ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) is probably the most popular and recognised of all the ISO standards used by businesses to demonstrate that they are operating efficiently to provide quality products or services to their customers.

ISO 9001 is one of a range of ISO standards that benefits businesses and institutions by providing audited certification to help them to increase sales and trade at home and abroad. It is often the first of a raft of other standards that a business will use to demonstrate their focus on customer satisfaction.

Other standards regularly combined with ISO 9001 include ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 (ISO 45001) and ISO 27001.

ISO standards are implemented by businesses to provide consistent and measurable management systems that can be used by their customers (buyers) to select suppliers. Achieving an ISO certification such as ISO 9001 will open doors to new customers and markets.

ISO is an international organisation and currently spans 162 member countries which recognise the importance of these standards to increase international trade. ISO, though recognised by the EU is not connected to the EU.

Certification bodies will continue to be audited by UKAS to provide organisations with UKAS accredited certification to help them retain and win new business in international markets.

Whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal, the UK government will continue to recognise UKAS as the sole national accreditation body and UKAS accredited certification will retain international recognition.

The UK government has confirmed this through the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial strategy drafted in a statutory instrument in preparation for a no deal Brexit.

As far as ISO standards are concerned, it is business as usual.

Containers-international-tradeEffects of a no deal Brexit on business
The UK has been granted an extension to Brexit until 31st October 2019. This gives businesses additional time to prepare for a possible no deal.

Some commentators have increased their odds on a no deal resulting from the stalemate in negotiations for Brexit.

We may find that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, exporters will face difficult trading conditions for a while.

Headlines from a variety of forecasters are expecting a downturn in trade due to the disruptions that will be caused at the border and lack of clarity on customs tariffs.

In these circumstances, UK businesses that have an ISO standard such as ISO 9001 can gain advantages over some of their EU competitors that do not. Also, while trade barriers with the EU may lead to a reduced market in the short term, gaining access to new markets outside the EU will support businesses through the Brexit no deal transition.

Your ISO 9001 QMS will provide the framework you need to meet the challenges of a Brexit no deal.

If you have implemented ISO 9001 QMS in your business, you can help to minimise the effect of a no deal because risk assessment is a fundamental part of ISO 9001. Carrying out a Brexit no deal risk assessment will help you to:
  • Identify areas that will impact your business.
  • Analyse solutions.
  • Instigate changes.
Following a no deal, there will probably be an increase in administration costs and more forms to fill in to continue to trade with the EU. As part of your continuous improvements, ISO 9001 will help to streamline your administration and identify unnecessary and time-consuming tasks to free up more time to deal with the extra paperwork.

Leadership from top management and involvement in the businesses management system is one of the new requirements for ISO 9001:2015 (ISO 9001:2008 revised) which will help drive through the changes that will be required to prepare for a no deal.

Get expert help. If you think ISO 9001 would help your business to survive Brexit or if your certification is coming up for renewal and you would like to discuss some of the challenges you may face, call 0121 241 2299 and talk to one of our team.