7 ways ISO certification can help your business
You may be wondering whether it’s worth the cost and trouble of getting ISO and other certifications for your business. According to dozens of studies, the answer is a resounding yes!
In fact, 98% of companies with ISO certification rated it either a good or very good investment, according to a 2009 United Nations survey. A 2012 review of 82 studies on ISO found that certification had “clear benefits” in terms of operations, customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
“ISO is like making a solid foundation for your house. You can build a strong business on it,” says BDC Consultant Isabelle Ledoux, who advises entrepreneurs on getting ISO and other standards.
Ledoux lists these concrete benefits from getting certified.
1) Promotes best practices—ISO and other standards give you access to internationally recognized best practices across your business. Standards exist for everything from quality management to environmental performance, information security, food safety, risk management, and health and safety.
2) Helps you become more productive—Adhering to standards requires you to clearly define, document and monitor your business processes. You also need to set objectives for your company and measure your progress. This work is critical to building a lean, productive business.
3) Keeps customers happy—Standards help keep customers satisfied by improving complaint management, quality control and client satisfaction monitoring. Research indicates one of the top benefits from certification is reduced customer complaints.
“Every business wants more clients, but if you don’t keep them satisfied, you’ll just get more unhappy clients,” Ledoux says.
4) Improves revenues—Certification can help your bottom line. Three in five companies that adopted ISO increased their revenues, according to a 2015 analysis of 92 studies. The revenue increase was significantly higher than for non-certified companies.
The best performance results happen in companies that make a sustained effort to improve operations—not just before the next recertification audit. “It’s a good investment, but you have to put in the effort,” Ledoux says.
5) Opens doors to new markets—Standards gives your business access to new markets. For example, you may be eligible for government contracts that require adherence to certain standards. Or, maybe, you’ll be able to join the supply chain of a larger company or a megaproject. Many standards are recognized worldwide and can increase your credibility with customers in international markets.
6) Fosters team commitment—Meeting ISO standards can help you foster a more engaged and productive workforce. Certified businesses report better job satisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, employee motivation and manager-employee communication, according to the 2012 research review.
The process of certification brings together managers and employees to work toward common objectives, using consistent processes. “Managers and employees develop more commitment to improving the business,” Ledoux says.
7) Applies to all sizes—Certification is useful for business of all sizes, even those with only a few employees. Smaller businesses sometimes pursue certification because of supply chain requirements or when they want to adopt best practices in their operations.