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Quality standards matter

“It’s ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it’ may be simple lyrics taken from a once popular song, but they sum up perfectly the reality of today’s commercial marketplace. Companies are increasingly judged not just on how competitive they are at delivering a product or service, or even how successful and profitable they are, but on how they go about it from society’s point of view. What is the impact of their processes on the environment? Is the company looking after the welfare of its workforce and paying them fairly? Does the company have robust systems and procedures in place to deal with emergencies?

All these questions and many more besides are covered by internationally recognized Quality Management Systems which set out frameworks and standards for companies to follow. The precise standards required are constantly being updated so that companies don’t have to prove compliance just once, but must monitor, measure and adjust their procedures to ensure they keep on complying into the future. The purpose is to achieve continual improvement.

But it’s more than simply following a set of rigid rules. Compliance is about taking wider responsibility which impacts on customers’ and other companies’ willingness to do business with you. Improving the efficiency, profitability and overall financial health of a business forms only part of the story.

Probably the most widely known quality system is ISO 9001 which requires companies to prove competency across an increasing number of disciplines in order to win contracts from private and public sector customers. The system defines a company’s commitment to creating products and services while providing detailed information about processes and responsibilities within an operational environment.

Other international standards have followed, such as ISO 14001, which concentrates more on environmental policy. Companies are asked to provide details of how they use resources (e.g. water and energy), how they recycle or dispose of waste materials, what risks they pose to the environment in terms of air emissions (e.g. smoke and fumes) or through accidental leaks or spills.

Others include ISO 27001, which covers Information Security Management; ISO 45001, which concerns Health & Safety Management – naturally high on the list of priorities given the current pandemic.; and OHSAS 18001, which migrates to ISO 45001.

UnitBirwelco continues to pro-actively achieve certification because we know from experience that success is about how you perform at every level of an organization in a balanced scorecard approach. Responsible businesses can’t afford to take an improvised, reactive approach to risk.

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