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isology® is a world-leading proven step by step roadmap to achieve ISO certification.

Implemented for over 600 organisations with a 100% success rate, we take you from the planning and creation of your bespoke ISO System though to certification with our 7 step process.

Currently, there are around 1,077,884 valid ISO 9001 certificates globally – which beats the second runner, ISO 14001, by over 600,000!

There is no doubt that the Quality Management Standard, ISO 9001, is still the most widely adopted ISO Standard – and for good reason!

ISO 9001 is basically a model for running a successful and profitable business. It provides a common framework for things that all businesses should have in place, including defining your companies unique ‘way of working’.

In addition to being a blueprint for a business’s operation, there are many other benefits to be gained from implementing ISO 9001. Today, Mel explains a few of these benefits in greater detail.

You’ll learn

  • What is ISO 9001?  
  • Why Implement ISO 9001?  
  • The benefits of ISO 9001


In this episode, we talk about:

[00:30] Why talk about ISO 9001 benefits? Often times, Mel gets asked for benefits of ISO 9001 so a business case can be put forward.

[01:00] What is ISO 9001? For a detailed break down of the Standard, go back and watch ‘Episode 36 – What is ISO 9001?’

[01:45] For those that have Implemented ISO 9001, what are the benefits? We’d love to hear from you! If you have some stories to share – feel free to leave a comment on which ever media player you’re listening on – or email us. We’d love to share some of your experiences in a future episode.   

[02:09] Benefit #1: Win new business – From a sales and marketing perspective, ISO 9001 is essentially a passport to trade. It demonstrates credibility to Stakeholders as it’s a mark of quality.

[02:55] Benefit #2: A framework that can fit any business – This can be for any industry sector and business size. It helps businesses figure out what is working well and what’s not working so well.

[03:10] Benefit #3: Identify opportunities for Improvement – It helps businesses figure out what is working well and what’s not working so well. It can help identify issues such as: Bottlenecks in processes, resourcing and external factors.

[04:05] ISO 9001 helps you to look at your business – warts and all. It does no one any good to bury their head in the sand and ignore issues, especially as Stakeholders and clients will see through this.

[04:40] Benefit #4: Put quality controls in place to mitigate risk and raise your standards – If you have complaints or need to do a product recall – you need processes in place to handle this. ISO 9001 gives you the tools to do so, creating an effective framework everyone can follow.

[05:40] Benefit #5: Improve efficiency – ISO 9001 helps you identify the best way of working and pushes you to optimise that. That could include eliminating aspects of you business that waste time, or create burdens.

[06:05] Benefit #6: Creating a unique Blueprint – ISO 9001 isn’t an out of the box solution – it can be tailored to your way of working. It helps to establish relevant Policies and Procedures that improve your business operations.   

[06:24] Benefit #7: Enhancing customer satisfaction and employee retention – Good quality business practices will inevitably help you to keep ahold of good clientsand good employees too! This can be achieved by having clear roles and responsibilities in addition to vision and goals for the business.

[07:20] Benefit #8: Increase profitability – Businesses often look at the cost of poor quality – where is your business leaking money? Addressing those issues is a direct cost saving.

[08:21] Businesses who have grown through acquisition often find ISO 9001 a great tool to help standardise their way of working, so they can easily integrate other businesses and services.  

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The world is facing a crisis: poverty, hunger, inequality and climate change are just some of the issues we need to address.

In 2015, world leaders came together to create 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which aim to tackle these issues, to build a better world by 2030.

What you may not be aware of is the fact that ISO Standards play a big part in the journey towards a better future. Many commonly used ISO Standards already meet certain goals, with more in development.

Today, Mel explains what the SDG’s are, and how businesses can align themselves with the SDG’s with related ISO standards.

You’ll learn

  • The 17 sustainable development goals set by the UN.
  • How to align your business with the SDG’s.
  • How the SDG’s affect our day-to-day lives.
  • The ISO standards that can help you meet the SDG’s.
  • Details of the first 9 SDG’s and the ISO standards that relate to them.
  • Where the term ISO came from.


In this episode, we talk about:

[01:48] What the sustainable development goals are.

[02:29] When the SDG was established and what it’s agenda is.

[03:17] An overview of the 17 SDG’s.

