Superior Business Solutions Achieves ISO 9001:2008 Certification
In the world of sports, people often use the mantra “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it.” Well, it still makes me a little uncomfortable, but I’m going to use this post to share some good news – partly because frankly, I’m very proud, and also because I believe it makes a big difference to our current and future customers.
Bottom line, Superior Business Solutions was recently awarded the ISO 9001:2008 designation. (You can read full details here.) What does that really mean? Well, for one thing, it means you’ll be seeing this particular “badge” on most Superior Business Solutions materials from now on.
But on a much deeper level, it means that our company has successfully undergone a rigorous process assessment that helps ensure that our people, our processes, and our business practices are all aligned and synchronized to meet ongoing standards for quality in many different areas.
While you’ve probably heard about ISO 9001:2008 before, you may well not be aware of how many specific areas the internationally-recognized standards encompass. There are eight primary areas of focus; each one has detailed requirements for compliance, but I’ll attempt to summarize them here:
- Customer focus. In this area, organizations need to document their ability to learn what their customers need and expect, and communicate those needs to all their people. It is also critical to obtain feedback to measure the degree to which those needs are being met, and to evaluate the customer relationships and loyalty that develop as a result.
- Leadership. Proper leadership inspires people to understand and embrace the organization’s goals and objectives. All members are treated fairly and given the resources they need to achieve excellence, and benefits to all interested parties – from customers and employers to the communities in which they operate and the world as a whole – are considered.
- Involvement of people. To meet this standard, people at all levels of the organization must feel involved and empowered to contribute their skills freely – and are held accountable for their own performance. Also essential is an open atmosphere, in which information is exchanged freely and any problems or issues are openly discussed and resolved.
- Process approach. This area involves, in a nutshell, getting the job done right. All activities and resources are managed as components of larger processes, and must work smoothly together to deliver maximum efficiency. This is not a “moment in time’ snapshot – it is the assurance that all these things are monitored constantly to identify opportunities for enhanced performance, and assessment of any risks or consequences.
- System approach to management. This area takes a step further back to make sure all an organization’s inter-dependent processes are harmonized strategically to contribute to the overall goals of the organization. Cross-functional obstacles are removed and a management perspective is maintained, with an ever-vigilant eye toward improving these interactions.
- Continual improvement. Not an unfamiliar term in today’s business world, certainly. But to achieve these standards, organizations must build a desire for continuous improvement into everyday activities, making it an ever-present objective against which progress is constantly tracked and assessed.
- Fact-based decision making. This basically assures that decisions are based on information that is collected and analyzed through valid methods, and review and re-evaluation of such decisions is enabled as a result. While experience and intuition can certainly play a role, better decisions are founded in large part on factual elements.
- Mutually-beneficial supplier relationships. Supplier relationships are evaluated in term of the fairness and viability they provide for both parties. Included is the degree to which costs and the use of resources are optimized, and a demonstrated ability to respond quickly to market and customer needs. Open communication and shared planning for the future are part of the process, as is the recognition and valuing of key suppliers.
So, as you can see, it is no simple task to qualify for ISO 9001:2008 certification. But it is fortunate, indeed, that many of our business practices already in place at Superior Business Solutions gave us a good “head start.” Seems pretty logical to me. A company that promises to provide valuable assistance to other organizations in adding efficiency and ROI to their printing and promotional product needs ought to have its own proverbial ducks in a row pretty well. We did. And now we do even better.
For more about the quality management principles set forth by ISO, look here. If you are just curious, and have any questions about our experience going through the certification process – or what this all might mean to you as a current or future Superior customer, let me know. I’m always happy to help.