Benefits of ISO 9001 implementation for small businesses

Small businesses are stressful to lead. Why? Because a small group of people are looking for so many work functions simultaneously, like government regulations, laws, production and sales, supply chains, financial issues, quality problems, the work force, etc. Now, what can lead a small business to a sustainable and continuously growing organization are consistent quality services. Consistency in workflows, quality, and processes will allow small businesses to think about improvement of their businesses.

If a SME (small- to medium-sized enterprise) keeps on struggling with its routine quality issues, then there are far fewer chances for the business to sustain and grow. Thus, the most beneficial tool for a SME to attain sustainability in its processes is ISO 9001 certification. A small business can benefit significantly from the systematic process approach that the ISO 9001 standard provides. Let’s see how practical implementation of ISO 9001 benefits SMEs in order to improve their various processes and activities.

Why ISO 9001 certification?

The ISO 9001 standard is a basic framework for any organization – large or small – to ensure a good Quality Management System. The purposes of the standard are to allow a company to provide higher levels of customer satisfaction, along with consistently supplying products or services that meet customer requirements, as well as to achieve business goals and targets and to maximize profitability. ISO 9001 certification can help a small business in specific areas, especially in business process consistency and supplier relations. Here are a few examples of how ISO 9001 helps SMEs:

  • ISO 9001 certification requires the business to ensure that all materials are purchased from suppliers that have been evaluated based on quality criteria, and these suppliers must be re-evaluated at defined intervals to ensure ongoing material quality and consistent supply chains.
  • ISO 9001 certification can help SMEs to increase their business – and eventually, their profitability – by building up business with the customers for whom certification is a contractual requirement.
  • ISO 9001 allows SMEs to gain a clear understanding of their business through gathering all of the valuable business information and data mandated by the various standard requirements. Some examples include risk management processes, context of the organization, customer feedback and reviews, results of internal audits and management reviews, analysis of corrective actions, product or service complaints, etc.
  • ISO 9001 provides the basis to develop a system that increases confidence in the company’s stability, while providing reliable, recorded information and data to identify and move forward with potential improvements.

See more details about ISO 9001 as a business management system in this article: ISO 9001: Why it should be viewed as a business management system.

As ISO 9001 is a Quality Management System standard, which is basically a business development opportunity, let’s see how it can benefit the SME financially. To see some challenges that might come up while implementing ISO 9001, read this article: The 3 key challenges of ISO 9001 implementation for SMEs.

Financial benefits

ISO 9001 certification increases business opportunities with potential clients, as well as international business. There are companies that do business only with ISO-certified companies, so a business that has an ISO certification will get preference over those that do not. That means that a certified SME will get more business and, therefore, more revenue. Further on, consistent production operations and fewer product failures cut down on quality costs, resulting in more profitability. Consistent quality in products or services leads to higher customer retention rates and increases customer confidence in the business, which leads to enhancement of the business and eventually results in financial growth.

Increased revenue is the byproduct of ISO 9001 certification. It directly helps the business to develop a sustainable Quality Management System that results in better financial performance by the organization.

Employees benefits

ISO 9001 certification requires the organization to define organizational structures, roles, and responsibilities; to ensure competence and awareness; and to provide a suitable work environment for operations. If an organization (SME) fulfills all the requirements of the standard related to human resources, this results in higher employee satisfaction and motivation. People love to work in an organization where they are treated well, listened to and allowed to participate, and anticipate personal growth. ISO 9001 certification requires all of the above-mentioned qualities to be fulfilled, so a SME with ISO 9001 certification is likely to be a better place to work for employees as compared to other conventional small businesses without ISO certification.

Customer benefits

The ISO 9001 standard is based on the basic quality management principles of meeting customer requirements and striving to exceed customer expectations. A customer always looks for quality in a product and quality in a service. It’s not only the product quality that encourages a customer to buy again and again; it is also the customer experience that persuades a customer to return. An ISO 9001-certified business increases customer confidence, because the customer knows that he is dealing with an internationally certified company. As the first quality management principle states, this is the key feature that allows a small business to stand out amongst a large number of companies with no such certifications.

Employer benefits

One key benefit that has been discussed above is getting potential contracts. An ISO-certified business increases its likelihood of getting potential contracts when that ISO certification is a requirement. Also, from my experience, customer satisfaction increases for an ISO-certified company. An ISO-certified SME can identify and resolve customer issues quickly, intelligently, and more efficiently, and it can do so even before delivering its product or services to the customer. In a small business, optimal use of resources saves a lot. And, if an ISO 9001 Quality Management System is truly implemented, then the company saves a lot by reducing wasted time, money, and effort. Running an ISO 9001 system can help a business to manage its resources effectively and identify opportunities where savings can be found and actions can be taken. The higher turnover, optimized production costs, and improved brand reputation will eventually turn into employer benefits.

A lot of benefits

ISO 9001 certification benefits all aspects of a business. Some of the key benefits of ISO 9001 certification are the following:

  • Structured and efficient processes management
  • High customer satisfaction and retention
  • Improved quality and service
  • Higher potential for clients and contracts
  • Trusted and valued information and results about the business
  • Better business reputation
  • Consistent processes
  • Increased business turnover

Last, but not least, certifying your QMS according to ISO 9001 means getting organized, and getting organized means continual improvement, and continual improvement guarantees a sustainable business. Who wouldn’t want that?

Use this free white paper How can ISO 9001 help your business grow? to get more information about the benefits of ISO 9001 implementation.