[04:48] Where the term ISO came from.

[09:05] How ISO 20400 and ISO 37001 relate to the goal of ‘No Poverty’.

[11:25] The ISO standards related to the goal of ‘Zero Hunger’ including ISO 22000, ISO 26000 and ISO 20400.

[13:05] How ISO 13845 can relate to the goal of ‘Good health and well-being’.

[13:53] The first-ever management standard on education ISO 21001.

[15:23] How ISO 26000 can help improve gender equality.

[17:40] The ISO standards for water management that relate to the UN’s goal of ‘Clean water and sanitation’ including ISO 24518, ISO 14001 and ISO 24521.

[19:48] The increase in development of ISO standards in the area of Affordable and clean energy’ including ISO 50001 and the ISO 52000 series of Standards.

[21:37] How international standards promote the goal of ‘Decent work and economic growth’ including ISO 45001, ISO 37001, ISO 9001 and ISO 44001.

[27:48] How international standards promote the goal of ‘Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure’ including ISO 56002 and ISO 56003

Just a reminder, we’re offering 6 months free access to the isologyhub for anyone who signs up to an ISO Support Plan!

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This episode is the final part of our 3-part series on Management Review, and this time Mel is joined by Rachel Churchman to explain how to best conduct Management Reviews and what’s best to include in them.

Rachel Churchman is a Managing Consultant at Blackmores where she assists clients to implement, maintain and continually improve their UKAS certified ISO Management Systems.

Mel and Rachel discuss the different ways to conduct a Management Review, how to improve the Management Review process, and who should be involved in your Management Review.

You’ll learn

  • The purpose of a Management Review.
  • Different ways to approach your Management Review.
  • The importance of using data.
  • Who you should involve in your Management Review.
  • How to deal with non-conformities and corrective opportunities.


In this episode, we talk about:

[07:30] The purpose of a Management Review.

[11:15] The Management Review carried out at Blackmores and the issues we came across.

[13:06] The ways Covid has shifted from being viewed as a risk to an opportunity.

[14:14] The importance of reviewing your company’s subscriptions in your Management Review.

[15:30] The benefits of involving more people in your Management Review.

[17:52] Why data analysis is so essential in a Management Review.

[22:35] The importance of considering your outputs as well as your inputs in your Management Review.

[24:47] Areas you should monitor and measure in your Management Review.

[30:53] The most beneficial ways to review your objectives.

[34:43] How to deal with non-conformities and corrective opportunities at Management Review.

[37:20] Types of resources you should review in your Management Review.

[41:50] Our top tips for Management Review.

[47:24] The three different ways to conduct a Management Review and the benefits of each one.

For members of the isologyhub, we have a few Management Review templates available for download

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Richard Matheron is the Quality and Continuous Improvement Manager at BP Chargemaster. He’s had a long career as a quality professional and hands-on Manager, with his background mostly being in engineering and manufacturing management.

Currently, Richard is working for BP Chargemaster helping them transform themselves from an SME to an international world-class business. BP Chargemaster is the UK’s biggest name in electric vehicle charging. They design, build, sell and maintain the most popular charging units in the country, and have begun to expand their business worldwide.

Today, Richard is here to discuss his experience with implementing ISO 9001 (Quality Management) and ISO 14001 (Environmental Management). These have been a fundamental component in his management of transitioning the company from an SME to an international organisation.

Richard explains why these ISO’s are so necessary, and why it’s so important that a company has someone who can focus on continuous improvement within their business. He reiterates the importance of people to not be afraid of change and discusses some of the most effective ways to carry out positive improvements within your organisation.

He explains the ways having a priority board and suggestion box can help to drive continuous improvement, and how often the best solution for an issue isn’t a complicated one but is one of the simplest…


Mobile phone: 07813098736


You’ll learn

  • How the demand for electric charge vehicles is changing. 
  • The types of tax incentives and grants that are available for businesses who use electric cars.
  • Why digital security is more important now than ever before.
  • How to grow your business from an SME to an international organization.
  • The most effective ways to drive continuous improvement.
  • The best ways to track the effectiveness of new improvement measures.
  • How ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 have helped Richard.


