide a serious tool for improvement. It therefore came as a bit of a shock when I received the below email – “Do you have previous working experience of the BS5750 standards, assuming you would be the auditor, if we decided to go ahead? My manager has concerns about how slack ISO 9001 appears compared to BS5750. BS5750 is the level of standard he is looking for.” “Horses for Courses” – The difference with the new 9001 standard is that you can choose how ridged your processes need to be, the amount of procedural content that would benefit you & how much paperwork you need to generate. With BS 5750 bureaucracy was almost inevitable….current 9001 gives you both Choice & Flexibility. So although a surprise the email raised a valid point – ensure your Consultant or Quality Representative understands the level of control & flexibility your business requires.
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?
The cost of ISO 9001 & ISO 27001 breaks into 3 clear elements – • Man hours of your internal staff (often overlooked) • External training or consultants help • Independent UKAS Approved Certification Body There are one-stop shop companies who sell “guaranteed certification”, “in 30 days” etc. These are generally not UKAS approved & therefore most would regard these certificates as totally worthless. Basically, pay the money – get your certificate (guaranteed). UKAS Approved Certification Bodies are totally independent – so like a driving examiner, if you don’t meet the standard you fail. Guaranteed certification on payment of an invoice could never be a measure of quality, information security etc – in fact it is more a reflection on your company’s disregard for standards. So to the costs! The first 2 cost elements are directly related – Internal Resources/External Help. External help should reduce the amount of Internal Resource you require. How much help do you need to pass your Test? – • Training Courses give a good but generic overview of the standard • Carefully selected External Consultants can fast-track the process We believe because it is our offering, that good consultancy help is the most cost effective as costs are more predictable. Even attending the best external courses you will already have eaten into your man hours, but still have no actual experience of implementing a system. The task will therefore be more laborious & you will end up operating to a system built by a beginner (increasing ongoing costs & efficiency). A novice normally takes a “Belt & Braces” approach to gaining certification, therefore establishing a cumbersome & bureaucratic system impractical to maintain. A good consultant will fast-track the process, provide a professional system & take you down a well trodden path to Guaranteed UKAS Certification. The fees for a UKAS Certification audit will vary. Either your consultant should advise, or you should select yourself At QM.UK we pride ourselves on demystifying the process & are publicly open on our costing, please view https://www.qmuk.co.uk/iso-9001-27001-14001-18001-cost.php Or simply message for a no obligation quote & no phone calls unless requested – ENQUIRIES