Whilst it’s great news that Canada has finally signed a trade agreement with the European Union (CETA), and that a new trade agreement is under discussion between the EU and the USA (TTIP), it does pose some questions of trust.
As an established trading organisation, would you order goods from afar just hoping that the quality is what you require? Would you rely on someone’s word that the goods will arrive on the planned date?
Most company managers would give a resounding ‘No!’ to both these questions and would require the security of only dealing with independently assessed suppliers.
Of course, this is where the ISO standards play their part.
ISO standards are globally recognised and accepted, independently audited each year to a fixed set of requirements that are the same, regardless of the language used.
The ISO standard most commonly asked for is ISO 9001 – the Quality Standard, which has just been updated to the 9001:2015 model.
So how does a company wishing to trade internationally attain this ISO standard?
First and foremost, it must show that it has the processes in place to deliver on time, in budget and to the quality expected.
It must have good communication with all stakeholders, assess the risks of its ability to deliver and its suppliers to keep the supply chain running smoothly, so that customers can deliver on time to their customers. Everything must be Right First Time!
The big question is: Does your company have these processes and requirements in place? And, if so, can you prove it? Or are you liable to be the weak link in the chain?
Whether CETA, TTIP or whatever trade agreements exist, and however helpful they may be, they do not give a guarantee of continuity of best practice. Any company placing an order needs the assurances which are significantly strengthened by the independent ISO certification to ISO 9001:2015.
So, what are you waiting for?
14 November 2016
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