Having an ISO certified Quality Management System comes with many benefits, but for every benefit there is a myth to go along with it.
We want to try to debunk a couple of the main myths and stories that we hear from our clients and shed light on what a Quality System really is. Also, to help explain some of the benefits that a system can have for your business.
From the non-conformance reports to corrective actions, every step along the way is designed so that your businesses does not stagnate. In the end, if you ask any business owner what they would love year-to-year, they will usually say something related to growth in profits and revenue. Operational and procedural improvements, while often overlooked, are a grassroots method to help achieve this.
Harmful to Business
The misconception is often that the Quality System and documentation is harmful to business productivity and value. Also, many businesses that have systems will never issue a NCR, with the notion that they represent that the business is doing something wrong.
Both of these notions can be debunked. Quality Systems and documentation remove risk to potential investors and add value to your business. In addition, auditors and clients will often want to see if you have been issuing any NCR’s. If you have not, then they will ask questions about why; because, unfortunately as hard as we try not to, every business makes mistakes that require learning.
Having a fully operational Quality Management System is a significant competitive advantage over your competition that does not have one. Sending in tender documents with a ISO 9001 compliant or certified system adds credibility to your bid. It is also becoming more common that public and some private companies are requiring an ISO system as part of a bidding process.
Expense to Maintain
An ISO certified system can drain the bank account? We hear this lots from potential clients. Once the overall system is set up and running, the only cost related is the yearly compliance audits mandated by the standard. This cost, depending on your amount of office and work locations you have, is only constituted by an auditor man-day or two per year.
Easy to Manage Documentation
Contrary to what many of our clients have heard, an ISO compliant system is very easy to manage. This is because the system runs itself. In many cases, it just formalizes all of the normal documentation your business already does. With the proper procedures and orientation system, everyone will know what to do, what to file and how to do it.
An ISO compliant system is not a documentation overload. As discussed above, in most cases it simply structures current documentation into a trackable and formal way. This way a company is protected from liability issues by always having the due diligence and documentation to back up their actions.
Creates a Competitive Advantage
There is no question that a Quality Management System creates a competitive advantage for your business. We like to explain this point in terms of value. Potential investors always will look at the risk of buying or investing in your business. The higher the risk, the less your business is worth, all else constant. Having a QMS gives peace of mind to investors that your business could run itself, or that new employees could be orientated quickly, through the procedures your company has in place. This removes risk, and in turn, increases value.
Portrays your Business as Expensive
This myth or stereotype has been around for a while. But it no longer carries any weight. Many of your potential clients now require ISO as a pre-requisite to even apply for a bid. Without it, you will be fighting an uphill battle with your competition.
A Business Management System
We do not look at a Quality Management System in those words. We like to explain it with different words. We call it a “Business Management System”. It is a culmination of all of your business procedures that describe how the business is run, how the business manages risk and how the business strives for continual improvement. All is does is describe your business and how you do it, “quality” is only a small portion of what it stands for.
The word “Quality”
Many people get mixed up with this word. They think a quality system relates to manufacturing a product and making sure the product is of high quality. This is true, but only partially. Every business aims to sell something, whether it is an idea, product or a service. And every business has a process on how they go about conceiving, procuring and making profits. This process is what a Quality Management System aims to capture.
You see, for every benefit, there is a myth surrounding an ISO 9001 Quality Program; however, the fact of the matter is, that every business should have some sort of Quality or Business Management System to help increase the value of the business, set operating procedures and manage stakeholder due diligence. Take the time to develop a program, and once it is operational, you will never look back.