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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.

To celebrate hitting 50 episodes, I wanted to bring to bring to you something a little extra special today. and that is ‘How to implement any ISO’, but before we do, I’d just like to say a huge thank you to all our listeners.  Keep sharing the ISO Love, and share this episode with anyone who is looking to take their business to the next level.

In this episode I take you through 4 simple steps to implementing any ISO Standard.

  • Understanding your business (I mean really understand your business – warts and all!)
  • Create
  • Share
  • Engage

When you break it down, the same ingredients apply to how you approach to implementing and ISO Standard.

To celebrate hitting 50 episodes, I wanted to bring to bring to you something a little extra special today. and that is ‘How to implement any ISO’, but before we do, I’d just like to say …….

Thank you, thank you, thank you – for listening in, and giving your time to listen to the ISO Show, I’ve loved recording the last 50 episodes with some amazing guests, and I really hope you’ve found them beneficial and taken away some great tips and insights into how other businesses have succeeded and how they’ve transformed their businesses with ISO Standards.  So I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to them too, if you did please could leave a review and hit subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts, because that that means that we can continue to inspire and educate others, and it also means we can keep getting epic guests on the show.

I’d also like to give a quick shout out to Steph Churchman, our Communications Manager here at Blackmores, who has been my saviour in doing these recording – especially when we’ve had technical issues, and even lost guests midway through recording.  She’s been absolutely fabulous in making my vision for the ISO Show become a reality! So huge thank you Steph! You are a star!

So, onto today’s episode which is ‘How to implement any ISO Standard’ – you may think, hey that’s a bit of a bold statement, there are thousands of ISO Standards! Yep! But when you are implementing an ISO Standard to improve a business, there are a few secret ingredients, and I’m going to let you in on those today.  But I don’t just want to do that, I’m going to provide a free check-sheet on ‘How to implement any ISO Standard’ which will be available to download from the show notes.

I’m going to share with you our ISO Steps to Success – this is a proven methodology that, at we’ve refined over the last 14 years, and implemented for over 250 companies – 250 companies, in over 20 countries. Not only that – with a 100% success rate, yep, an awesome 100% success rate.  So here’s what we do

# 1   Understanding the organisation

You need to fully understand what your businesses biggest risks are but also establish where you most impactful opportunities are.

  • Gap Analysis,
  • Identify risks, opportunities, interested parties, – SWOT/PESTEL
  • Understand legal requirements. – Statutory, regulatory and contractual requirements
  • Finally – establish a clear SCOPE – what is your ISO Management system going to cover?

It’s only really when you’ve fully understood your organisation that you can create a roadmap to achieve success with where you are trying to get to.

# 2    Creation  

Create the Management System policies, procedures and templates – long gone are the days of Quality Manual or worse still ISO Manual – you label it to suit your company brand, culture and vision. Give it some thought, as this will be the central point that you want employees to go back to I they need any guidance and support on their way of working.  For the purposes of this podcast, I’ll simply refer to the Standards terminology of ‘Management System’.

So lets get down to the creation of your management system…..

Top tip alertwhere the standard says ‘shall’ it is basically saying – don’t bullshit me – you’ve got to god damn have this in your system or it will fail an assessment!

So if the standard says’ top Management SHALL establish, implement and maintain an environmental Policy – it means, DO IT!

If the standard says ‘The organisation SHALL establish environmental objectives at relevant functions and levels – DO IT!

The standard is there to HELP your business, and it is crystal clear in the ‘SHALL’s’ exactly what you need to do to achieve success.

# 3 Sharing

There is no point having an awesome ISO Management System sitting in a manual or buried in a server somewhere if no one knows about it, or they can’t find it!

You need to SHARE it with everyone, after all its been created for the organisation to succeed – to be more profitable, productive, reduce risk, be more sustainable – so everyone needs to be AWARE of the management system AND be empowered to take responsibility for it!