In this episode, we talk about:

[00:30] Who Richard is, what he does for a living, and what he’ll be sharing with us today.

[01:50] The types of dance that Richard teaches in his free time.

[03:44] BP Chargemasters position in the electric vehicle charging market.

[04:55] How demand for electric cars has changed over the last year.

[05:39] The tax incentives and grants that are available for businesses for using electric cars.

[07:14] What Richard does as the Quality and Continuous Improvement Manager at BP Chargemaster.

[10:05] The value of data and the importance of digital security.

[12:29] How to best manage a company that’s growing from an SME to an international enterprise.

[18:22] The way Richard drives continuous improvement at BP Chargemaster.

[20:43] What ‘8 D’ is and how it can help to identify the causes of problems and the best ways to improve on them.

[25:06] How Richard tracks the different improvements that he puts in place.

[27:27] The book Richard recommends to those working in the business world.

If you need assistance with implementing ISO 9001 or ISO 14001 – Contact us!

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Andy Pavlovic is the Compliance director at Maris. Maris is certified to four ISO standards, ISO 9001 for quality, ISO 14001 for environmental management, ISO 45001 for health and safety, and ISO 37001 for anti-bribery standards. He manages and maintains all of these ISO standards for Maris and makes sure that the company upholds these standards across the board.

This episode, Andy Pavlovic is here to share with me what he’s learnt from his years working as Maris’s compliance director and overseeing the implementation of four different ISO standards.

Andy speaks about how ISO standards enable Maris to maintain consistency across the company in the quality of their work, their health and safety procedures, and their environmental impact.

He explains how implementing standards allow organisations to be scalable and how having multiple standards doesn’t necessarily mean spending more time on them.

With ISO 37001 being a relatively new standard, he explains the value following this standard has not only for the ethos of Maris but also to the commercial side of his business.

Finally, he explains how Maris keeps their employees compliant with their standards and what the key benefits of having an integrated management system are…



You’ll learn

  • How ISO standards allow organisations to be scalable.
  • Why implementing the correct ISO standards is even more important than ever during COVID times.
  • The importance of choosing the right systems for your organisation.
  • How to maintain consistent adherence to standards across your company over long time periods.
  • The best ways to train your staff to be compliant with new ISO standards.
  • The benefits of having an integrated management system when dealing with multiple ISO standards.


In this episode, we talk about:

[00:32] Who Andy Pavlovic is and the different ISO standards that Maris are certified with.

[01:48] Andy’s experience working with ISO standards.

[02:18] What Maris does and the industries they work in.

[03:05] Andy’s ISO responsibilities as the Compliance Director.

[04:00] How ISO standards work across different cultures and the importance of having these in place.

[05:12] How Andy manages four different ISO standards, and how having these standards enable companies to be scalable.

[08:07] The importance of organisations accepting standards as part of their culture.

[09:52] The importance of giving new employees a proper formal induction and what this process looks like.

[11:52] The commercial advantages of having ISO standards and how this has helped Maris win new business during the COVID pandemic.

[13:34] What the benefits of having an integrated management system are.

[15:16] Advice Andy has for anybody who is looking to implement ISO standards.

[16:45] Andy’s book recommendation to anyone looking for self-growth.

[18:19] The importance of having someone with the right expertise in house when implementing ISO procedures.

[19:14] How to get in touch with Maris or Andy himself.

If you need assistance with implementing ISO 14001, ISO 9001, ISO 45001 or ISO 37001 – Contact us!

We’d love to hear your views and comments about the ISO Show, here’s how:Share the ISO Show on twitter or Linkedin

Leave an honest review on iTunes or Soundcloud. Your ratings and reviews really help and we read each one.

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This episode’s guest has experienced at first-hand what it’s like going from Chaos to Calm amidst the impact of the Coronovirus Pandemic, and how she has slipped into seamlessly delivering her work remotely, which typically would have been done face to face.

Lorna is founder and Director of Leonard Business Services, and is almost at the end of completing an ISO 9001 implementation project, so I thought it would be good for Lorna to share her experience of working remotely amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic and her experience of being audited to ISO 9001 remotely.

