At a time when businesses are constantly looking to reduce costs and improve efficiency, many are seeking third-party certification for support. In doing so, companies may wonder about the value of certification and if it is worth the expense. These are valid questions, especially given the current state of the economy and the challenging business climate. The good news is that there are financial gains that can be realized when a robust and functional quality management system (QMS) is an integral part of your business. The disciplines developed through a strong and rigorous audit process are the building blocks of a solid QMS, which can lead to increased efficiency and profitability.
Initially, when the QMS standards industry shifted its focus to the monitoring and measurement of processes, people were skeptical that they were only creating more opportunities for certification bodies to write nonconformities. However, these standards were created to improve businesses by helping them operate effectively, control processes and improve their QMS. Section 4.4.1 of the ISO 9001 standard is a notable example of what the writers were trying to convey. In clauses c and h, it states that the organization shall “determine and apply the criteria and methods (including monitoring, measurements and related performance indicators) needed to ensure the effective operation and control of these processes,” as well as to “improve the processes and the quality management system.”
These standards are meant to help organizations know their businesses better and improve them. The more you know about your business, the easier it is to make improvements that can increase profitability.
NSF-ISR had the opportunity to conduct an audit for a large private company that originally did not see the value in identifying and measuring its processes. The general manager felt that the measures the organization had put in place were simply to appease the auditor and believed that their supervisors and managers would keep things running well. After working with an experienced NSF-ISR auditor, however, they learned that they needed more than a manager’s anecdotal evidence of performance for the processes they were responsible for. They shifted their business strategy to data-based decision making to add credibility to their employees’ performance statements.
Initially, the general manager’s primary focus was the company’s bottom line, since that is what they were evaluated on. However, after going through the audit process, it became clear that metrics and processes significantly impact that number. Identifying the proper metrics (this can be an iterative process) and tracking progress toward them are key to a business’s potential success or failure. After implementing these strategic changes, over the course of two years, the general manager saw the importance of these steps as the business experienced noticeable margin improvements. They attribute these improvements to the process-based approach they learned during NSF-ISR’s audit.
Running a business at today’s hectic pace requires attention to many different aspects of a company. This can make it difficult to stay focused on critical areas that have a significant impact on profitability. Utilizing a third-party auditor makes the implementation of processes and metrics much easier. The audit process keeps companies on track and helps maintain disciplines needed to improve operations.
NSF-ISR brings the experts directly into the audit process. We know what it takes to establish the disciplines of an effective QMS and how to maintain them throughout a company’s certification cycle. There is much more to a certificate than just a plaque on the wall. Give NSF-ISR the opportunity to show real value for you and your organization and to help improve your business.
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