Mar. 8, 2018 – For contractor manufacturers, an International Organization for Standards (ISO) certification is becoming increasingly important as a quality and trust signal for clients and industry partners. An ISO 9001 certification states that your company is committed to the highest levels of traceability and quality control.
There are seven principles of quality management that ISO 9001 is based on:
1. Customer focus
2. Good leadership
3. Engagement of people
4. Process approach to quality management
5. Continual improvement
6. Evidence-based decision making
7. Relationship management
All of these principles are important to any industry, especially manufacturing. Nonetheless, manufacturers may wonder, is ISO certification really worth it? Why should we consider ISO certification? As previously mentioned, it serves as a trust signal that your products are able to meet customer requirements on a consistent basis. Additionally, it certifies that your processes are repeatable and predictable.
If your plant is considering obtaining ISO certification, weigh these pros and cons to determine if the process is worth it.
Pros of ISO 9001 certification
An ISO certification provides benchmarks to meet regarding quality objectives. While you may have business goals and standards, there is tremendous value in a certification from a reputable third party.
Many manufacturers do not have benchmarks and formal metrics in place to monitor quality objectives. Implementing these ensures that you aren’t making the same mistakes over and over again.
Here are some advantages of an ISO certification:
• Customer acquisition
Many companies only request quotes from manufacturers that have an ISO 9001 certification. This certification can also set you apart from your competitors when prospects submit RFQs to multiple manufacturers.
• Customer retention
Let’s not forget about your current customers. Quality control is crucial for turning new customers into repeat customers and maintaining a good reputation.
• Recognition and marketing
One of the benefits of an ISO certification is the recognition in the industry. ISO certification is an internationally recognized designation that has the potential to open entirely new markets. You can promote your certification at tradeshows and other industry events to support your products and services.
• Quality improvement
Quality objectives and formal metrics enable you to identify areas of improvement and better understand how your manufacturing processes contribute to the big picture. Quality variations will only hurt your staff and your business. Clients expect consistent and repeatable quality. Importantly, ISO certification mandates ongoing audits for quality. Certification is not a one-time thing. Rather, it encourages continual improvement.
• Committed and motivated employees
You can improve your company culture and empower employees with clearly outlined expectations and feedback. Think of ISO certification like a mission statement. You want this certification to be visible to employees so that everyone understands the values.
These advantages can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line, and you may wonder why all manufacturers don’t consider ISO certification. The biggest reason that companies don’t pursue an ISO certification is cost. It’s a time-consuming process, and consultation fees may not be in every manufacturer’s budget; however, it’s important to consider that the advantages of an ISO certification may offset expenses.
You can conduct a cost benefit analysis to determine if certification is feasible. Can you take on additional overhead? Part of this analysis should take a look at the new customers and markets you can reach with an ISO certification. You may also want to hire a consultant, who can help make sure you pass the audit the first time. Of course, hiring a consultant will come at an additional cost, but it could save you money in the long run.
Earning an ISO certification requires time and money. While the process is rigorous, the rewards for gaining this certification can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line. Not only will this build your reputation among current and potential clients, but your staff will benefit too.
Ed Jones is the marketing manager of John Evans’ Sons, the international leader in design and manufacturing of spring products. Learn more about John Evans’ Sons unique capabilities, including custom design and in-house tooling.