Top tips for remote working during a Pandemic

  1. Keep calm and carry on
  2. Keeps spirits and morale high with group online sessions – just 10 minutes is fine to share a hobby or fun group activity, or half an hour on Friday at the end of the day to share ‘end of the week’ drinks (virtually)
  3. Keep connected – 15 minutes ‘start the day’ get-together.
  4. Plan your agendas to work remotely to maximise your time.
  5. Use the time for reflection on how you can operate more efficiently
  6. Review resources and optimise on investments made (people/products/process)
  7. Consider ways to operate more sustainably after ‘Lockdown’ i.e. remote working to avoid travel/CO2 emissions.

To quote Lorna ‘Keep calm and Carry on’ as we continue to adapt to the situation.

Contact us to grab a copy of our Remote Working Guide at:

Click HERE to learn more about Lorna’s business, Leonard Business Services.

If you would like to learn more about IS0 9001, we have an ISO 9001 Steps to Success series available to listen to HERE.

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Before I dive into the most popular standard in the world, I’d like to begin by busting some of those myths around ISO 9001.

Myth – You need to have a Quality Manual

Myth – You need to have lots of lengthy irrelevant procedures

Myth – You need to have a Quality Manager

Myth – It’s just a tick box exercise

None of these statements is true – Maybe some of them were correct in 1982 (the old BS 5750 standard), but not in 2020!

This weeks ISO show provides an overview of ISO 9001:2015, where we interpret the standard (as a technical document) and break it down into very simple terms what the requirements actually mean.

Although there are 10 clauses, only 7 of these are actually requirements that you need to put in place (Clauses 4.0 – 10.0), and they all make sound business sense.  What business doesn’t need to have a system to explain to employees what they need to do? What business doesn’t need to monitor and measure the performance of their business (including any costly mistakes)?

ISO 9001 is basically a model for running a successful and profitable business – if implemented in the right way (which, by the way, is not buying a certificate and ISO in a box online – that’s for the cheaters!).

The quality standard provides a common framework for things that all businesses should have in place, including defining your companies unique ‘way of working’.  It provides a ‘hub’ a ‘go to place’ for all company policies, procedures and forms/templates.  So ultimately your ‘blueprint’ for business operations and success.

I walk our ISO Show listeners through the 7 Key requirements and highlight some of my favourite parts that I believe add the most value in terms of investing in ISO 9001.

7 key requirements

  • Context of the organisation
  • Leadership
  • Planning
  • Support
  • Operations
  • Performance evaluation
  • Improvement

For supporting information check out:-

FREE copy of a Communications Template – just contact us at

Want to learn more about ISO 9001? Listen to our Steps to Success Series.

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Tony Bennett, Senior Information Security Executive shares his journey on achieving certification to ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 27001 (Information Security) and ISO 22301 (Business Continuity) in one hit!

Kingsley Napley, is an internationally recognised Law firm based in central London.  To exceed clients’ expectations, they decided to develop their systems to meet the requirements of these leading international standards.  Tony worked in collaboration with Rachel Churchman of Blackmores to support the delivery of the project, and bring together all the requirements of the standard into one holistic framework.  This led to gaining a greater understanding of the organisations operations, risks and strengths, which led to the creation of a ‘Best Practice’ Framework.  As the first Law Firm in the UK to achieve certification to all three standards as an integrated management system, Kingsley Napley are clearly demonstrating how to raise standards within their profession.

As an experienced Information Security professional, in this weeks’ ISO Show Podcast, Tony shares invaluable guidance on:-

  • Why Quality, Information Security and Business Continuity is so crucial in the legal sector
  • How he delivered the project within 12 months
  • The drivers behind implementing all three standards as an integrated management system
  • Explains how the assessment was actually an enjoyable experience!
  • Key tips on overcoming obstacles and challenges – Communication, communication, communication!
  • How leadership plays such an important role in the success of initiating change management
  • Specific advice for those in the legal sector who may wish to raise their standards and achieve certification

For further Information on Kingsley Napley and their journey on achieving certification, visit their website.

For support with achieving ISO 9001, IS0 27001 and ISO 22301, see our Steps to Success.

For a FREE consultation Contact Us

For further information on the Standards:

ISO 9001 Quality Management

ISO 27001 Information Security Management

ISO 22301 Business Continuity

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Join Mel and Derek Hall, this week as they discuss the awesome sustainability work that Derek did to be awarded an MBE for his contribution to sustainability management in business based on ISO 14001 and ISO 9001.

