The ISO 9001 Standard - Can a Million Companies Be Wrong?

Posted by Brian Gilmore on Mar 25, 2014 1:40:00 PM

ISO 9001 has become the most recognized quality management credential in the world for manufacturing companies. More than one million companies in 170 countries have been certified to the standard, which is increasingly viewed as a requirement among employers looking sell products or technologies to global advanced manufacturing enterprises.

ManufacturingThe broadening acceptance of ISO among customers is finally persuading manufacturers that may have been reluctant to pursue certification because of cost or misperceptions about the registration process to finally take the plunge.

ISO 9001 provides guidance and tools for companies and organizations that wish to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customer’s requirements. It’s an operational plan.

The standard is based on quality management principles such as strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement. The idea is to ensure that customers get consistent, good quality products and services, which in turn brings many business benefits.

An organization must perform internal audits to check how its quality management system is working. A company may decide to invite an independent certification body to verify that it is in conformity to the standard, but there is no requirement for this. Alternatively, it might invite its clients to audit the quality system for themselves.

ISO 90001 requires that a company has documented quality program that it follows. The benefits?

  • Provides a measurable advantage over competition
  • Increases sales revenue
  • Improves the bottom line
  • Improves business and process performance while managing business risk
  • Attracts investment, enhances brand reputation and removes barriers to trade
  • Streamlines operations and reduces waste
  • Encourages internal communication and raises morale
  • Increases customer satisfaction

A number of studies have identified financial benefits for organizations certified to ISO 9001. A 2011 survey from the British Assessment Bureau showed that 44 percent of their certified clients had won new business. A separate study indicated that certified organizations achieved superior return on assets compared to otherwise similar organizations without certification.

“Sales Department is making appointments with companies who would not even look at us before we had our certification. We are also looking to expand our business outside New England now. This was a great and worthwhile adventure,” said AIM member Joseph Peters, President of Universal Plastics in Holyoke, who participated in the AIM/Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership ISO 9001 collaborative.

The collaborative provides a relatively inexpensive, workshop-based program that provides systems, documentation, training and on-site consultation for companies wanting or needing to comply with ISO 9001. The program consists with seven off-site, one day workshops over a period of seven months with a minimum of four and a maximum of eight companies working together with a consultant to establish and/or upgrade their quality management system.

A “gap” assessment of each participating company is provided to identify the areas each company needs to improve.  A minimum of five on-site consulting days in addition to the training workshops are provided to each participant.

Pricing for the AIM/MassMEP ISO Collabrative is based on company size – tuition ranges from $13,500 for a company employing fewer than 50 people to $22,000 for one that employs between 250-400 people. In most cases, the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund covers up to 50 percent of the cost to participate.

Contact your regional AIM Member Relations staff member or Brian Gilmore at 617-262-1180 for more information.

Topics: Revenue, Manufacturing, Efficiency

Is Your Sales Team on Track for a Good Year?

Posted by Jack Derby on Mar 3, 2014 11:03:00 AM

You're two months into the year, and already you should have a pretty good idea as to whether your sales team is tuned, armed with the right tools and ready for another rough-and-tumble few quarters.

Sales ManagementJust a few questions you should be asking yourself right now:

  1. Are you confident that your sales and marketing teams are aligned, working cooperatively and taking full advantage of new technologies?
  2. Do you have a formal, but flexible enough sales process where everyone is playing by the same rules, with the same playbook and on the same team?
  3. What should your sales channel mix look like in the future? Which web-based investments should you make to support your sales efforts?
  4. Do you have enough sales people, reps or distributors? Are they the right people with the right skills for the future? Is your organization’s hiring, culture and goal-setting aligned with the new sales and marketing systems you will need to scale your business?
  5. With web-based B2B sales technologies, is your sales force best organized by traditional geographical boundaries, or is it better organized by product, by customer, or some other way? 
  6. Have you assessed the future of your selling process and how the web has and will continue to dramatically alter your lead generation and sales funnel and methodologies of selling?
  7. Do you know how to intelligently evaluate new investment requirements in CRM, marketing automation, content marketing, lead scoring and more?

We address all of these questions and many more at the semi-annual AIM/Derby Sales Management Boot Camp, which will run next on April 6-8 at the MIT Endicott House just outside Boston.

Why a two-and-a-half day Boot Camp? Because something amazing happens when 30 CEOs and senior sales-management executives spend three days on a campus interacting with one another and learning new strategies to increase sales revenue.

The session begins on Sunday at 5 p.m. with a networking reception, dinner and case-study review, and runs through mid-afternoon on Tuesday, just in time for you to impact the remainder of 2014. Our instructors are successful CEOs who have a track record of building successful sales organizations.

The objectives:

  • Develop a clear strategy, a measurable process, and leading-edge tools.
  • Improve sales productivity 20-30 percent.
  • Aggressively grow revenues and margins in 2014.
  • Forecast with 90 percent plus accuracy.
  • Accelerate closing rates and reduce sales cycles.
  • Successfully hire, compensate and retain A-level teams.

Learn More about the Sales Management Boot Camp

Topics: Management, Sales Management, Revenue

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