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Motorway-sign-ready-for-Brexit-with-ISO-9001There has been a lot of talk in the media recently about the possibility of the UK falling into recession following the contraction of the economy in the second quarter of 2019.

With the proposed Brexit date of 31st October looming there is speculation that the economy could shrink further if we crash out without a deal. Some forecasters are warning that if we exit without a deal, the pound would plummet, stock markets would fall and GDP could shrink by 2% by the end of 2020.

With so much uncertainty around, whether these scenarios become reality or not, businesses need to be taking steps to ensure their products and services are competitive and looking at every area of their operations to find cost savings and increase efficiency.

Are you ISO 9001 certified already?

If you have achieved ISO certification to ISO 9001, you will already have a quality management system in place that will constantly improve your performance and drive down costs. This will provide the perfect framework to identify and carry out further improvements before the effects of a downturn start to bite.

Have you recently reviewed every area of your business or carried out a risk assessment to identify the negative effects that a recession or leaving the EU without a deal would have?

If your last annual surveillance visit was over 6 months ago and you have not carried out a company review or internal audit since then, don’t wait until your next surveillance visit before you carry out a company-wide review that includes recession proofing and Brexit planning.

Acting early before the effects of a recession start to have an impact on your sales and profits, will help you to reduce costs and minimise waste to keep your prices competitive. As an ISO 9001 certified company, you will already have an advantage over competitors who have not achieved ISO 9001 certification. This will keep your current customers on board and make it easier to win new business from around the world.

Opening new markets could be an option for some sectors after Brexit. With a probable devaluation of the pound, UK exports will be cheaper. Depending on the Brexit deal (or no deal), opportunities outside Europe may offer a solution, mitigating any loss of trade within the EU because of increased tariffs or customs delays. Additional bureaucracy and delays disrupting supply chains are expected and will mean more work for your management teams that may require changes to your management framework and structure.

ISO standards are internationally recognised and certification to ISO 9001 will demonstrate to new customers your commitment to maintain high quality standards.

Not ISO 9001 certified yet?

If you have been considering gaining ISO 9001 certification, now is a good time to prepare your organisation for the step change that will help you to grow by implementing a quality management system that will improve every area of your operations.

A quality management system regularly audited by a third-party Certification Body (CB) will provide proof that you have processes in place to continuously improve your business to recognised standards.

Implementing ISO 9001 will provide improvements that will help you survive and thrive during a recession:
  • Increase productivity and profit
  • Make it easier to build relationships with new customers and keep existing customers
  • ISO standards are recognised globally and will help you to enter new markets
  • Maintain your competitive pricing when tendering for new business
  • Improve your management systems to adapt quickly to economic changes.
Give your business the best chance of surviving the next recession, whether it comes next year or in the future, talk to one of our team on 0121 241 2299 or get an ISO 9001 quote by completing our short enquiry form.
For businesses and organisations to be successful over the long term, focusing on providing and maintaining quality products or services will help to ensure the growth and survival of the enterprise.

Quality is often defined as a product or service that meets or exceeds customer expectations.

Maintaining product and service quality will keep your existing customers coming back and help you to win new business by:
  • Improving customer satisfaction and referrals
  • Reducing returns and complaints
  • Helping to gain access to new markets
  • Building trust
  • Increasing sales and profitability.
Quality management is an ongoing process of continuous incremental improvements that will keep you ahead of your competitors.

To do this effectively your organisation could implement a quality management system that provides a method of controlling, measuring, tracking and continually improving processes.

One of the most internationally recognised quality management systems is ISO 9001:2015. Implementing a system such as ISO 9001 provides a framework of documented processes, procedures and controls to continually improve quality management.

Hand-flip-wooden-cube-chance-to-change-concept-of-quality-management-system

ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System (QMS)

A Quality Management System should encompass the strategic goals of the organisation and therefore needs the backing and leadership from top management.

Documentation provides the framework that will lead to performance-based measures and controls to keep track of progress against your objectives. For certification to ISO 9001 some documentation is mandatory. Your own internal auditor or ISO consultant will identify what is needed and will probably suggest a quality manual because this provides a logical template to help implement your QMS. Some organisations prefer their own documentation method and providing it has the necessary information, is logical and is communicated across the entire organisation, this can be just as effective.

Your own quality manual or documentation will reflect the size of your organisation and type of business and sector you are in. The important factor is that it works for you and becomes an integral part of your business not just a tick box exercise. To emphasise this, the recent ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015 revision has prioritised managing processes over documentation.

Making your QMS more effective

iso9001-ukasMany organisations obtain ISO 9001 because their customers demand certification as a prerequisite of working with you. Gaining ISO 9001 certification saves a lot of time in the pre-qualification process of a tender by demonstrating that you have a recognised quality management system in place. Especially if it is audited by a certification body that has been accredited by UKAS. The benefit of having the UKAS crown and tick on your certification identifies that your QMS meets the high standards that will be expected by your customers. Some organisations will not accept your certification without it.

ISO 9001 QMS registration mark

Regardless of whether you have been asked to gain certification or not, your organisation will benefit from the structured approach to every aspect of your business to help it improve and grow.

Because the ISO 9001 quality manual is based on a general template, it provides a guide that can be tailored by individual organisations to meet their own requirements. For example, progress through your quality manual will provide processes and actions that when completed will give you an edge over your competitors.

These are some examples of the content sections that will help you do this:
  • Policy documentation
  • Internal influences, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis
  • External influences, PESTLE (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental) analysis
  • Leadership
  • Management planning
  • Risk analysis, disaster recovery and continuity planning
  • Working procedures
  • Performance evaluation
  • Continual improvement.

Key stakeholders

Getting your key stakeholders involved in the quality management process through questionnaires and consultations will ensure their buy-in to establish and improve your quality management system.

