How to keep up to date with ISO requirements
The way in which we all do business has slowly but surely evolved over time, and with evolution comes a need for greater regulatory conformity. Time marches on, and inevitably there comes a time for review and acceptance of a new range of guidelines.
Yes, just as it seemed safe to go back into the water, many business owners are dragged forward out of the land of complacency into the brave new world of change and modification. So, how do you keep up?
Don’t worry, there is a bright side. You may find that ISO requirements are not just about staying compliant.
Let’s be honest. Staying up to date with standards is time consuming, but the flipside is having the peace of mind knowing your organization is not following outdated guidelines. Remove that potential for risk from the equation, the first chance you get. Invite knowledge and have a complete understanding of what it is that your organization is required to do to become contemporary, and informed.
Sometimes it begins with the basics. Start with the crucial aspects of document control. This is one time when having all your eggs in one basket will pay off.
Implement a Document Control system
Document control is essential to ISO 9001 and you will find it equally important with most other standards in today’s business world. Easing compliance headaches is near to top of the wish-list for any organization, and it starts with an intuitive control system. Version management, inclusive of reviewing procedures and protocols, will always help with keeping on top of compliance, but surely there’s something more to it.
You’re right. A good system will have a hidden feature. Continuous improvement.
The ongoing aim for perfection (or as close as we can get) helps any organization stay competitive. Knowing you have the best systems will take you down the path to compliance and competitor superiority. As an example, if your business currently uses two or more active systems for documents and processes, consider combining them. This will not only streamline access, but the way in which processes are administered.
Making the most from ISO requirements
“So what’s in it for me?” I hear you ask.
The benefit for a business, primarily, is the ability to streamline and structure everyday processes and workflows. There is nothing more worthy of your focus then to have all documentation seamlessly accessible, not just from a compliance point of view, but to assist staff.
Free them up to focus on greater goals. There is a benefit to having everything in its place. Time is money, and time is never more important as when it is in short supply.
Did someone say "Customer"?
In addition to looking internally at accurate and fluid document control, take a moment to look in from the outside. Being compliant is something you can show off, and shout out to your customers. After all, they want to know they’re dealing with a business that has a complete understanding of what affects them, and how non-compliance can result in no customers.
Sounds serious, but you may be surprised at how your clients understand what compliance means for them as a customer. They know they get the benefits. Better product, better quality control and ramped up customer service. Didn’t think of it like that, did you?
Make ISO requirements work for you
Change is the new black, so remember to keep up with any review of standards that may affect your organization. While a boring subject for most, we all concur that standards are no doubt a necessary evil. Widespread acceptance and implementation of international benchmarks are now recognized as the best way to create a level playing field.
Don’t just do it because you have to, do it because you know it’s the best thing for your business and your customers. Your auditor will thank you, and you’ll thank yourself.
All organizations have levels of regulatory requirements, with document control being the very core of most. Working towards complete document management is certainly a path that will lead to greener pastures. When managed well, the result is a removal of duplications that may block your normal procedures, and give you a compliance level, never thought possible.
An intrinsic understanding of this is what will set you, and your organization apart from the mediocre.