Quality is king in business. But the problem is that most small business owners, especially here in Kenya, take quality control systems for granted. Little do they know that by doing this they’re simply limiting their organization’s growth potential. This article explains in very simple words how a small business can get ISO certification and the benefits that come with it.
Get Your Small Business ISO Certified
Every organization no matter the size or industry needs to have some quality control measures. ISO standards are globally recognized quality management systems developed by the International Organization for Standardization in response to market requirements around the world.
ISO standards act as a barometer against which you can measure your organization’s existing quality systems. Having policies and procedures that conform to the ISO standards is what is commonly referred to as being ISO certified.
There are approximately 19,500 ISO standards but the most popular ones that are relevant for most small businesses especially in Kenya include:
ISO 9001- Quality Management
The ISO 9001 standard is all about having consistent quality standard that meet your customers requirements. It is the standard against which you evaluate the quality management systems of your organization.
ISO 14001-Environmental Management
This standard will help your organization minimize and continually improve how your business operations negatively affect the environment. It will further ensure that you comply with rules and regulations relating to environment conservation.
ISO 27001-Information & Data Security
This standard ensures a comprehensive management system to safeguard the security, confidentiality and availability of your company’s’ data. It is ideal for minimizing all information and data risks and ensuring best practice in relation to all aspects of data security regardless of your company size or industry.
BS OHSAS 18001- Heath & Safety Management
The Health & Safety Management standard provides an ideal way for your organization to meet all occupational health and safety requirements. It enables your organization to control its health and safety risks and improve performance.
You can choose to have all or either of these standards depending on which is most relevant to your industry.
5 Benefits of Being ISO Certified Small Business
- Quality systems helps identify and eliminate wastage on human resources and materials leading to reduced costs.
- ISO certification improves your companies competitiveness leading to higher profits. There is improved customer confidence in your products or services.
- Better and consistent flow of information in the organization.
- Reduces incidences of errors made by your employees.
- Helps optimize your business potential as well as opening bigger business opportunities.
- Opens door to local and international tenders that may be restricted to certified suppliers.
How To Become ISO certified
To begin the process you will need to identify an ISO specialist company that will be your partner and guide through the certification journey which can take several months to complete depending on the standard.
The journey begins with a due diligence auditor carrying out an audit of your organizations quality control system and documented procedures in order to identify any gaps. At the completion of the gap analysis, an action plan is developed and implementation of the ideal procedures commences.
During this period it is important that you provide the necessary information and documentation as required by the assessors. The process is quite interactive and your suggestion and views along the way will of great assistance.
A pre certification audit will later be carried out to ensure your organization’s adoption of the ISO standards. The final audit report is then prepared and presented to the certification body for approval, registration and issuance of certificate.
Annual surveillance visits will normally be conducted to ensure standards are maintained as required by the International Organization for Standardization.
Message To You;
ISO standards are a great way even for a small business to increase efficiency, competitiveness and maintain consistency. Moreover, it comes with the prestige that you can leverage in your marketing efforts saying, “Kamau and Njoroge Supplies LTD is now ISO Certified.”
You can get more trust from your current customers and the process of attracting new marketing will be much simpler. Indeed, if you have your eyes on growing your business beyond borders, then it is high time you start thinking about ISO certification as a way to boost your brand and improve your credibility.
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