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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Member Blog: ISO Standards and Certifications – what are they and most importantly, how can they help your business?

By John Keen, managing director of RKMS

With thousands of different ISO standards and versions covering pretty much every industry imaginable, it’s no surprise the prospect of gaining certification can be quite daunting. Where do you start and which one is most appropriate for your business?

Amongst this vast range of standards, ISO Management Systems present organisations with a set of procedures to follow in order to meet business objectives. The potential benefits speak for themselves:

Increased opportunities and eligibility to apply for tenders
Reduced costs
Increased profits
More efficient use of resources
Improved risk management; and
Increased customer satisfaction as services and products consistently deliver what they promise.

Like all standards, ISO Management Systems are the result of international, expert consensus that ultimately benefit from global management experience and good practice. They can be applied to organisations of any size, regardless of the product, service or sector of activity.

The most popular quality management system standards are:

ISO 9001 – Quality Management System

This is probably the most common and can be applied to pretty much any industry. ISO 9001 requires businesses to focus on: developing continuous improvement; customer satisfaction through the use of management systems and; internal processes.

Advantages include:
- Increase in profits because of the reduction in waste
- Increase in sales through the sourcing of new clients, but also due to the reduction of lost orders
- Effective management
- Increases prospects – some tender opportunities are often restricted to ISO 9001 certified suppliers

ISO 50001 – Energy Management Systems

This standard addresses the impact your business has in terms of energy usage.

Benefits include:
- Reduced use of energy and lower carbon footprint
- Demonstrating social responsibility
- Financial

ISO27001 – Information Security Management System 

As the name suggests, this standard deals with all aspects of information security within an organisation, from physical to intellectual and electronic.

Benefits include:
- Mitigating the risk of data security breaches; and
- In the event of a breach, establishing an efficient back-up plan

ISO 14001 – Environmental Management System

By having this standard, a business is showing commitment to reducing the impact its day-to-day operations have on the environmental.

Benefits include:
- Reduced insurance costs
- Improved environmental focus
- Cost savings – reduction of energy use

OHSAS 18001 – Health & Safety Management System

By identifying the risks associated with your business operations, this standard guides you to focus on mitigating their impact.

Benefits include:

- Adhering to the Corporate Manslaughter Act which states all companies must do their upmost to ensure no injuries or fatalities are caused as a result of negligence.
- Give you customers confidence that your services will not be compromised by health and safety issues

Think ISO Management Systems as business tools that reduce your costs. This could be through minimising waste and errors, increasing productivity, improving efficiency and adopting effective management approaches. They can also help organisations access new markets and for businesses operating internationally - facilitate free and fair global trade.

Put simply, by achieving an ISO Management System Certification – you are sending a message to your customers, suppliers and potential investors/funders that because of robust internal systems, your products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality.

If you’d like to know more about ISO Management Systems, which one(s) are right for your business and how you can gain certification, why not book an initial consultation with RKMS? They have a team of expert consultants with a vast range of experience in many sectors. You can contact them on phone: 0844 815 77 65 or email:

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