Many small and medium enterprises lack one major thing which is structure and this makes it rather difficult to for them to scale and also puts a strain on their leadership structure. Due to this, they most times struggle with producing quality products or services leaving behind a long list of dissatisfied customers and a poor chance of growth and sustainability. SME’s need to understand that what can lead them to a sustainable and continuously growing organization are consistent quality products or services. By this, we mean consistency in workflows, quality, and processes as this will allow small businesses to think about improvement of their businesses and increase customer satisfaction and retention.
The ISO 9001 Quality Management System stands as a viable tool to achieve this sustainability and structure that many SMEs lack. Given its global appeal and recognition as the acceptable document that provides requirements, specifications and characteristics that can be used to consistently produce or deliver quality products, processes and services for both small and large enterprises, any SME can greatly benefit from it.
The purpose of this Standard is to allow an organization to consistently reach higher levels of customer satisfaction, along with consistently supplying products or services that meet customer requirements. It also helps to achieve business goals and targets and to maximize profitability. The ISO 9001 quality management system certification can help a small business in specific areas, especially in business process consistency and supplier relations. Some of the key benefits of the ISO 9001 certification are the following:
- Structured and efficient processes management
- Increased customer satisfaction and retention
- Improved quality and service
- Higher potential for clients and contracts
- Trusted and valued information and results about the business
- Better business reputation and opportunity in the global market
- Consistent processes
- Increased business turnover
Below are some examples of how the implementation of ISO 9001 QMS can benefit SMEs;
- Part of the requirement of this standard helps SMEs to gain a clear understanding of their business by identifying and gathering valuable business information and data like the strategic direction of the business, context of organization, risk management processes, customer feedback and reviews, reports of internal audits and management reviews, analysis of corrective actions, product or service complaints, among others.
- The ISO 9001 certification also requires that the business is to ensure that all materials are purchased from external suppliers that have been evaluated based on quality criteria, and these suppliers must be evaluated and re-evaluated at defined intervals to ensure material quality and efficient supply chains.
- ISO 9001 provides the basis to develop a system that increases confidence in the company’s stability, while providing reliable, recorded information and data to identify and move forward with potential improvements.
- Consistent quality in products or services leads to higher customer retention rates and increases customer confidence in the business, which leads to enhancement of the business and eventually results in financial growth, hence increased revenue is the byproduct of ISO 9001 certification. It directly helps the business to develop a sustainable Quality Management System that results in better financial performance by the organization.
- The ISO 9001 standard requires the organization to define organizational structures, roles, and responsibilities and to ensure competence and awareness and also to provide a suitable work environment for operations, so if a SME fulfills all the requirements of the standard related to human resources, this results in higher employee satisfaction and motivation.
- An ISO 9001 certified SME will increase customer confidence, because the they know that they are dealing with an internationally certified company which makes them to stand out amongst a large number of companies with no such certifications. This certification also increases a SME’s likelihood of getting potential contracts when that ISO certification is a requirement.
In a running a small business, optimal use of resources is very paramount and saves a lot, so by duly following the requirements of the ISO 9001 Quality Management System, the company will save a lot by reducing wasted time, money, effort and manage its resources effectively, identify opportunities for continuous improvement.