It’s not uncommon for organisations to be in two minds about whether ISO 9001 certification is for them. While the list of benefits is extensive, businesses are often deterred by the time, resource and financial costs they may incur along the way.
Luckily, there are various, relatively straightforward steps your company can take to lower costs throughout the certification process, as well as during future operations and compliance appraisals.
Expense or Investment?
What if, rather than being an expense, integrating quality management systems into your current organisational processes was an investment?
All too often businesses are short-sighted, considering how they’ll be impacted now, without also evaluating the implications of their decisions down the line. While a cheaper solution may seem preferable now, it’s not always going to deliver results that are maintainable and reliable well into the future.
For those who wish to operate at the frontier of their sector, planning for future success is imperative.
With a strong quality management system in place, businesses can refine their existing processes and procedures organisation-wide, all the while taking proactive action to manage risks. In cases where an organisation is growing rapidly, robust quality systems make rolling out standardised processes across multiple sites easier and more cost-effective. Quality systems also help make a business more attractive for sale. In addition to this, if future hardships threaten your businesses ongoing viability, you’ll likely be far better prepared to promptly address them. This means that, in many cases, you will not only save on finances, time and resources but also have the means to get back to business sooner.
In addition to this, for those who rely on securing tenders, an investment in quality management systems can facilitate greater profit in the future. This is because, in many instances, businesses that aren’t ISO certified won’t meet the minimum requirements of government bodies and large corporations, so they won’t be invited to tender. At the end of the day, this means fewer chances to be considered for tenders and, even if the opportunity does arise, they risk falling short of certified competitors, who are often viewed as more credible.
Reducing ISO 9001 Certification Costs
While reducing costs throughout the certification process is, of course, incredibly appealing to many organisations, it’s important not to cut corners along the way. In the long-term, a well-executed quality management system is going to deliver far better results than one that is purely focused on satisfying the standards minimum requirements.
Walking the line between cutting costs and meeting ISO 9001 guidelines can be risky.
This risk is further amplified when organisations fail to establish strong strategies that are closely aligned with and driven by the standards key clauses. In some cases, organisations who stray too far from the requirements of ISO 9001 in a bid to cut costs end up with systems that are lacking and, because of this, may not be granted certification.
Thus, it’s important that, during each stage of the certification process, your organisation has a clear, shared direction that doesn’t become overshadowed by a desire to save on costs. In doing this, you can give your business a fighting shot at achieving ISO 9001 certification, all the while enjoying the long-term benefits that come with streamlined, quality-driven management systems.
1. Design Effective Training Processes
Training is at the heart of effectively integrating improvements organisation-wide. If your employees aren’t aware of or don’t understand the changes you’re introducing, instilling new standards is going to be near impossible.
When it comes to achieving ISO 9001 certification, the value in providing thorough training to your employees is irrefutable.
Instilling a shared vision among staff is crucial and, if everyone is working productively towards a common goal, you can expect to see exceptional, sustainable results far sooner. Training is a great way to do just that. This is because, upon its completion, employees across all organisational levels will have established a mutual understanding of what needs to get done and how best to get there.
It comes as no surprise that leaving employees to figure it out themselves is counterproductive.
Organisations who apply such approach will likely experience great difficulty in achieving their compliance objectives, which simply delays the certification process. If they decide to continue working towards ISO 9001 certification, they’ll need to invest even more time, money and resources towards doing so. Thus, in many cases, those in this position find that they would have been far better off had they made training a priority from the start.
The money, time and resources you invest in ensuring your staff members have the required skills and knowledge to fulfil their role in improving compliance across operations are just that – an investment. This is because, when done effectively, the costs you incur now can translate into greater productivity, streamlined processes, fewer discrepancies down the line and a workplace culture that’s built on strong, quality-driven foundations.
2. Focus on Long-Term Results
By this point, it’s apparent that if you’re interested in achieving and maintaining ISO 9001 certification without incurring unnecessary costs, focusing on long-term results is vital.
While it may be tempting to cut corners to save on costs, this can leave your business at a loss further down the line.
When introducing a quality management system, businesses focus on reducing documentation, streamlining processes and improving the efficiency of their operations organisation-wide. This assists them in not only improving the quality of existing processes but also guiding continued improvement well into the future.
The business landscape is incredibly volatile, constantly evolving to more accurately reflect the ever-changing demands of the modern market. Luckily, the framework applied in ISO 9001 is ideal for effectively responding to such developments. With streamlined processes, motivated employees, reduced documentation and the like, your business will have the means to promptly adjust your systems as required, all the while planning for future success. In the long-term this will, ultimately, save your organisation time, resources and money.
Once an organisation successfully achieves ISO 9001 certification, if they want to remain compliant with the standard, they need to be re-certified once every three years. In cases where businesses no longer satisfy the requirements of ISO 9001, they risk losing their certified status. However, when organisations commit to investing in their quality management system from the start, ensuring it’s maintainable, they’re far less likely to incur difficulties and subsequent costs when working to stay compliant.
3. Get Expert Assistance
If you’re looking at cutting costs during the ISO 9001 certification process, getting professional assistance from an ISO consultant may not be an option you’ve considered.
Often, those in such position will instead gravitate towards template systems, which are based on the premises that individuals can simply ‘do it themselves’. However, if members of your organisation have no background or prior experience in implementing ISO 9001 guidelines, this isn’t always a reliable route to take.
While it is, of course, possible to do a great job using a reputable template system, an ISO consultant can save you time, resources and money in the long run.
The Unforeseen Costs of Template Systems
Typically, ISO 9001 consultants have extensive experience working with organisations spanning across a diverse range of industries and business contexts. They understand the intricacies of the standard guidelines and, because of this, can make certain that no areas are overlooked along the way. This ensures that your processes are closely aligned with the requirements of ISO 9001, which improves the overall maintainability of your quality management system. This, in turn, translates into fewer discrepancies, amendments and drastic costs down the line.
Those using template systems can also encounter various time costs, the majority of which can be avoided by enlisting the help of a qualified professional.
Even if a member of your business has prior experience setting up ISO 9001 compliant systems, they’ll still need to dedicate a notable amount of time to improving organisational processes. Typically, this means stepping away from their primary position in the business for up to one day per week over a period of 6 to 12 months. However, with a dedicated ISO consultant assisting you, your staff members can stay focused on performing their role, meeting deadlines and leading the business to future success.
With a detailed understanding of ISO 9001 standard guidelines, an ISO consultant can assist you in promptly identifying and addressing downfalls. This can, in turn, help you achieve certification sooner. A compliance professional can also help you reduce documentation, which supports improved efficiency, so less time is wasted performing tiresome, unnecessary tasks.
Beyond this, an ISO 9001 consultant will know what to look for and can identify cost savings throughout the certification process. At the end of the day, they’re an invaluable partner to have by your side every step of the way.
Reach Your ISO 9001 Certification Objectives
If you’re interested in achieving ISO 9001 certification, speak with one of our expert consultants today. Our consultants are located across Australia and know what it takes to secure and maintain strong quality management systems.
To find out if you qualify for our free, no-obligation 1-hour system appraisal and quote, get in touch with us by calling 1300 132 745.