ISO Agrees: You Can’t Beat The System

Part #8 and the Final Post in a Series: What Our ISO Certification Means to You

Today, I’d like to wrap up our series on the many ways our ISO certification helps our Superior Business Solutions’ customers.  It’s very fitting that the particular standard I’d like to talk about today is what ISO calls “a system approach to management.”

I think it’s appropriate because this standard is all about “tying it all together.” The standard ensures that management takes the big picture approach to how all of its many systems are working together to meet the overall goals of the organization and satisfy the needs and desires of its customers.

Maximizing Performance At Every Step

Most businesses look for efficiency, and spend plenty of time and money making individual parts of their processes work better. Does tweaking a machine help reduce the number of defective products, or speed production to increase throughput?  Great. Done. Performance improvement is a very good thing.

Can the supply chain be better? The only way to know is by evaluating new suppliers on a regular basis – or to work with current vendors and suppliers to make refinements to the system that will make the acquisition and delivery of materials or component parts to be steadier, higher quality or at a lower cost.

It’s a logical approach; each company unit is tasked with continuously improving its performance and its contribution to company profitability. And we certainly do those things here. But to earn (and maintain) ISO9001:2008 certification, more is required.

Greater Than The Sum of Its Parts

The system approach requires that a company’s management team take another step back and assess the degree to which those individual and inter-dependent processes interact efficiently. This extra perspective helps ensure that time, money, and efficiency are not lost at the intersections of various processes within the operation.

Two processes, for example, may be performing at maximum efficiency. But the system approach might reveal an opportunity to combine them into a single step, saving time and labor. Or perhaps by positioning a product differently as it leaves one assembly station, time might be saved at the next stop along the path.

It’s a way of making sure the company doesn’t get caught in the old “can’t see the forest for the trees” scenario. When management keeps its eye on the overall corporate objectives, it can remove obstacles and smooth the path toward truly meeting the needs of its customers.

It’s Really All ONE Process

The same thinking applies when stepping even further back. A system approach helps ensure that different departments in the company work together seamlessly. Do changes on the factory floor have implications for the kinds of workers that need to be hired? If human resources doesn’t know that or understand the changes, time is wasted on finding and interviewing the wrong prospects. (And that lag in finding the right ones can limit the positive impact of that factory-floor change.)

In similar fashion, efficiency is lost if the sales force is not trained in the benefits provided by new machines or enhanced techniques being employed. Even the best sales rep can’t do their jobs if they can’t understand it or properly communicate it to potential customers.

Superior’s System Approach

Here at Superior Business Solutions, the very nature of our business gives us a healthy push in the direction recognized by ISO9001:2008 certification. Our value to our customers lies precisely in our ability to shorten the distance between a customer and the quality printed piece or promotional item he or she needs.

We constantly evaluate vendors in terms of their technologies, abilities and specialties. And we look for the most efficient ways to get the quality end products they produce into the hands of our eager customers. Our advanced technologies provide the benefits of a system approach to our clients, as well.

Our Corporate Kiosk, for example, gives them a different and better way to acquire print and promotional items. Instead of training their staffs to shop for and order an endless array of promotional items or business forms, they can instead use a system that takes all of that responsibility off the shoulders of their workers. That’s a double win, because not are the end results better, but those workers can then spend all their time on the tasks they were hired for, likely improving results in that area, as well.

It wasn’t easy for us to achieve ISO certification, but it has been a very satisfying experience. And not just because it gives me something to brag about. The best part is that it allows us to offer print and promotional products and services to our customers that make their lives better at work, while offering peace of mind while at home knowing things are running smoothly at the office.

Even if you’re not ready to undergo the whole ISO certification process, you might benefit from applying a few of the ISO standards to your operation. If you’d like some ideas about how to do that, give me a buzz. You might be surprised at the results.

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