There is no point in having an Information Security System in place, if know one knows what a security breach is in your business is or who to report it too!  What’s the point!

So you need to have….

  • A Communications Plan – Internal Comms, External Comms – website, social, newsfeed.
  • Awareness training (classroom or eLearning), recordings  
  • Make it accessible – not everyone may have access to a PC – think outside the box – how can you get your ‘Way of Working’ to the workforce? – screens in meeting areas, virtual noticeboards.
  • Themes – World Environment Day – Create a buzz, create energy and enthusiasm for getting involved and making a difference.  You can use this either for the launch or for refresher sessions.

 # 4 – Engagement

  • You need to get the company ‘Way of working’ which are your policies and procedures, systems into the business DNA – be crystal clear on accountabilities and responsibilities.

Engagement is so critical to making this a success……

If you are launching a new client onboarding process to improve the customer experience – make it clear, how the process works, what results you expect to see, how you are going to monitor the results, and who is going to make it happen!

Get those responsible to own it and take pride in their achievements.

  • Next, I know you may think you are wonderful, and I’m sure you are amazing, but in all honesty you can’t successfully embed an ISO System on your own!

In all businesses there are usually closet ISO Champions – just waiting to be asked to contribute – so why not encourage engagement?

Why not Create a hub for Champions? – give them the tools and platform to make it happen!

This isn’t just about when you launch a new ISO System, but to demonstrate how you are continually raising standards! so let’s say you have a Health and Safety System – ISO 45001 – Your H & S Champions could be championing the COVID-19 H & S Risk Assessments, controls and awareness for your employees across all area of your businesses.

Having these champions, will make Management’s life easier to communicate key issues and solutions, to create a better working environment and happier clients.

  • Carrying out Internal Audits – So this another ‘Shall’.  It is not optional, and this is where ISO Standards can get bad press, as a result of lazy or incompetent auditors (or worse still lazy and incompetent) just using it as a ‘tick-box’ exercise.  Use this opportunity to really engage with your workforce – this is such a value tool in the tool box if done in the right way – it helps you to understand an employees:
  • Level of understanding
  • Opinions and views of the process
  • Opportunities for improvement
  • Gauge level of compliance and readiness for the assessment.
  • Engaging in the Leadership Team through Management Review

So that’s it in a nutshell, that’s how you implement ANY ISO Standards. 

I’d love to hear what your top takeaways were on the show today, and share that with me, I absolutely love reading the reviews and suggestions.

Don’t forget to follow us on Linkedin. Also, ISO Show listeners will get a 10% discount on ISO Steps to Success, ISO Support Plans and ISO Elearning. Just quote ‘ISO Show’ in your enquiry.

………before I go I just wanted to say thank you so, so much for being here and  listening to the ISO Show, and showing up today – if you know anyone, colleagues, associates, friends in your life that would really benefit from having an awesome System in place to take their business to the next level – to be more efficient, sustainable and profitable then please share this episode with them.

Thanks once again for listening, and I look forward to catching you on the next ISO Show….

Awesome resources

ISO Steps to Success – Free consultation to discuss the feasibility of ISO for your business

ISO Support Plan – Free health check on your ISO Management System

ISO Elearning – Wide range of ISO Standards courses for just £50 per course.

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We often get asked which is the best ISO Standard to go for and what are the benefits.

In this week’s ISO Show we highlight the top 5 from the Annual ISO survey published by the International Standards Organisation.  Here’s a summary of the countdown, but worth noting are two runners up!

  • Medical devices standard ISO 13485, which is most popular in the USA, followed by Germany.  Interestingly, this is the only standard where the USA is top of the charts.
  • ISO 45001 the Health and Safety Standard.  For years, the predecessor the Occupational Health and Safety Standard 18001 was popular in manufacturing and construction, however since this standard became an ISO Standard a year ago it has seen a significant increase in demand, not only with OHSAS 18001 companies migrating to the new ISO standard, but new companies keen to commit to higher standards of Health and Safety.