To help out the ISO Show:

What is the future for ISO 9001? It only seems like yesterday that the latest version of ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 was released, even though this was back in November 2015.  How time flies as they say! All organisations have now transitioned to the latest version, however, standards, the same as businesses can never afford to be left to stand still.  In true Deming fashion (Plan, do, check, act), the time has come for the next review and revision.  Next year, in 2020 the review process begins again…….

I was delighted to be joined on the ISO Show this week by Paul Simpson, Chair of the ISO 9001 Technical Committee in the UK (TC 176) and Director of Strategy to Action. 

In the ISO Show this week Paul explains:-

  • How Annex L supersedes Annex SL
  • What is the role of TC 176 and what they are currently doing in relation to ISO 9001?
  • The future concepts for ISO 9001
  • Views on whether ISO 9001 could change much following the review which begins in 2020

If you would like to find out more about Paul Simpson and his company, Strategy to Action, Action to Success, click HERE.

If you would like to find further information about the ISO 9001 Quality Technical Committee, click HERE.

Need assistance with ISO 9001? We’d be happy to help, simply Contact Us.

To help out the ISO Show:

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  • Leave an honest review on iTunes or Soundcloud. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.

You’ve done all the hard work, the Quality Management System (QMS) has been created and implemented. Our final episode in the ISO 9001 Steps to Success Podcast series with Rachel Churchman covers the final critical stage – compliance and preparation for your certification assessment.

This is where you need to prove that the quality system is effective – that it is producing the results you want; better quality products, services, happy clients and reduction in costs.

The final stages include management and employee involvement, Internal Audits and Management Review.  Here are a few tips from this week’s ISO Show Podcast:-

Management involvement and employee awareness

  • Check all employees have been made aware of the Management System and have been involved. 
  • Have training/competency records been updated to reflect this?
  • Ensure you’ve got employee ‘buy-in’ – get representation across your business.

Internal audits

  • Are a mandatory requirement of ISO 9001
  • Checks that the QMS is being followed and clearly understood within the business
  • Don’t expect the system to be perfect – take the findings from the audits and use them to make improvements
  • Internal Audits with Blackmores are an inclusive experience. It helps to get feedback from the business on how the system is working for them.  It’s definitely not a tick-box exercise.
  • Communicate in advance which procedures are to be audited and who is to be involved.
  • Provide an opportunity for employees to have a voice – bring opportunities to management’s attention.

Management Review

  • Is a mandatory requirement for ISO 9001
  • A holistic review of the Quality Management System’s performance
  • Specific inputs and outputs provided in the standard for the meeting i.e. audit findings, trends.
  • Enables fact-based decision making
  • Proves that that QMS is effective and provides results on the value.
  • Can be an ‘eye-opening’ experience for Management
  • Make sure outputs from the Management Review get fed back to the workforce to encourage further opportunities for improvement.

If you would like to understand what to expect in as assessment listen to episode 3 of the ISO Show.

Listen to the ‘ISO 9001 Steps to success’ series by subscribing to us on iTunes or Soundcloud

And click HERE for further information on our ISO 9001 Steps to success service

To help out the ISO Show:

In our second episode in the ISO 9001 Steps to Success Podcast, Rachel Churchman explains in detail about how to create and launch your Quality Management System.  Here are 10 tips for implementation:

  1. Collate, review and update all your existing policies and procedures.
  2. Get Quality Champions to represent each function within the organisation – they know better than anyone else what the procedures are and how they can be improved.
  3. Establish your company branding and document control, so all the documents have the same company branding, font size/type and that they are dated and clearly referenced.
  4. Share and document ‘Best Practice’ to ensure you have a consistent approach.
  5. Get approval and endorsement from the leadership team.
  6. Publish your QMS so it is easily accessible to all employees – this could be via sharepoint, a Wiki, company intranet, manual or laminated process maps next to work stations/equipment.
  7. Launch your QMS – have a ‘Quality Focus’ week, posters, screensavers, meetings agendas, email from the CEO – ensure all employees are aware of the QMS and its importance to the business, clients and to individual employees.
  8. Ensure your sales and marketing team have all the relevant information they need about ISO 9001 and your QMS.
  9. Inform employees of the next steps – Internal audits and the external assessment and how to prepare.
  10. Get feedback on the QMS from employees and empower them to take responsibility for it – it is their Quality Management and is for their benefit.

