What is ISO (and why do it)

Even though ISO has been around since 1946, many people are unaware of the International Standards Organization, its goals, and most importantly why an organization could adopt it. The following article will work to clarify what ISO is, why ISO exists, and why organizations should adopt ISO standards.

What is ISO?

The International Standards Organization was established “to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards”. During the inception of ISO 25 countries came together to form the organization. ISO was derived from the Greek word isos, meaning equal. ISO has now grown to over 162 member countries and is recognized internationally for setting the standard in almost all technology and manufacturing sectors.

Why do we need ISO?

In a world that is becoming increasingly global in nature, having universal standards ensures quality across businesses, geographies, and languages. ISO is important for three distinct areas: governments, businesses, and consumers.

ISO allows governments to determine how regulations should be developed. ISO provides businesses with a standard for how processes can be completed with quality, safety, and standardization in mind. Finally, ISO ensures consumer safety by establishing guidelines for how production and manufacturing processes create a world which products and services are safe, reliable, and of good quality.

Why should an organization adopt ISO?

There are many reasons why organizations should adopt ISO. All of those reasons are directly tied to the three areas where ISO is most important.

If an organization is looking to secure government contracts they will more than likely need an ISO certification in order to be considered for a contract. Furthermore, in some instances, in order to be compliant with government regulations, an organization will need to have one or more ISO certifications dependent on the sector. Finally, while ISO is not an ultimate solution, ISO provides organizations with a guideline for how they should be handling processes which could help cover an organization should there be an unfortunate incident and litigation be pursued.

While consumers may not be aware of ISO and its benefits, organizations should consider consumers when thinking about why ISO should be adopted. Adopting ISO ensures an organization’s processes are imbued with safety and quality. For consumers, this means they can be assured anything purchased under an ISO certification was developed ethically, efficiently, and safely. An organization which adopts ISO can feel confident it is putting out the best product for consumers when it follows the standard.

Finally, the organizations themselves benefit from adopting ISO. Not only are organizations able to gain government contracts and ensure consumer safety, but there are also benefits which come directly to organizations. First, organizations are able to build proven, effective, processes, which ensure production and operations within the organization are going to be the most successful as possible. Second, when organizations deal with multiple different manufacturing processes (from different organizations) each organization holding ISO certification creates a chain through which products are ensured quality. Should one organization in the chain not hold an ISO certification this can lead to a loss of contract opportunities which ultimately leads to a loss in business. Additionally, organizations which are ISO certified are then able to command a slightly higher price for products which are under the umbrella of certification due to the quality product which is produced. Lastly, organizations which adopt ISO join a group of organizations which are recognized internationally as being committed to safety and quality in production which helps to elevate the organization’s notoriety in business and production.

While it may seem easy for an ISO consulting firm to say there are only benefits to be garnered from an ISO certification, the reality is ISO provides benefits to many different sectors and in our experience, no organization has been harmed by adopting ISO. With a background of ISO and the benefits displayed, the only question now is when can an organization get started?