ISO can improve profitability and company value.
ISO 9000 should be a strategic tool to build revenue, improve profitability and grow your client base. However, most people who have lived through an implementation of ISO 9000 have not had a good experience.
When the subject of ISO 9000 comes up, I often see people cringe because of the way they were introduced to it.
Most often, a company is required to implement ISO because the parent organization requires it or a large customer requires it if the company wants to continue to be a supplier. Typically, then, the company rushes around to do the bare minimum to get the ISO system in place and the certificate on the wall.
The company invests in the quality system implementation and incurs ongoing costs, with little focus on a return on their investment. If properly approached, the management team should find significant strategic value in the effort and see measurable growth in sales, profitability, customer retention and new customer growth. In other words this should be part of business strategy and provide a real ROI.
If you hear people complain about ISO, they probably have not experienced it as it should be done.
If you are part of a company that is already certified and not seeing that ROI, take a step back and think about what you have invested. Consider how you might really use the system more strategically.
In my experience, the benefits can be significant. Improvements come financially, through a more engaged workforce and in strengthened customer relationships. ISO is simply a thorough, systemic approach to all of the things you should be doing in your company – from setting objectives to business process improvement to engaging your staff (and employee retention) to communicating and engaging with your customers. It provides a very effective structure for operational excellence when implemented the right way.
In addition to being a good management system, having a quality system like ISO 9000 in place will be especially beneficial in doing work with international companies, large corporations and winning that government contract.
Here is a brief case study of a client ISO implementation that resulted in winning a national contract with a Fortune 500 company. http://shavzinassociates.com/Shavzin_Assoc_Case_Study_MDSi.pdf
I have worked with companies creating an ISO 9000 system from scratch, assisting in “cleanup” and preparation as the annual audit approaches and in the implementation and management of the system.
If you have experienced ISO the wrong way – try it the right way! I have seen the benefits first-hand!
David Shavzin, CMC