I look forward to you joining us for the final episode of the ISO 9001 Steps to Success Series on the ISO Show, where we’ll be sharing tips on the final steps to implementing a QMS and preparation for the ISO 9001 assessment.

Listen to the ‘ISO 9001 Steps to success’ series by subscribing to us on iTunes or Soundcloud   

And click HERE for further information on our ISO 9001 Steps to success service

To help out the ISO Show:

Over the last 13 years that I’ve been running Blackmores, the most popular standard has been without doubt ISO 9001.  We’ve implemented the Quality Standard for hundreds of businesses large and small, so I thought this would be a great place to start with our first ISO Show series.  We are introducing for the first time a 3-part series, ISO 9001 Steps to success, which will take you through how to implement a Quality Management System – from initial idea through to assessment. 

Rachel Churchman is my guest on the ISO 9001 Steps to success series.  As a Managing Consultant at Blackmores, she brings a wealth of experience in implementing ISO Standards and will guide you through the Blackmores ISO Steps to success for the successful delivery of your ISO 9001 Project. 

In episode 1 Rachel highlights:

  • Why ISO 9001 is so popular – it’s not just a Quality System…. It’s a ‘Best Practice’ system for running any business
  • How to establish the scope of certification
  • What is involved with a Gap Analysis to understand how compliant you are to ISO 9001
  • Where the typical gaps are within a business that needs to be filled to pass an assessment
  • What type of evidence you need to start to establish
  • Who needs to be involved with the creation of the QMS

Rachel guides us through understanding how to get under the skin of a business to establish the context of the organisation. This includes establishing risks, opportunities and interested parties and provides some handy tips to achieve this: –

  • External issues – PESTLE – Political, Economical, Social, Technological, Legal, Ethical and Environmental.
  • Internal issues – SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
  • Identify interested parties that are affected by or could have an impact on your business.

Listen to the ‘ISO 9001 Steps to success’ series by subscribing to us on iTunes or Soundcloud

And click HERE for further information on our ISO 9001 Steps to success service

To help out the ISO Show:

Established over 100 years ago in 1912, The London School of English is the longest-established Accredited English Language School in the world, with premises in London and Canterbury, and now offering courses online.  I was delighted to be joined by Hauke Tallon, CEO of the London School Group on this week’s Podcast to discuss:-

  • Secrets of the success of a the longest-established Language School
  • Experience of implementing ISO 9001 with professional help
  • Explains the London School of English process for success and how this is at the core of the business
  • Embedding processes to stay on track
  • How quality can be an overused term
  • Core drivers to improve efficiency and not just get the badge
  • How ISO 9001 helped to align group processes
  • How working with an ISO 9001 Consultant made implementation a ‘liberating’ experience

The London School of English have impressively been rated as ‘Excellent’ in over 750 independent client reviews.  For a business that might be looking to use independent reviews to validate high quality services or products, Hauke explains how to get there.  Officially rated as the top language school,  Hauke explains about the process for dealing with the reviews – good or not so good, and why its important to deal with all reviews promptly and learn from any opportunities for improvement.  Simply by virtue of asking clients to provide a review, the numbers increase, and at present the average response rate is approximately 25%, which is pretty impressive.

Although the word ‘Quality’ can be seen as being overused in business, for the London School of English the evidence is in their Trust Pilot Scores and ISO Certification.  ‘We have a way of delivering that is repeatable, so we get the same outcome’.   Quality is at the core of the London School of English, so much so in fact, that it’s part of the culture. This is demonstrated in the marketing material ‘Our proven process’ which states that  ‘the time you spend with us is so much more than a course, accommodation, free lunches and additional services; you will leave us having had an unforgettable experience’.  ISO 9001 helped provide an approach that enables the group to be more effective and efficient to benefit the companies and of course client experience.

Hauke left us with a wise Chinese proverb – ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, and the next best time is now’.

