No matter what type of organization you work for, it's likely that you've come across at least one type of ISO standard that you're working towards. But why are ISO standards important, and what are the benefits of working with them? Let's take a closer look.
What is an ISO standard?
To understand the organizational benefits of ISO standards, it is necessary to understand what ISO stands for and what it wants to achieve with these standards. ISO is the International Organization for Standardisation, which creates international rules for the quality assurance of products and services. The organization consists of 160 members, with one member per country, each representing ISO in their country. For example, in Denmark, it is the organization Danish Standards, represented by an active member.
The standards provide businesses, organizations, and society with a practical approach to relevant economic, social, and environmental areas. In simple terms, when an organization follows an ISO standard, it should be seen as an indication that it follows the same procedure every time.
The historical development of ISO
After the Second World War, there was a need to create some international standards to ensure that products and services were safe, reliable, and of good quality across national borders. That is why ISA and the United Nations Standards Coordinating Committee (UNSCC) joined forces in 1946 to discuss common goals, and in 1951 the first standard was published (ISO/Ra:1951).
Since then, ISO has published an increasing number of standards, and today there are over 22.000. These cover all aspects of business and technology - and for many in the B2B industry - and are a benchmark for choosing suppliers and business partners. After over 75 years, ISO is a strong player with a significant influence on standardization and quality assurance in many industries.
Why are ISO standards important?
To build an effective and quality-oriented management system, an organization must define the objectives, requirements, and processes related to its operations. International standards help to define specifications for products and services and ongoing maintenance. But as well as helping to structure this work, ISO standards can contribute in several other areas that add value to your organization.
Providing a framework for compliance work
Some ISO standards act as milestones, while others are finishing instructions. Therefore, you should not expect ISO standards to set specific requirements or detailed descriptions of how your organization should work with a standard from A to Z. However, ISO standards can help set the framework for an organization's work - making it more tangible to develop a targeted strategy.
Another underlying benefit of standardizing your processes is working more effectively with your risks. When you have 100% control of your operations and understand all risks, your organization can better manage them and initiate mitigating action plans. When problems arise, your organization will be better equipped to tackle and recover from any challenges.
Promotes a culture of compliance
Implementing an ISO standard will strengthen the quality of your organization's operations and facilitate an internal compliance culture that empowers your employees and their daily work. By setting targets and procedures, management and employees can focus better and keep an eye on everything essential. In a busy, multi-tasking workday, it is easy to lose focus.
Increase your profitability
An ISO certification can also increase the organization's earning potential. Both in the form of advertising and in connection with tenders from, among others, the public sector. Here, an ISO certification is often a requirement. Many larger organizations require their suppliers to have a quality certification. So if you want to expand your market share, it's worth investigating which standards are in demand in your industry. Certification is also beneficial if your organization expands into new markets in other countries, as it ensures that the movement of goods and services across national borders is compatible.
Strengthen your organization's reputation
ISO standards can help your organization to improve the efficiency of your organization's operations while enhancing the credibility of your products and services, as they will continuously live up to your customer's expectations. This will strengthen your customer loyalty an help build a solid reputation in the long term solid reputation.