Industry View: Lisa Thomson
What's in a number? For businesses the length and breadth of the
country the answer to that is a world of opportunity, specifically
when the number in question is 9001.
The ISO9001 accreditation has become an industry standard across
a wide range of sectors, a benchmark for suppliers to show pride in
or aspire to achieve.
The question, particularly for companies in the SME bracket, is
whether that aspiration is realistic or a bridge too far in terms
of time and resources. The answer, from experience, is that with
the right approach the process can be a rewarding one.
At Codify we have successfully gained the ISO9001 standard and
already the positive impact has been clear to see. Increasingly it
is a standard requirement when tendering for contracts, but the
benefits run far deeper than facilitating opportunities.
Before we began I was aware of ISO9001, but not of its
background. To give a potted history, it was the Ministry of
Defence which first identified a need for a procedure for the
provision and manufacture of each and every item used by the
In the 1960s the first government-led moves to bring those same
quality assurance mechanisms into the wider business world were
made and by the following decade the British Standards Institute
had set about creating the common standards which fell under the BS
umbrella. The ISO certification evolved in the late 1980s and has
continued to grow and develop, with the current ISO9001 framework
put in place around five years ago.
In that time its importance across all sectors has grown and
grown. Today it is a vital part of the corporate toolkit and as a
company we are delighted to be able to call upon it, particularly
when demonstrating to prospective new clients the emphasis we place
So how do you set about becoming accredited? It is undoubtedly a
rigorous process but my own experience of guiding our team through
the stages demonstrates the benefits.
First and foremost, it makes you take a step back from the day
to day demands of business and really drill down into the detail of
the checks and balances in place when it comes to procedures within
At Codify we specialise in building custom software, covering a
range of business applications which include logistics, health and
safety, recruitment and tool rental management. By our very nature
we're a company built upon process and structure, but we found the
ISO9001 accreditation work incredibly valuable.
We have an enthusiastic and dedicated team of 23 at our Aberdeen
office and it was an opportunity to get everyone involved in
illustrating our commitment to quality, right through from the
sales process and project delivery stages to the support team's
efforts in the longer term.
It enabled us to highlight the good work being done and also to
implement new ideas as we went through what for us was a 10-month
programme of collating evidence and presenting that to
Suggesting it is an easy process would be wrong - it is about
far more than ticking boxes and it is an exercise in which you get
out what you put in. When weighed up against the business benefits,
both internally and in an external sense, it is a feature with its
roots in history but a huge part to play in the future.