Special thanks to Hauke Tallon from The London School Group for joining me this week. Until next time!

And for ISO 9001 services in this area – check out ISO Steps to Success, or if you would like support with keeping your QMS in tip top shape, our ISO Support Plan will help you whip it into shape and keep up those high standards.

To help out the ISO Show:

I was delighted to be joined by one of our ISO Support Plan clients, Optimum on the ISO show this week.  Optimum is part of Totally Group Plc and an important player in the healthcare sector in the UK.

Huge volumes of sensitive data are processed in the healthcare sector.  As Information Governance Lead and a qualified Physiotherapist at Optimum, David Angove explains about keeping one step ahead in his role in relation to information security. 

David described how Optimum’s ISMS should be like a well-fitted suit rather than a straight-jacket.  This all stems from the robust Risk Assessment which considers all risks to your business, including managing the integrity of data. The ISMS helped to put a continual improvement plan in place to mitigate risk. He explains about preventing access to private information through documenting controls and applying them to all 20 Optimum clinics.  Examples include physical security controls i.e. locking screens to protect patient data.  Other controls relating to personnel security include having a starters and leavers process to ensure access rights are granted correctly, and that access rights are revoked when an employee leaves the organisation.

ISO 27001 also helped with preparation for GDPR compliance, particularly with investigating all aspects of where and how data is stored within the company.  When I asked what top tips he’d give to a company looking to implement ISO 27001 David recommended getting assistance from a consultancy such as Blackmores (we hadn’t paid him to say that, I promise!), including support with the assessment, as the consultant will ‘know the standards inside-out’.

David also recommends a gripping read, ‘Ghost in the wire’s: My adventures as the words most wanted hacker’ by author Kevin Mitnik which covers how he hacked into some of the country’s most powerful – and seemingly impenetrable – agencies and companies using social engineering and other methods.  This acts as a good reminder about the value of Penetration Testing, to test how good the security of your business is and to understand that everyone is aware of your systems.

He mentioned that you can have the fanciest encryption systems and the best passwords, but if the people answering the phones or processing data aren’t aware of them, then its only as good as the weakest link.

To For an overview of what ISO 27001 entails check out our latest ISO 27001 video….

And for services in this area – check out – ISO Steps to success, or if your ISMS is like a straight-jacket rather than a well-fitted suit, our ISO support Plan will help you into an Armani equivalent ISMS for your business.

To help out the ISO Show:

Special thanks to David Angove from Optimum for joining me this week. Until next time!

I’m delighted Kim-Marie Freeston, Managing Director of UComply shared with me her background and journey to ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 in this weeks podcast.

Kim-Marie is a thought-leader in employers’ compliance, in particular the Home Office requirements for employee ‘Right to Work’.   Gain an insight into Kim-Marie’s views by subscribing to our Podcast ‘The ISO Show’.

You can subscribe to our Soundcloud and Itunes to stay updated on the latest episodes.

Kim Marie was formerly CEO of Lifeline Recruitment Solutions with over 20 years in the recruitment industry, including 6 years as a board member of the REC – the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

Spotting a compliance gap in the market for ID checks to meet Home Office requirements, Kim-Marie founded Ucomply in 2012 and worked with a team of technology experts to offer the first software solution to manage ID checks and employee compliance requirements.

As a client, Blackmores supported Ucomply to achieve certification to the Quality standard ISO 9001 and the Information Security standard ISO 27001. Sharing her journey, topics discussed include:-

Key points

  • Background and journey to raising standards at Ucomply
  • Challenges and benefits of ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 for a software firm
  • Top tips for implementation
  • ‘Right to Work’ employers’ requirements explained

Need assistance with ISO 9001 or ISO 27001? We’d be happy to help, simply Contact Us.

Resources mentioned:-

Free download ‘7 Vital Points every business must understand about Right to Work’

How to implement ISO 27001 video

Can you work for an hour without getting interrupted to answer a question? Either by an employee, a client or a phone call from someone else (who you don’t particularly need to speak to).

If not, it sounds like it could be time for you to consider systemising your business.  If it’s difficult for you to try to complete a task without interruptions, then just think what it will be like for others in your organisation? Interruptions usually happen because people are asking you questions that they don’t have the answers to or need something from you such as authorisation for something.  They do this because they don’t have clear instructions to follow or access to the information they need and are not fully empowered to take responsibilities for their own processes.

