Part #1 in a Series: What Our ISO Certification Means to You
As you may remember, a few months back Superior Business Solutions earned ISO 9001: 2008 certification. We were (and are) pretty proud of that. ISO Certification takes a great deal of dedication and effort to meet the required standards in a wide range of areas, including people, processes, decision-making, record-keeping and much more. Every one of those had to be supported by documentation and required a large number of people to commit to doing things the best possible way, every single time. I did a post that explained the process in more detail.
Usually, when a team (whether it’s at your job, or a sports team, or whatever) really turns it up to achieve a goal, there’s a period afterward when everybody relaxes, takes a breath, gets “back to normal.” Funny thing about achieving ISO 9001:2008 – there was, and is, no going back. The procedures and standards weren’t a temporary thing because the whole point of the process is changing and improving the way you work, so it becomes your new “normal.”
Our “New” Normal Is Great News For You, Too
As I mentioned, there are many ways that meeting these standards impacts the way a business runs. They help to make a business runs more efficiently and effectively. That’s good for the business, of course, but it’s also great for customers and potential customers of that business.
Over the next couple of months, I’m going to be talking about how the things we do here at Superior Business Solutions in order to maintain ISO standards have a direct influence on you and your business. Each topic will be one of the key content areas listed in the requirements for certification, so they’re not my idea, they’re part of the program! I’ll start with one that probably sounds most familiar to you.
Continual Improvement Is More Than a Nice Concept
You’ve probably all heard about the idea of continuous improvement in some form or other. It gained prominence with the continuous quality improvement mantra of an automobile manufacturer, but has become the price of entry for any business serious about sustained success. But what does it mean in daily company life? What does it look like?
Well, to us it means more than just agreeing it is a “good idea” and going back to business-as-usual. It is on the agenda at every meeting, and is a part of every employee’s evaluation. In practice, that keeps us from falling into a too-comfortable rhythm, just keeping the workflow moving without thinking about the bigger picture.
The job was delivered, the client is happy, BUT — was everything done that could be done to ensure top quality, earliest delivery, and the smoothest possible process? Was the communication around the project all it could have been? Would we or could we (or should we) do anything different next time? If you don’t ask these questions, you will never know until there’s a problem, and any improvement will come much more slowly. Getting into a routine can be a negative unless that routine includes asking yourself tough questions
A Habit is Formed in 66 Days
I recently read about a study that showed that it takes about 66 days for a new behavior to become “automatic.” I’m confident that Superior Business Solutions has proven that point, not only with continuous improvement but with all the areas identified by the ISO 9001:2008 provisions. I’ll be discussing other ISO focus areas in future posts in this series. But if you’d like to chat about it, give me a call. I’d be happy to share anything we’ve learned along the way. Maybe it can help your business.