Quality Standards and Growth: Do you Really Need that ISO Certification?

November 20, 2013

by Mike Stimson

It would be a mistake for any manufacturer to think, “If I get this standard, great things will suddenly happen for my business.” Certifications are not magic bullets. But when tied to your strategy, pursuing certain quality standards can help you make your company better at what it does, forge it into a more attractive business partner, and help it reach its overall strategic goals.

To know which ISO certifications your business can benefit from, first identify where and how you want to participate in your chosen marketplaces. For success, it’s critical to tie everything to the overall business strategy. It’s important to be purposeful, and to understand what a new certification can – and can’t – do for your business.

Certifications We Help With
Where Certifications Count Most

ISO certification isn’t necessary in every case. Generally, the closer you are to producing a finished product in the supply chain, the greater the need for quality certifications. In Connecticut’s robust medical device manufacturing industry, for example, you’ll eventually need ISO 13485 certification to become a big player. But that certification is not strictly required to participate in the medical device manufacturing space. It depends on your end goals, and your present level of business.

Smaller manufacturers, that are part of a larger supply chain, may find that certifications aren’t necessary for their success. They can often experiment and attempt to get into new supply chains without any certifications. However, if pursuing the right certifications would make it easier for a larger manufacturer to select your company, now you have a bona fide motivation for certification. Consider your existing and potential customer base. Is a certain certification required, or would it ease the decision making process of those higher up in your supply chain? Would it make it simpler for them to say yes to your offerings? Do your competitors have certifications you don’t?

CONNSTEP’s Quality Services
  • Quality System Analysis
  • Quality Implementation
  • Quality Training
  • Quality Certifications
  • Quality Manager Services
  • Internal Quality Auditing
Help in Achieving ISO Certification

CONNSTEP brings a wealth of experience to the quality certification process, and can give you an objective third-party view of whether you should pursue certification. When you’re closely invested in your company, it can be hard to “see the forest for the trees.”  We have an objective understanding of the standards, as well as the ability to interpret what they truly mean and apply them successfully to an individual business. We understand what the registrars look for when auditing a company to determine if it’s compliant, because we’ve worked with the registrars for years.  Since many of our consultants are also registrar auditors, their experience can help you avoid many of the pitfalls on the road to certification.

For example, we’ve seen many businesses tend to make the certification process too complicated when pursuing a standard on their own. CONNSTEP helps simplify and direct the certification process. We evaluate current quality management systems objectively, and compare them to the standard being pursued. We identify any gaps, develop a road map to close those gaps, and then we work with the client to implement the road map. We can take as active a role as needed, from helping write documentation and procedures to giving general guidance and mentoring a company through the process.

Three Considerations to Address before Pursuing ISO Certifications

1.  Certification is not an end in and of itself. It should be a part of what you do, and should complement the other components of your overall business strategy.

2.  Standards should be used to improve your business processes. Certification should be seen as an opportunity to identify processes improvements that can create improved business results overall.

3.  Certification will not get you more customers or improve your business on its own. You’ll need a strategic business plan and an active marketing plan to maximize the benefits of that new certification.


Contact us today for a consultative review of your quality needs.


Related articles:

Business Growth: Strategies for Success in 2014 : This article is the first in a series designed to discuss four key elements of strategic business growth: products, markets, customers and technologies.

Business Growth: Optimizing Products & Increasing Awareness : Consider your products and their role in growing your business.

Business Growth:  New Customers are Key : New customers are key to business growth. Will your new certification be a compelling reason for customers to switch to your business?


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