Five myths of ISO

Features - ASCA

Jeanette Preston sets the record straight about common misconceptions of the professional snow and ice management’s industry’s new SN9001- certification program.

August 14, 2012

Jeanette Preston knows a bit about the third-party auditing process.

Preston, the vice president of Smithers Quality Assessments, assisted ASCA in developing the SN9001 by guiding the industry standards committee and executive director Kevin Gilbride through the development process. She also played a key role in completing and implementing the quality management system.

Preston sets the record straight about some common ISO misconceptions.

What is ISO certification?

ISO certification is an internationally recognized business-management standard that identifies an organization as meeting specific requirements related to their quality management system as assessed by an accredited, independent and objective third party. The ISO-9001 standard has been recognized globally as the framework for a well-managed, customer-focused quality management system. Many industry sectors require organizations to maintain an accredited ISO certificate to do business with them.

Isn’t ISO certification for manufacturing companies?

No, ISO 9001 applies to all industries and is all inclusive. All organizations can benefit from a process-driven, customer-focused, continuous-improvement philosophy as evidenced through a quality management system framework that assists the organization in making business improvements and achieving improved customer satisfaction. When implemented properly, an organization should see improvements in business processes and happier customers.

Doesn’t certification cost a fortune?

Studies have shown preventing a problem is less expensive – and in many cases much less expensive – than dealing with the consequences after a problem occurs.

If an organization implements a management system standard and its net cost increases, the organization needs to examine and reconsider its approach to implementing the management system.

Here are some points to consider. Excessive costs associated with management systems often come from an organization’s failure to take ownership of the completed management system. This is particularly true if there is a lack of ownership on the part of top management.

If you create a system for the sake of certification only and are unwilling to work with it on a daily basis to run your business, like anything, it will provide little or no value. In fact, it may be a net cost to the organization.

In addition, Smithers Quality Assessments believes and has customer feedback that ISO certification has been extremely beneficial and has returned more to the organization than the “cost” to be certified. Companies achieving certification report a reduction in waste, more efficient labor utilization, an increase in customer satisfaction and improved supplier-organization relationships. What is the cost to implementing a framework to help your business grow, improve efficiencies, reduce waste, and increase customer satisfaction and potentially get more of your customer’s business? Like any tool or standard, ISO is only as good as your organization makes it!

What is SN9001?

SN9001 is based on the entire ISO 9001 standard with specific requirements for commercial snow and ice management contractors. It provided a framework for a well-managed, customer-focused quality management system with additional requirements unique to the industry. It includes a pre-season inspection assessment and an in-event assessment to determine the conformity of the organization to SN9001.

How will SN9001 certification help?

There are many benefits from achieving an ISO certification. The professional snow and ice management industry can benefit through reduced insurance premiums and certified contractors reduce their risk of exposure to potential slip-and-fall litigation.

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