August 28, 2014

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

ISO is all about International Standardisation

International standardisation through ISO provides a reference framework, or a common technological language, between suppliers and their customers, which facilitates trade and the transfer of technology.  Industry-wide standardisation helps to remove barriers to trade and is available to all.

ISO for international standardizationISO standards operate throughout the world in over 170 countries, in industrialised, developing and in transition, regions.  ISO’s portfolio of standards provides business, government and society with practical tools for all three dimensions of sustainable and business growth development: economic, environmental and social.

We are all aware that there is a shift in how the world trades.  It is also apparent that this shift in global trade is opening new doors to developing countries.  What will also help greatly is the ability for all countries, all governments, and all suppliers irrespective of size, location or industry sector to compete on a level playing field.

ISO and developing countries

ISO specialist companies, such as IMSM, work with clients in developing countries, to assist them in putting in place a standardisation infrastructure to enable their products to meet requirements on an international level.  In 5 simple steps your business can trade to all internationally.

ISO standards are the same throughout the world thus creating a level playing field for all nations.  Emerging nations, with limited resources and fledging infrastructure, can benefit from the reservoir of knowledge that ISO represents.  ISO standards are a powerful business tool organisations can utilise.

In coming years, developing countries will face intense competition and the choice of options available to businesses will be daunting.  IMSM believe in offering all businesses, large or small, start up or established, the opportunity and support to become ISO certified.

International buyers are unlikely to relax their purchasing standards; therefore sourcing the right product at the right price is truly international.  To aid this international trade route, the more companies adopting ISO standards, as a building block to delivering a quality product and service, the more countries, like Kenya, as a nation can compete in every market.

ISO for all

ISO Standards can provide producers who are trying to enter into business with major buyers and retailers, with invaluable tools to help make them stronger contenders.  When trading with global buyers, on top of national and regional standards and technical regulations, a business now needs to comply with the internationally recognised standards that are, for the most part, imposed on them by larger companies within the supply chain.

Why ISO?

ISO Standards are considered to be one of the ways of promoting social development and environmental sustainability in global value chains.

ISO Standards can help SMEs as they are generally established to guarantee the quality and safety of the products but also often ensure satisfactory working conditions in the factories. This is seen as a positive development, encouraging SMEs to implement sustainable and corporate socially responsible (CSR) policies in the workplace.

ISO standards provide solutions and achieve benefits for almost all sectors of activity.

ISO standards make a positive contribution to the world we live in; helping to facilitate fair trade, spread knowledge, disseminate innovative advances in technology, and share good management and conformity assessment practices.

For more information about ISO standards and certification, contact IMSM, the leading consultants delivering on the implementation of ISO standards.

The Benefits of ISO Standards for your Business

This article is part of the series about ISO standards and ISO Certification and what that means for your business. The purpose here is to explain the benefits of ISO standards and why companies would implement it.
ISO Benefits

Development of an ISO Standard

Development of ISO standards is thorough, consistent and harbours the specialist knowledge of experts from each industry across the globe.  This ensures credible and consistent frameworks for businesses to adhere to.

The development of ISO standards is continual, with meetings taking place daily across the world.  A technical committee is made up of experts, who discuss and debate until a consensus is reached.  The first draft of the standard is put to public review and voting takes place.  Feedback is considered and the standard is redrafted if voting does not go in favour of the original draft.  The process is repeated until a consensus is reached and the ISO standard is published.

ISO makes the world a better place

Consider what the world would be like without ISO standardsISO standards make a considerable and positive contribution daily, to the lives of people across the world.  Standards integrate a set of characteristics to a product or service in order to meet the expectations of the consumer.

The role of the ISO often goes unnoticed when a commodity meets the approval of the end user.  However when standards are absent and a product/service does not meet with consumer expectations, be it poor quality or not working, it is very rarely overlooked.  Together with ensuring quality, environmental friendliness and reliability, ISO standards guarantee the safety of products and services.