So which ISO standard is the 5th most popular in the world?:

Starting in reverse order, I’m going to give an overview of the top 5 standards.

#5  ISO 50001 the energy standard – When ISO 50001 was launched a few years ago, there was some debate about whether it was even worth having a standard for energy management – well clearly there is because thousands of organisations are treating their energy management very seriously by implementing an energy management system and getting certified.

#4  ISO 22000:2018 the food safety standard -countries that are taking the lead with this one – namely, China, Greece, India and Japan leading the way in food safety.

#3 ISO 27001 the Information Security Standard – Why has ISO 27001 become so popular?  Apart from governments putting pressure on businesses to secure personal data, businesses are demanding higher standards of protection for commercial data.  Now, there is a common misconception that ISO 27001 is just about data – well it’s not, it also covers Personnel and Physical security along with Business Continuity.

#2 ISO 14001 the Environmental Standard – All businesses should be accountable for their environmental footprint.  If we are to be carbon-neutral by 2050 we need a real mechanism for change, not just having a piece of paper labelled an ‘Environmental Policy’.  This is something, that I am personally extremely passionate about, and at Blackmores we will be focusing on how businesses can help to reverse the damage they are doing to the environment over the next decade.  It will not be easy, but it does have to be done, as we are putting our children, grand-children and future generations at significant risk by NOT doing anything.

So whether your organisation has a desire for ISO 14001 certification or not, I implore you to start today by considering how your company can be more efficient with your resources

If you’d like to find out more about this check out the ISO 14001 Steps to Success series, ISO Show # for the low-down.

#1 ISO 9001 the Quality Management Standard – Consumers will always expect high quality services and products, one may argue consumer demands are getting higher.  With over 1 million organisations certified globally, the economic benefits are clear, businesses need systems to operate efficiently to be profitable and demonstrate a commitment to quality to clients to retain their business, and win new business. 

Other resources: Annual ISO Survey

To help out the ISO Show:


What is ISO?

ISO is the ‘International Organization for Standardization’, hang on a minute your thinking, should it be IOS? Yes, it would be in English, or it would be OIN in French for Organisation internationale de normalisation .

This isn’t  a great start for an organisation to agree on standards internationally is it? So in the end the founders, decided to name the organisation – ISO which is derived from the Greek, ISOS, meaning EQUAL.  So whatever the country, whatever the language, we are always ISO – EQUAL.

So where did it all begin?  Well the ISO story began back in 1946 when delegates from 25 countries met at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London, and decided to create a new international organization ‘to facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards’. The following year, the new organization, ISO, officially began setting standards for the worlds trade.

Today ISO, have standards body members from 164 countries and 781 technical committees and subcommittees to take care of standards development.

So What do International Standards actually do? Quite simply they provide a recipe for making things work. They give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and sustainability. In many cases they are instrumental in facilitating international trade.  ISO puts standards at the heart of the Global Agenda and helps define a clear path for businesses large and small.

You could say that in this day and age our world faces complex global issues and uncertainty about how we do business, whether its climate change issues or technological advances such as the ‘Internet of things’.  Never before, has there been such a demand for International Standards.

Now although on our ISO show we typically talk about Management System standards i.e. ISO 9001 for quality and ISO 27001 for information security, ISO have actually published 22,942 International Standards.  They touch almost every aspect of our lives – from making a cup of tea – yes that does exist! To designing submarines.

So what is an ISO standard? well quite simply it’s a document that provides specifications, guidelines or characteristics that can be used to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose.

Bringing real and measurable benefits to almost every sector imaginable, standards underpin the technology and services that we rely on and help to provide the assurance of quality that we expect.

Shared success is about successfully sharing the best ideas and methods. Making Best Practice equal – making it ISO.

Of course not everything needs to be standardized. International Standards only address shared challenges and the things that matter most.

