I was honoured to listen to Mr. Mike Nasser, OMRI, C.I.T.P., at a business breakfast in St. Catharines, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada. Concerning the Organization for Standardization (ISO) with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, one of the fliers supplied begins appropriately with:

“Enhancing your competitive advantage

Quality management grows market share

Your business faces constant challenges and you must continuously improve both your ability to meet and surpass the competition. You need a way to make your company more profitable – plus assure customers that your definition of quality exceeds their expectations.

The ISO 9001:2000series of standards is the worldwide reference for quality management. ISO 9001:2000 certification has a proven track record for increasing business performance and profitability through quality assurance at all levels of your business operations, including customer satisfaction.”

Whether you are interested in tourism coming to you, exporting or importing, or as a consumer, international quality standards are here to benefit the global economy. As Nasser indicated, the effect of the drive for cheap labor in developing countries without quality standards has been the engine for this international movement. Multinational corporations were asking countries to build cheap without safety directives. China is the primary mover of these standards as it was taken advantage of for cheap labour by these corporations. With a strong government system in China, enforcement is firm and severe if compliance lapses.

Remember when “Made in Japan” meant cheap and poor quality? I recall that as a child (which dates me). Now, we see quality, quality, quality. Our economies are not isolated islands. To be properly competitive, we need that new “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” (another term that dates me). ISOS means “equal” in Greek: these new standards are in the process of equalizing the manufacturing and service industry standards across the globe, eliminating unfair advantages. Each company receives a quality manual of about 20 pages long of specific and measurable standards.

Become a more informed business person, improve services to standard, and watchdog opportunities and potential opportunities.

ISO 9001 Quality Management refers to quality requirements, enhances customer satisfaction, achieves continual (uninterrupted) improvement of performance in quality and improvement in corporate objectives.

ISO Environment Certification is fast being embraced around the world. Don’t be caught “left behind” by not embracing it yourself. Minimize harmful effects on environment caused by business activities. Achieve continual improvement of environment. Complies with government requirements.

ISO 22000 Food Safety Managementincludes the HACCP Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (which by itself is not certifiable) dealing with the biological, chemical and physical aspects of the work environment. Deals with food hygiene. A single management system platform upon which more specific requirements such as those developed by various global food retailer organization. Goes as far as approving which cleaning agents to use. United Nations World Health Association approved.

Look for ISO 9000 for 2008 designed to improve corporate communication, including service industries.

The Global Business Management Solutions are recognized by 170 nations. Watch for KPIs (key performance indicators). The strength of these standards is the management by facts, not by assumptions. 

There are over 16500 ISO management systems.

One slide from the BDC presentation:

“Your success and continued survival depends on performance and customer satisfaction.

It is well known that companies in China, Japan & South Korea do it by using internationally accepted and proven management systems.

These are described in the ISO management standards…”

One final word: you can say you are “compliant” to the standard without having anyone come to certify you (a possible $7,000 to $14,000/3 years fee). Between increased customer retention and greater market share alone, these standards are well worth investing in.

Resources:

Mr. Mike Nasser, handouts, BDC Consulting Group, from Pickering, Ontario

Janet A Wiebe

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