The importance of quality management and ISO 9001 for your small business

This article looks at what ISO 9001 can bring to your company.

With ever-increasing demands on small and micro-businesses on quality, price and service, the most effective way to enhance the confidence of your customers is through a structured certificated Quality Management System (QMS). For a small business, this is not as daunting as it might appear, as it should always be based on how your business systems currently operate.

You can manage quality, whatever the size of your business, with a standard that’s recognised the world over. With ISO 9001 quality management you can

  • save money
  • increase profit
  • win more business
  • satisfy more customers

Why ISO 9001?

The standard is the foundation for:

• A real opportunity for increasing business, and thereby profitability, by being able to pursue contracts with those customers for whom certification is a contractual requirement. The possible increase in turnover compensates for any ongoing cost of maintaining certification.

• Providing you with the opportunity to gain a clearer understanding of your business through the information and data that the system gives you. Understandably, you feel that you already intimately know your business, however, many businesses of your size that have adopted the standard and used it as intended have benefitted as a result. The information provides the means for improving the business, customer focus, enhanced risk management, increasing efficiency, productivity, cost savings, and reducing and overcoming product or service problems.

• Developing a system which provides the building blocks a small or micro business needs to progress in that it enhances the recognition of your team members through involving them in considerations, development and implementation. This in turn significantly improves communication and understanding together with a faster response in resolving any issues that arise. All of this is achieved through your confidence that the system provides reliable, recorded information and data to base potential improvements on. Although known as a Quality Management Standard, it is far better for you to see it as a business.

Although known as a QMS standard, it is better for you to see it as a business development opportunity. 

What are the external benefits to a small business of ISO 9001?

• ISO 9001 is the recognised quality management system standard worldwide. It confirms that you have put in the effort to enhance your systems to meet the standard, in order to continue supplying a product or service that consistently meets your customers’ requirements.

• Through the process of continuing to review and improve systems, the standard can positively help your business to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction and increase the effectiveness of your operations. This will in turn provide opportunities for orders, increased profitability and stability in the business.

• BSI’s customer research (BSI voice of the customer survey 2012 to 2015) has shown that 50.6 per cent of businesses attract new customers, as a result of implementing and gaining certification. Furthermore, 62.2 per cent report improvements in products or services, 60.8 per cent report an increase in trust in their business.

What are the internal benefits of ISO 9001 to a small business?

• Your staff will have a common, logical system with consistent and repeatable processes for consistently getting things right.

• You and your staff, having all been involved in the initial development and review, will appreciate the benefits of the QMS being the clearly defined and agreed processes, which will effectively support everybody day-to-day and in any situation that could arise.

• Through the enhanced system you will all have a clearer understanding of what each person needs to do and how, which means you do not have to waste time memory testing, and searching for information.

• Certification enables you to tender potential new customers and increase business. This is possible as the certificate gives them confidence in your business.

• The team are able to speedily respond if things go wrong and agree a course of corrective action to prevent risk of a more serious outcome.

• As problems are recorded as a result of the system, the team has the ability to collectively consider actions to correct and prevent recurrence. Should another problem arise there is a processes in place that the team can use to identify and resolve the problem more speedily.

• Through the improvement in business control and reporting you will have a clearer view of how the business is doing and any aspects that should be looked at in more detail.

• To quote BSI’s research, 61.8 per cent of businesses have seen a reduction in the likelihood of mistakes.

All the above contributes ultimately to an improved customer experience.

To read more, visit the BSI website.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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Business management

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