Customers
Customer requirements will be paramount to quality objectives, finding out what their expectations are will be a priority for your quality policy document.

Management
The organisation’s Directors and managers need to be fully behind the implementation of ISO 9001. One of the other changes in the ISO 9001 revision was the importance of leadership from top management.

Employees
Your employees, contractors and sub-contractors will play an important role in your implementation of quality procedures, monitoring and reporting. Gaining their support and feedback for your quality management processes will make the implementation more effective.

Suppliers
Suppliers play a key role in ensuring your products or services are reliable and available when your customers need them. Involving them in your quality management procedures will ensure continuity of supply to your expected standards.

To find out more about implementing a quality management system, or the revision from ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015, request a callback or get a quote.
If you produce components for manufacturers who expect their suppliers to deliver on time and consistently to recognised standards, they will often insist on certification to one or more of the ISO standards such as ISO 9001.

These manufacturers recognise that businesses face risks from sources beyond their control and in today’s global economy the risks are greater, more varied and can happen more quickly. Businesses face physical, virtual, regulatory, political, reputational and financial events that can have devastating effects on business operations.

Gaining ISO 9001 certification for your business demonstrates that you have documented the risks and implemented controls to minimise the effects of a disruptive event so that you can maintain continuity of supply to your clients.

Disaster-recovery-with-ISO-9001Typical risks to a business include:
  • Extreme weather events affecting property, transport and power supplies that can have an impact on global supply chains
  • Cyber-attacks and disruption to IT systems
  • Changes to regulations and the political landscape
  • Loss of customer confidence due to negative publicity
  • Financial losses.
Business continuity requires management systems that can identify risks, manage disruption and limit the effects of these events to ensure business gets back to normal as quickly as possible.

Implementation of ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) will give your business a framework to help manage these risks. It may also lower your insurance premiums.

Business Interruption Insurance

You can rely on your business insurance to provide cover in case of an insured event. Policies that include Business Interruption Insurance will provide financial support for insured losses resulting from some of the above events. However, relying on insurance alone will not help your customer who wants a regular supply of products to fulfil their production deadlines.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have a management system in place to minimise risks and providing evidence to your insurance provider could reduce your insurance premiums.

ISO 9001 Quality Management System

The recent revision to ISO 9001:2015 prioritises a culture of risk-based thinking across the whole organisation. The standard provides a framework to evaluate risk and implement controls and processes to minimise the damage from an unexpected event.

Implementing business continuity planning and disaster recovery will help your organisation to resume services as quickly as possible when recovering from an event.

Benefits of certification to your customers are evident when you are tendering for new business or retaining existing clients. Being able to show a documented process for recovery from sudden events will give your customers confidence that you can maintain continuity of supply through all but the most catastrophic events that you have identified in your risk analysis.

Other benefits include increases in productivity and efficiency that will keep your prices competitive.

Methods used to identify risk

Your ISO 9001 consultant will provide guidance on methods that can be used to identify the risks associated with your operations including techniques such as:
  • Interviews with employees
  • Brainstorming
  • Identifying previous events
  • Risk survey
  • SWOT analysis
  • Your consultant’s industry knowledge of best practice within your industry sector.
If you want to take your disaster recovery and continuity management a step further, call one of our team on 0121 241 2299 to discuss how you can make your business more resilient to today’s fast-moving events. Alternatively, you can request a callback or a quote via our online forms.
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.
The ISO 9001 standard is one of a suite of ISO standards that are trusted by every industry sector to provide a globally recognised quality management system (QMS).

Whether you are in manufacturing, construction, automotive, aerospace, transport, local authority, charity or the service sector, ISO 9001 demonstrates to your customers that you have a quality management system in place that will consistently deliver to recognised standards.

Maintaining ISO 9001 certification or any other ISO standard will require regular audits to maintain and continuously improve your quality management systems. This gives your customers confidence that the quality of your products or services will be consistent and maintained to a high level to give them the best customer experience.

cogs-showing-delivery-and-quality-for-ISO-9001Benefits to your business
It is not only your customers who will benefit when you achieve ISO 9001 certification.

You can expect to increase profits by reducing waste and being more efficient and productive. Implementing effective management systems will improve employee relations and minimise mistakes. Better internal communications between all areas of the business will help to provide better reporting and delivery to customers.

Winning new business and retention of existing customers will be easier to achieve. Some of your customers or potential customers at home and abroad may even require certification before working with you.

If established correctly, the QMS should be unique to your business and implemented across your organisation to provide all the benefits without being over complicated and getting bogged down in paperwork. It should also have the backing of top management to drive the changes and focus on the benefits.

ISO 9001 certification bodies  
The success of ISO standards is down to the process of continuous improvement and checking, or auditing, that is carried out to monitor management systems. This provides proof to your customers that your business has processes in place and is maintaining them to the recognised standard.

The certification body you choose to carry out audits must not have any connection with your consultant or trainers who have helped set up your QMS. This ensures a completely impartial review of your documentation to maintain the integrity of your certification.

Choosing a UKAS accredited certification body means they have been assessed against internationally recognised standards to ensure competence, performance and impartiality.

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the only national accreditation body recognised by government. Achieving UKAS accredited certification means your customers do not have to carry out multiple assessments before they can start trading with you which will help you to open new markets for your business.

The stages to achieve certification include:
  • Preparation for an audit. Carried out internally or by a consultant.
  • Stage 1 audit to review documented management system, ideally by a UKAS accredited certification body.
  • Stage 2 audit to check any corrections from the first audit have been actioned.
  • Certificate decision is made once any non-conformities have been addressed.
  • Issue of certificate.
  • Ongoing surveillance audits.
To take your business to the next level and achieve a globally recognised certification, call one of our team on 0121 241 2299.