There needs to be a system in place to instruct employees in EVERY aspect of how you run your business.  This system is the blueprint to your business operations – it’s your unique way of working; from an enquiry coming into the business through to billing and client feedback.

In the ISO Show Podcast ‘How to systemise your business’, I’ll give you an example of a company that doesn’t have a process for new enquiries and one that does, and the difference this makes.

In the words of Deming, the continual improvement visionary ‘If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you are doing’.

So where do you begin with systemising your business? How do you transform from a reactive business that is constantly firefighting to a proactive business that can focus on productivity and profitability?

Many organisations use ISO 9001 as a starting point to find out where their gaps are – risk and opportunities.  However, if an ISO standard isn’t on your agenda yet, I’d like to share with you some tips to get started on systemising your business.  It all begins by identifying the BIGGEST, MOST EXPENSIVE AND DISTRACTING PROBLEMS IN YOUR BUSINESS.  Start by listing all the issues that your company has faced in the last month; incorrect orders, re-work, staff errors.

The idea is to get an accurate view of the things that waste time and hurt your business, either through financial or reputational damage.  If you would like to get others involved i.e. heads of departments, you can ask them to do this exercise retrospectively, or they could record all the issues that occur over a one-month period. You can then review and highlight the ones that waste time and/or money.

The next thing you need to do is simply ask the question ‘why?’  By asking this question you are trying to get to the root cause of the problem. 

Issue: No paper for the printer to print invoices at the beginning of the day.

Why? We’ve been using up the paper over the last few days.

Why? Because we use paper daily, everyone takes it for granted that it’s there. Nobody thought to restock it.

Why? Because the boss normally does it and he’s not here.

Why does only he do it? He always places the order, it’s the way things have always been done.

Why? Because he doesn’t think anybody else can do it properly.

Why? Because nobody’s been shown how to do it, and he knows how much we might use.

Why? Because there is no minimum stock level to trigger an order.

Why do you need to use paper for invoices? We don’t! it’s just the way we’ve always done it. I guess we could email them a copy to avoid using paper and save postage costs.

I’ve just asked ‘Why?’ 8 times. This allowed me to get to the crux of the problem and to rethink the way things have always been done.  But not only that, by asking ‘Why?’ a few more times, we’ve actually found a solution to prevent the issue from reoccurring and to save the business time and money.

Just because things have always been done the same way, doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do things now or in the future.  Now, you may need to ask the question ‘Why?’ a few times, it doesn’t really matter, so long as you get to a point where you have an actionable result and you can systemise it.

I think sometimes, when things go wrong in a business, the natural thing is for people to ask ‘Who?

Asking ‘Who?’ makes people automatically defensive and doesn’t necessarily help in solving the problem. A better approach could be, ‘Hey, I’ve noticed we’ve had 7 returns this week – do we know why this has happened and what the possible solution is?’ or ‘I’ve noticed that the risk assessments for 3 sites were not completed last month – do we know why? and how we can prevent that from reoccurring next month?’

One of the myths around ISO Standards is that a large number of wordy procedures are required to implement a compliant management system.  So, I’d just like to bust that myth by saying you don’t, you can systemise your business in the way that you see fit!  For example, you can have checklists, screen shots of how to follow a process i.e. stock inventory, or a flow-chart.  You can use video, operations manuals – it is entirely up to you.  But the main thing is to make sure that everyone is involved, and that the key process owners have a say, as they will own the process at the end of the day, and they will be empowered to take responsibility for following them and keeping them up-to-date as the business evolves.

Now, successfully implementing systems into your business isn’t something you will achieve overnight.  Your staff will need to understand and follow the system, and there will be times that they will want to avoid using them if there is a short-cut.  This is where strong leadership comes into play.  A strong leader will offer encouragement when employees are struggling …and discipline if they can’t be arsed.  You will also need to be a role model and always use the system yourself.  If you don’t follow your own company procedures, then others will think that it’s ok for them to do the same. 

If you want assistance with using ISO Standards to systemise your business, contact us.

And don’t forget to subscribe to us on either Soundcloud or ITunes!

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