Do you know your operating costs?
Over the years of working as both a Consultant and an Auditor, it is still surprising to me how businesses fail to recognise all the operating costs for their market and products. I audit four of the ISO standards (ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, ISO 27001:2013 and ISO 45001:2018), so I see quite a cross-section of businesses, products and services and there are generally two reasons for adopting any of the ISO standards.
Willing Accreditation to the ISO Standards
In some cases, a business will recognise that it would benefit from adding structure and organisation to its operations. This, in turn, will help improve its product or service. I have seen this in a number of organisations and it undoubtedly does forge improvements throughout the business. It does, however, come at a cost, so it is an investment that needs to be considered and added to the operational overheads. In time, once all the disciplines have been learned, deployed and mastered, those costs will reduce.
Customer Required Accreditation
Alternatively, customers may need ISO certification as part of their requirements of trading with their supply chain. Now, this poses a problem. In this scenario, ISO certification is often regarded as an irritant and an unnecessary operating cost. I have witnessed clients complain bitterly about the cost of ISO certification, without realising that if they lost the customer who was insisting upon ISO certification, then their business would look quite different. That resentment of ISO certification colours their view of the disciplines required.
In the worst case, the business does not engage with the ISO system and depends on external support to get them through audits. Of course, this just adds further cost to their ISO certification. In addition, that resentment of the process doesn’t yield any of the benefits that certification can bring. In the absolute worst case, I have witnessed this lack of engagement ultimately resulting in the business failing.
Understanding the operating costs
So, if you want to embrace the ISO Standards and gain the undoubted benefits, you will need to budget for this. However, the costs should reduce as time goes on and may well be offset by improvements in efficiency.
On the other hand, if your customer is insisting on ISO certification, which you do not want to do and only see as a cost, it is probably wise to think long and hard about what the business would look like without that customer. Could the business survive without them? Could their business be replaced by other customers who don’t require any of the ISO standards?
For either scenario, P+P can assist with all types of ISO certification support. This can be via a program of mentoring to develop the skills in staff to manage the system internally. Or, on the other hand, P+P can develop and manage your systems completely which will comply with any of the four ISO standards listed above.
If you would like to help to evaluate whether ISO accreditation is right for your business, then contact us on:
Tel: 01284 330400
We work with small to medium size businesses across the East Anglia Region.