Although companies have no requirement to do so, gaining certification to one or more standards established by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) brings a bounty of benefits. Some are altruistic in nature, such as the satisfaction and positive public relations that come with ecological or social responsibility. Others are directly linked to a business’s overall performance, including operational competitiveness and internal process improvement. And, of course, there are those payoffs that are seen on the ledger sheets, such as increased sales and higher revenues.
So, just what is the purpose of the ISO standards? According to the nongovernmental agency itself, they are intended to “facilitate trade, spread knowledge, disseminate innovative advances in technology, and share good management and conformity assessment practices.” Upwards of 22,000 ISO standards have been published, with many being specific to certain products or industries. Some more frequently referenced ones apply more broadly, such as ISO 9001, Quality Management Systems; ISO 14001, Environmental Management Systems; and ISO 45001, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems.
A new Insight Report from Intelex and BLR takes an in-depth look at the ISO standards and helps organizations understand what kinds of value can be obtained from making an investment in them. After all, the cost of initial certification to a single standard, which varies depending on the number of employees in an organization, can run into tens of thousands of dollars. The paper outlines just what kinds of ROI a company can realistically expect to see from that kind of commitment.
It also sheds light on underlying factors that organizations should be aware of to help maximize their investment in ISO standards, and others that can undermine their efforts. The Insight Report is a handy and comprehensive guide to getting ISO certification right.