International Standards are strategic tools that can address many of the problems faced by companies in our globalised world. Certification to ISO standards can positively impact a company’s bottom line, improving the efficiency of company operations. They allow access to more customers and additional markets, while also improving customer satisfaction and reducing environmental impact.
- Cost Reduction
Many companies that invest in certification achieve significant cost savings. ISO management system standards feature a “process approach” which allows a company to look at interactions between major processes in order to find inefficiencies and areas where waste is generated. Common causes of inaccuracies can also be found by using the process approach. These management systems also increase the amount of evidence available to management, enabling them to make more informed decisions. The culture of continual improvement emphasised by ISO standards, allows organisations to adapt to change on a consistent basis.
- Access to New Markets
ISO standards minimise trade barriers with other countries, allowing organisations to enter into new markets more effortlessly than their competitors. ISO certification is strongly associated with increased exports. Additionally, some contracts and tenders to work with large multinationals and government organisations are only available to companies which are certified to the relevant ISO standards. Having the appropriate certification enables organisations to work with these valuable customers both at home and abroad.
- Improved Market Share and Image
Obtaining ISO certification makes a company part of a highly select group. This reassures potential customers and increases a company’s market share. Certification is a mark of a high performing company and its overall value proposition is made more attractive by this fact. Additionally, the reduced environmental impact and resource savings achieved can be used to create an image of an environmentally friendly company that is committed to sustainability. This is a major marketing bonus that attracts customers to a business.
- Increased Customer Satisfaction
One of the founding principles of ISO 9001 is planning for customer satisfaction by anticipating and addressing customer requirements. The ISO approach to customer satisfaction considers not only the value of the product or service, but also how it is delivered and how customers continue to interact with the organisation. Other ISO management systems standards also have an impact on customer satisfaction by improving the efficiency and environmental performance of the company. The improved quality that results from ISO certification has been found to enhance customer satisfaction. A general rule is that it is five times more expensive to win a new customer than to keep an existing one, making customer satisfaction a vital prerequisite for customer retention.
- Environmental Impact
ISO 14001 is the international environmental management system standard, it helps organisations minimise how their operations negatively affect the environment. ISO 50001 is the energy management system standard and it enables companies to maximise their energy saving initiatives. Most management systems standards result in reduced waste and increased efficiency, allowing organisations to avoid breaching environmental laws and also market as an environmentally friendly company.
There is a benefit of ISO certification that will appeal to almost every stakeholder in an organisation. From a technical perspective, certification rewards a company with increased efficiency and improved customer satisfaction. In sales and marketing, the company will appreciate access to new customers and markets. Customers will appreciate the environmentally friendly and safety-conscious image of the company. All of these are of clear benefit to a company’s profit margin.
- Information asymmetries as trade barriers: ISO 9000 increases international commerce
- Certification Europe: Benefits of ISO 14001 Environmental Certification
- ACS Registrars: Benefits of OHSAS 18001