Guide

Quality management standards

Advantages of quality management systems

Implementing a quality management system, such as the ISO 9001, offers numerous benefits to business owners. It typically increases efficiency and productivity, and is likely to give you an edge over your competitors.

Below are some of the business benefits you should consider.

Advantages of ISO 9001

Using ISO 9001 can help ensure that your customers get consistent, good quality products and services. This can, in turn, lead to new business, as well as:

  • greater efficiency and less waste
  • better and consistent control of major business processes
  • a better understanding of customer needs
  • regulation of successful working practices
  • improved risk management
  • increased customer satisfaction
  • improved participation of employees
  • better internal communication
  • greater consistency in the quality of products and services
  • differentiation of your business from its competitors
  • increased profits
  • reduction of costly errors
  • exploitation of new markets, both in the UK and overseas
  • managing growth more effectively
  • an embedded culture of quality

The ISO certification is a globally recognised achievement and, as such, may help you raise your international profile and increase business overseas.

See more about the ISO 9001 quality management standard.

Benefits of ISO 9004:2018 to your business

ISO 9004 standard focuses on the quality of the organisation, rather than the quality management of products and services as set out in ISO 9001.

The standard gives recommendations for achieving long-term, sustained success and focuses on meeting the needs and expectations of all relevant interested parties, rather than just customers.

ISO 9004 is applicable to any organisation regardless of size, type and activity. Its 2018 revision builds upon the previous ISO 9004:2009 version, and includes an enhanced self-assessment tool which can help you:

  • assess the level of maturity of the different components of your system
  • identify and prioritise potential areas for improvement

ISO 9004 is intended as guidance only. It is not intended for certification, regulatory or contractual use. Read more about the 9004:2018 standard.

Disadvantages of ISO implementation

Despite the many benefits, possible challenges to implementing the ISO standards include:

  • the cost of getting and keeping the certification (in case of ISO 9001)
  • the time involved
  • resistance to change from within the business

You can adapt the standard to your business' needs and resources, although you may need the help of a consultant, which can come at an additional cost.

Certification to ISO 9001 isn't mandatory, but in some cases may be prerequisite to working with certain clients such as public bodies. You should evaluate carefully if certification makes sense for your business. Many organisations benefit from using the standard without actually seeking certification.

Find out how to implement a quality management system.