How small and medium companies can benefit from an ISO 9001 certification

EQSEEnvironment How small and medium companies can benefit from an ISO 9001 certification

How small and medium companies can benefit from an ISO 9001 certification

Hello and welcome, if you are reading this article chances are that you work for a small or medium company and are wondering whether ISO 9001 certification is worth committing to.


In this short article I will try to attempt to explain why, in my opinion, achieving ISO 9001 certification is indeed going to benefit your company. Before I do that, however, I want to set some fundamentals about what ISO 9001 is and what management systems more generally try to achieve.


In simple terms, the objective of a management system is to set ways of working which minimise opportunities for things to go wrong and identify improvement opportunities.  More specifically ISO 9001, the Quality Standard, is a type of management system which aims to enhance customer satisfaction by constantly providing products and services that meet customer requirements.


So, why should you, a small or medium size company spend the time, money and human resources to achieve 9001 accreditation? This is why:



Financial Benefits:


One of the key outcomes of ISO 9001 is improved productivity and profitability. ISO 9001 can help you do that in a number of ways. For instance by mapping out and constructively appraising all your processes, inputs, outputs and resources you will be better able to identify waste, excesses and deficiencies. Reducing these will help you to save time, money and reduce your costs.


Being ISO 9001 certified will also give you a competitive edge over your competition. Irrespective of where you sit in the supply chain most clients nowadays require bidding companies to be ISO 9001 certified. Having worked myself for a number of major clients and having carried out extensive tender evaluations at all levels of the supply chain, I can tell you that many bidder don’t get a second look if they cannot provide a copy of their ISO 9001 certificate. ISO 9001 therefore can help you win more work.


Employee Benefits:


Any successful company will tell you that their success is by and large down to the calibre of its people. ISO 9001 can help you foster and grow such an important resource.


Key to the ISO 9001 process is the identification of all roles within your company and subsequently ensures that clear responsibilities and objectives are assigned to each role. Furthermore ISO 9001 will help you identify deficiencies and where deficiencies are identified these are often rectified through targeted staff training and development. ISO 9001 also encourages a culture of enhanced communication throughout the company from top-down to bottom-up where feedback and lessons learned are valued and welcomed. Better communication can also help foster a culture of team working.


The benefit of having; employees who have clear roles and responsibilities, which are listened to, whose skills are developed and who work as a team is that of empowering your workforce. Empowered employees are happy employees and happy employees tend to stick around for longer thus ISO 9001 can help you improve staff retention.


Customer Benefits:


The end game of ISO 9001 is customer satisfaction, thus achieving ISO 9001 certification will focus your company attention and resources towards achieving enhanced customer satisfaction and a better customer service through:


  • Improved quality of goods and services
  • On time delivery of goods and services
  • Doing things right first time
  • Fewer returned goods
  • Fewer complaints
  • Enhanced customer communication


A satisfied customer is a customer that will come back time and time again. ISO 9001 can therefore also improve your customer loyalty and retention.


Reputational Benefits:


Achievement of ISO 9001 certification is something to boast about in marketing activities. Being certified to a globally recognised standard by an independent authority will demonstrate to your current and prospective customers and employees that you are committed to customer satisfaction thus enhancing your company reputation and image. Existing happy customers and employees will promote you as an attractive provider of goods and services and an attractive employer and in turn help you to improve the acquisition of new customers and employees.



By now you have probably realised that all the benefits that I have outlined above apply to all businesses, regardless of their size. In essence, if you have customers (which I presume you do) and if you want to keep them happy (which I presume you do) then it is imperative that you provide them with top quality goods and service, ISO 9001 can certainly help you do just that! Also, you will have realised that, whilst I have tried to categorise the benefits under four separate headings, in reality these benefits are all interlinked, with one benefit leading to the next and the next reinforcing the former.


It has to be said however, that your company will only rip these benefits, if and only if, the ISO 9001 management system is developed and implemented correctly with the right business attitude and top management support. Obtaining certification should not be seeing as the end of the journey but as a major stepping stone on the journey to better customer satisfaction. The corner stone of all management systems is the concept of continual improvement, once certification is obtained, the management system needs to be able to evolve and adapt alongside your company as it too evolves and matures over time.


A final and last point before I end is to say that ISO 9001 has been used by many companies as a stepping stone for obtaining certification in other standards such as the Environmental Management System Standard (ISO 14001) or the Standard for Occupational Health & Safety at Work (ISO 45001). As customers become savvy and ethically aware they choose to purchase goods and services from equally minded companies. Obtaining ISO 9001 can therefore be a good business decision which in time may lead to further business gained through further ISO certification.