Gaining and maintaining competitive advantage

ISO 9001 – it’s a phrase you’ve probably heard; you might even have some understanding of what it means but remain blurry on the details; or perhaps you wish you better understood the value it can bring to a business.  

Here at Consenna, we recently went through a process of scrutinising all of our business processes and working on improvements to ensure that they became more effective, better integrated with one another and, ultimately, delivered an unrivalled level of service for our ever-growing suite of customers.  That process culminated in us achieving ISO 9001 accreditation.  Here, Kirsty Thompson, our recently appointed Service Delivery Manager explains the rationale behind taking these steps and the benefits that both the Consenna team and customers are now enjoying.

Consenna has evolved hugely in recent times.  The step change in operations is unrecognisable and as a consequence, it became clear that to continue growing and enjoying success, we needed to put in place a comprehensive framework to address all key processes, throughout the entire company.

The rationale behind implementing the ISO 9001 Quality Management System was, therefore, based on the fact that it provides the guidelines to think holistically and systematically about processes and how they relate to one another, resulting in more effective and improved integrated processes.  Additionally, we recognised that having the accreditation in place would serve as a plus-point for potential future customers for whom it is a prerequisite to trade.

We achieved the accreditation relatively quickly, but given the steep operational growth that we’re going through, it was vital to embed the mindset that comes with ISO9001 early so that all our processes and procedures, which are also developing at some pace, were entrenched with the same commitment to quality.

Whilst time was of the essence in working through the accreditation process, it would have never been possible without the support provided by not only the senior management team who ensured there were no roadblocks in place, but also by the entire Consenna team.  Simply, their engagement brought us to where we are now.

At the start of the process, it was important to familiarise the team with the ISO 9001 requirements and then identify any gaps that would potentially stop the company achieving the certification.

Documentation development was the next step in the process and here we combined some of the templates provided with the creation of our own process documentation and workflows.

With the documentation complete, a comprehensive training programme was rolled out to ensure that all employees were fully up to speed with the key ISO 9001 requirements and principles.  Finally, we conducted an audit to verify that the quality system that had been developed was both operational and compliant.

This process doesn’t end there though.  For ISO 9001 to be truly meaningful and drive tangible improvements, as a team we need to ensure that we’re always focusing on it and sharing the positives that we’re drawing form the experience.  And there have been many positives to be drawn.

Above all, it has created a fantastic framework, streamlined our processes and provided a platform that is recognized as a gold standard throughout the business world, both here and overseas.  For our customers, they are provided with a reassurance of our commitment to quality and through a rigorous customer feedback process, we are equipped with the means to better understand their needs and identify any areas for improvement.

So, what’s next?  Achieving ISO 9001 Quality Management is just the first step in achieving further certifications.  We’ve already got our eye on ISO 27001 which is designed to help manage a company’s information security in line with international best practices.

Watch this space for more on that front…!