Quality is not necessarily in the eye of the beholder, but rather in the hands of the customer — at least that’s where one would want to end up. Following a defined system of metrics provides due diligence for all involved.
Defining and implementing a quality management system (QMS) tells your customer that accountability, product integrity, and safety are integral company concerns. Incorporating ISO certification to the company as a whole and UL certification to individual products makes it easier to see what is working, what is not, and what needs to be done to improve.
How they are different
It’s important to understand that International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an organizational certification, whereas Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL) certification applies directly to products, specifically safety certification in the United States.
ISO 9001 is important because of its international implications. Currently, ISO 9001 is supported by international standards bodies from more than 150 countries. This makes it the sensible choice for any organization that does business internationally or that serves customers who demand an international standard of excellence.
It is also important because of its systemic implications. The assumption is that quality can only be created if workers are motivated and have the right attitude. As a result, customers of certified companies benefit from implementation of this certification system. For customers, the worldwide technology compatibility achieved when products and services are based on international standards brings them an increasingly wide choice of offers, and they also benefit from the effects of competition among suppliers.
UL product certification is the leading product safety certification in North America. UL certification adds confidence to supply chain integrity by having component testing and review activities conducted where the components are manufactured, before final products are purchased by the end user. This evaluation is performed by a reputable nationally recognized safety organization to provide independent accreditation regarding the safety of products.
The parts benefitting the whole
Opting for ISO certification allows a company to run more effectively. This not only creates an increase in customer satisfaction, but also encompasses the communication to potential customers looking for an overall company dedicated to quality.
Along the same lines, this system has produced higher levels of customer satisfaction, market advantages, improved communications, and higher job satisfaction for employees.[pullquote]
To grow as a business, a quality product and outstanding customer service are musts. Independent verification of the commitment to continually improving quality and customer satisfaction enables the organization to drive sales and increase profit margins. Additionally, integrating ISO 9001 throughout the organization allows management to align top-level goals with internal processes and their metrics. This will result in greater visibility into processes, so that managers will be able to translate the initial quality goals of better, faster, and cheaper into continual process improvement that improve the financial performance of the company as a whole. The only real monetary expense is that of paying for the outside auditor on an annual basis. Amount will vary depending on size and processes of the individual company.
Although some top management may question the relevance and cost-justification of ISO 9001, certification delivers value and financial gains in the end.
The bottom line is that everyone, employees and customers, are now more informed and cognizant of what is going on around them. We have come from viewing each department as a separate entity to looking at the company as a whole. The end result of our ISO certification is that we have established more of a team mentality; and we are working together to support and improve our company, not only for our customers, but also for each other.
Peace of mind
Proper product listings go a long way to assure that products are compliant with local codes. It also provides peace of mind to manufacturers who can be assured that critical components used to manufacture an end-product have been evaluated to nationally recognized safety standards.
Product certification listings are relied upon by insurance interests, installers, and consumers to show compliance with safety standards and codes. In addition, by ensuring that all electrical equipment has been listed by an accredited certification organization demonstrates that a company is acting in good faith to ensure that manufactured equipment meets recognized safety standards.
|Marie Confroy Alt is certification coordinator at Big Ass Fans. Contact her at (866) big-fans or [email protected].
ISO certification for the organization means that as suppliers of products, a company can base the development of products and services on specifications that have wide acceptance in numerous national and international sectors. This, in turn, means that businesses using international standards are increasingly free to compete in overseas markets. Additionally, this supplies consumers with products and services that conform to this international standard, which provides assurance about the quality, safety, and reliability of products.
Once implemented, the system continually works in helping to achieve quality goals and continual improvements in processes and procedures. The initial certification process varies and product certification is performed on an as-necessary basis. Sometimes product testing can be a bit costly, but it gives a competitive edge and ensures quality across the board.