So What matters to you? Is it sustainability? Is it growing your business? Or keeping customers happy? On the next ISO Show we’ll look at the 5 most popular standards and why they matter most. Until, then if you’d like to find out more about ISO Standards and the benefits, check out our website To help out the ISO Show:

You’ve worked hard on creating all the necessary policies and procedures, systemised your way of working, informed the workforce and carried out internal audits to verify compliance.  Well done!  The next, and final stage towards achieving ISO certification is the so-called ‘dreaded’ assessment.  However, with the right approach and preparation, you may even enjoy your assessment!  Hard to believe? Read on…….

So what should you expect to happen?

The assessment, regardless of which ISO Standard you are implementing is split into two stages.  The Stage 1 Assessment is quite simply a Document Review.  This is where the assessor will expect to see all the key documented information that the standard requires.  So where the standard states that you ‘shall provide documented procedure/policy for XXXX’, this is what you need to have available i.e. a documented Environmental Policy if your assessment is for ISO 14001.  Make sure you have all of this documentation easily accessible on the day of the assessment.  Otherwise, you will be wasting your time and the assessor’s time if the information isn’t readily available either online (electronic information available on your server/intranet/Sharepoint), or if it’s easier for you, a hard copy (paper version of a Policy document).  It doesn’t matter if it is a hard or soft copy, so long as it is available and meets the requirements of the ISO Standard, and most importantly, your own business requirements.  If you have a small business the Stage 1 Assessment for one ISO Standard is likely to be just the one day. If you have a micro business, some certification bodies offer a remote Stage 1 Assessment, whereby you submit the documentation electronically.

Typically, by mid-afternoon the assessor is likely to be writing up the findings of the assessment, so by the end of the visit you will be provided with a Stage 1 report, which will outline the scope of certification, and the key findings for all the clauses within the standard/s.  The report will highlight any positive aspects of the documentation and will also raise any minor or major non-conformities which you will need to address prior to the Stage 2 Assessment.  Do not be worried to ask questions if some of the terminology may seem rather technical (ISO gobbledegook), your assessor will be happy to explain their findings so that you are clear on the next steps.  You may feel like your question is a bit silly, but don’t worry about this, they are there to ensure that you fully understand the findings and will be happy to explain the findings and recommendations in a slightly different way so it makes sense for your business.

Most Certification Bodies also provide ‘opportunities for improvement’ which can be very helpful in terms of identifying further improvements that can be made within the business.

The Stage 2 Assessment can be carried out anytime up to 3 months after the Stage 1. We would normally recommend booking this approximately 4 – 6 weeks after the Stage 1 Assessment to ensure that you keep the momentum going on continual improvement, yet still have time to address any improvements to your management system that need to be made.

The Stage 2 Assessment is carried out to simply demonstrate compliance that you operate in the way that you say you do in your Management System! In effect it is a ‘show and tell’.

So, for example if you have a procedure for training, you need to prove that it’s working.  How? Show evidence of your records i.e.  your company Training and Skills Matrix or individual training records.   If you have a procedure for internal audits, simply show your Audit Schedule for the year, and the internal audit reports.  It is basically proving how you are running a successful business.  This is your opportunity to shine, enjoy and be proud of your company’s operations – from Leadership to operatives.

If you’ve got a brilliant way of working for sales or operations, great! show it off!  The assessor will be shadowing you and individual process owners to listen, observe and make notes on how you operate your business.  At the end of the visit, they will provide you with a report on their findings and all being well, you will be recommended for certification.  Worst case scenario if there are any major non-conformances at the end of Stage 2, you will be given time to provide a corrective action plan.

At Blackmores I’m proud to say we have a 100% success rate at helping our clients achieving certification, so if the thought of an assessment is still daunting, we can be there to give you a helping hand and act as your ISO ambassador to support the management team if needed.

In my experience, I would estimate that 8 times out of 10 organisations seek to achieve ISO certification to win new business, not necessarily to improve their business – sadly.  So, what is it about ISO Standards that is so attractive to prospective clients?  Why are they like gold dust in certain industries? And in some cases, a pre-requisite to tender?