The ISO standards work to enhance many aspects of business, such as;

o   Improving the development, manufacturing and supply of products and services to be more efficient, safer and cleaner

o   Facilitating trade between countries and develop and fairer trade system

o   Providing governments with a technical base for health, safety and environmental legislation

o   Sharing technological advances and good management practice

o   Circulating innovation

o   Safeguarding consumers and users of products and services

o   Providing solutions to common problems, in turn helping to make life easier

10 Benefits of ISO Standards

The ISO standards provide a host of benefits to the economy, technology and society as a whole.

1.       ISO enables businesses to complete on markets around the world, due to the widespread adoption of the standards, products and services are developed according to the specifications meaning they will have international acceptance.

2.       For innovators of new technologies, ISO standards help to speed up the distribution of innovations and their development into products.  Customers can enjoy a broad choice of offers as well as benefiting from the effects of competition among suppliers.

3.       Conformity of products and services to ISO standards provides assurance about their quality, safety and reliability for consumers.

4.       ISO provide the technological and scientific bases underpinning health, safety and environmental legislation to aid governments.

5.       ISO creates “a level playing field” for all competitors, helping trade officials and the existence of divergent national or regional standards can create technical barriers to trade.  ISO are the technical means by which political trade agreements can be put into practice.

6.       By defining the characteristics that products and services will be expected to meet on export markets, ISO gives developing countries a basis for making the right decisions when investing their scarce resources.

7.       On an environmental level, ISO standards can help to preserve the air, water, soil quality, gas emissions, radiation and environmental aspects of products.

8.       ISO contributes to the quality of life in general by ensuring that the transport, machinery and tools we use are safe.

9.       The ISO facilitation process is essentially conformity assessment – checking that the products, materials, services, systems, processes or people measure up to the specifications of a relevant standard.

10.   ISO guides and standards for conformity assessment represent an international consensus on best practice.

For more information about ISO standards and certification, contact IMSM, the leading consultants delivering on the implementation of ISO standards.

Understanding ISO Certification

Following the article: “Understanding the value of ISO for your business“, this article will explain ISO CertificationISO Certification indicates that a recognised independent registrar has examined a company’s quality system and found them to be compliant with ISO standards.
ISO Certification
The process of developing and implementing a good, solid, quality management system that is also compliant is time consuming and expensive.  So, does ISO hold enough value to justify these efforts?

The ISO certification process serves as a vehicle for improving all major interrelated systems that affect product quality, customer service and company performance.  Therefore a company-wide effort is necessary to implement the process, which drives value through every level of a business.  Company culture is at the heart of any business, and industry experts have cited that the most important component to ISO improvements should be attitudes within the company.

ISO Implementation

To get the most out of ISO implementation, training and awareness programmes work by way of getting employees involved.  It is important that all levels of management buy in to the ISO process and be actively involved to derive maximum benefit.

The employees will be working with quality management systems on a daily basis and need to understand the effect it will have on their jobs.  With significant input during the development of the procedures, the ISO certification process becomes much more meaningful to them, increasing the likelihood that they will embrace the process.

Value from within a business is fine and this value and pride in a business will naturally reach your customer base.  As a measurement of value with any business, an ISO helps you to deliver, which is what your customer requires.

Successful implementation takes place when the ISO standards are developed to fit the company and not the other way around.  IMSM works with clients to create a tailored implementation so that it can be worked in to the company culture without disrupting what is already in place, cohering employees to ensure that there is no resistance or the “way we have always done it” attitude.

ISO as a Step in the Quality Management Process

The value of ISO is very dependant on the company involved and how they view the ISO certification.  If a company regards the certification as just a goal, once certified much of the work and improvements that went in to the achievement cease to continue.  The companies that derive value from ISO see it as a step in the quality management process.  The process often drives a “cultural change” that spurs them to look for ways to build on their new quality management system.

Such a cultural change within a business has a positive effect on numerous elements of productivity such as, the approach to product development and manufacturing, communication with vendors, and relations with customers and employees.  As a result, the company will experience positive returns such as improved production, customer satisfaction and loyalty and employee enthusiasm and commitment.  This payback will far exceed the original investment in ISO certification, and deliver to you far more layers of value and satisfaction than first thought.

Certification can be obtained from a company such as IMSM who only work with Assessors that have been successfully trained to the highest standard by an IRCA or equivalent approved training body, who have a wealth of experience, to guarantee that their clients will receive first class consultation throughout their ISO journey.

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