By Kayla Matthews
In the business world, there are a variety of conflicting opinions about International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certifications.
Some consider ISO as only suitable for big businesses, while offering smaller businesses little more than a marketing tool.
In reality, many ISO standards are generic by design to accommodate any type or size of business. The flexibility of ISOs can contribute to improved customer service, reduced operational costs and increased international market access for businesses of all sizes.
Due to significant up-front cost and gradual impact, the topic of ISO certifications can be polarizing in business.
However, in many cases, ISO certification is worth the time and cost. Core Business Solutions points out on its website that ISO certifications have had a bad reputation with small business owners for some time, yet the organization has seen literally hundreds of small businesses benefit from taking the plunge.
Here are some ways in which ISO certifications can be genuinely helpful for a business’ overall growth and reputation.
Demonstration of a Quality Management System
Before customers decide to do business with a company, it’s prudent to analyze that company’s management system. A cluttered and disorganized management system can indicate perpetual missed deadlines and lack of communication. ISO standards provide consumers confidence that the products they’re using are safe.
ISO certification provides customers peace of mind regarding the management protocols, confirming there is an effective quality management system set up and active, with its processes and procedures under control. Businesses can take time to educate customers about the misconception that ISO is simply an effective marketing tool, and emphasize how ISO certification provides the basis to develop, manage and grow a business.
Especially in a business landscape where many competitors have ISO certifications, being certified is also an important way to keep pace with the competition, as well as improving customer service by providing additional consumer confidence.
Reduced Operational Costs
A great aspect of ISO certification is its tendency to uncover processes that can be further optimized, helping eliminate waste and cut costs.
Advanced checkups or certain management systems and protocols can be comparable to the ISO registrar price, so many businesses consider the rigorous certification process highly beneficial to spotting inadequacies within their daily operations.
Increased International Market Access
Small businesses typically don’t have the resources to focus on international markets. An ISO 9001 certification can help immensely with international exposure, since ISO is recognized throughout the world. With more than 1 million organizations in 175 countries using ISO certifications, the process provides recognition and trust within markets not typically associated with small businesses. ISO certification allows international consumers to verify the quality of partners and suppliers, making international partnerships and cross-consumer interest a reality.
Despite some stigma among small businesses that ISO certification is overly expensive, difficult and time-consuming, the resources and time will result in a positive reputation with an evident quality management system and reduced operational costs.
The result is increased access to international markets, as well as providing consumers with added confidence when doing business with your organization.
ISOs are here to stay, so businesses would be prudent to take advantage of their plethora of benefits.
About the Author: Kayla Matthews writes about communication and workplace productivity on her blog, Productivity Theory. Her work has also appeared on Talent Culture, MakeUseOf, The Muse and Fast Company.