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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.
The speculation is over and the decision has been made to leave the EU. Now we have a new prime minister and the dust has settled, it is probably time for you to try and assess how this is going to affect your business.

BrexitMost commentators agree that we are going to go through a period of economic uncertainty; the recent currency fluctuations are already starting to have an impact and will probably affect us all one way or another.

The effect of these changes will increase the cost of imports so we can expect to see rises in the machinery and technical equipment (mostly imported), needed for our businesses such as industrial machines and computer hardware and software.

Industries that are expected to be most affected are construction, financial services and manufacturing.

ISO standards and Brexit
Many of our clients will be affected by the economic changes brought on by Brexit, some positively, others negatively. Cheaper exports for those companies selling abroad may help to balance the increase in costs.

With all of this uncertainty it is good to know that some things will remain constant.  ISO standards such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 will remain effective and provide the same benefits during the transition to leave the EU and when we finally leave. ISO accreditation is international and the EU often adopts the ISO standard as the European Standard.

Any changes to this stability will depend on our new relationship with the EU. At the moment we have some influence over European standards which means that our manufacturing and service industries have easy access to sell products and services to all European countries by meeting these standards.
Currently our manufacturers save time and cost by only having to comply with one standard to trade with European and global markets.

We can only assume that the UK will remain committed to the European standards to allow our businesses to maintain ease of access, even though our influence over the standards may be diminished.