One of the reasons is that certification to ISO Standards demonstrates credibility and confidence to stakeholders.  What this means is that a business is not just blowing their own trumpet, by saying how marvellous they are, an accredited certification body is independently verifying this against an internationally renowned standard of excellence.  Regardless of which ISO standard is implemented, it is recognised that if a company meets these high standards, they are practising what they preach and have a certificate to prove it.

Once a company is certified, they need to capitalise on the investment they have made (in terms of effort, time, resources and finance) to make the most of the opportunity, particularly when it comes to winning new business.  An ISO Standard can be viewed as a great tool for sales and marketing teams to have in their toolkit. 

If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Some say, ‘it’s only a number, ISO 9001, ISO 14001’……… Well, those numbers add up, and add up to profit if used in the right way.  You should be referencing your ISO Standards (only UKAS Accredited Certifications of course) on your website, thus demonstrating leadership and commitment.  This includes the logo and a message from the CEO/Managing Director.  The ISO Standards logo and information related to your achievement could be referenced in proposals and tenders to give you a better chance of winning the contract.  Many Sales and Marketing Departments find it a blessing to have a well-structured and documented ISO Management System that they can easily extract key tender documents from i.e. Environment Policy, Complaints Procedure, company procedures, Business Continuity Plan, Customer Service KPI’s, plus many more, and therefore, making it easier for a Sales and Marketing Team to showcase why your business is as good as it is.

Some companies use the ISO logo’s on marketing collateral such as brochures, online E-brochures, business cards, newsletters, letterheads and catalogues to give them a competitive edge.  However, it can also be promoted via other visual methods i.e. sign-written vehicles, products, PowerPoint presentations and in-house company signage.

In some industries such as the Construction sector, it is much easier to win and retain valuable clients if you have certain ISO Standards – ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001, or in the Technology sector, the expectation is to have ISO 27001 to ensure data assets are secure.

Where we have seen the greatest advantage for businesses, is where the early adopters embrace a new ISO standard to give them a competitive edge. For example, in 2018 we implemented BS 10012, the new Personal Information standard aligned with GDPR requirements.  More information will follow regarding early adopters and new standards in a forthcoming Blackmores blog.

For a ‘Winning new business with ISO Standards checklist’ please contact

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About Blackmores

Our 7 Steps to Success

The Blackmores ISO Roadmap is a proven path to go from idea to launching your ISO Management System.

Whether you choose to work with one of our isologist consultants or work your own way through the process on our isology Hub, we’re certain you’ll achieve certification in no time!

What our clients have to say

The support and advise I get from our assigned auditors is immense. Forward planning for the following year is great and they are flexible and always willing to help.

Kalil Vandi

“Blackmores have assisted us almost since the start of our adoption of the ISO 9001 quality standard. Their input has improved our processes since the start, and enabled our goal of continuous improvement to be achieved. The people are also extremely easy to get on with, and they really understand our business, giving us a great deal of confidence in their advice.”

David Gibson

Photon Lines Ltd

“Blackmores are the perfect bridge between working on your ISO as an individual or company, to being audited each year.  We find that any queries we have are covered and we feel sure that we have everything as needs be before going into an external audit.”

Mandy Welsby

Jaama Ltd

“We have been extremely impressed with the service and support provided by Blackmores.  There knowledge and assistance through out our ISO journey has been amazing!”

Philip Hannabuss

Dome Consulting

“Blackmores have really kept us on our toes with the broad scope and level of detail they apply to our internal audit schedule. They always stay abreast of ISO standard changes and help us to adapt our processes and documents to embrace these changes accordingly. Having Blackmores shadow our external audits provides invaluable confidence and peace of mind – would highly recommend their services!”

Phil Geens

Kingsley Napley

“Our ISO 27001 certification project has gone so well, that there was no doubt in who we were going to ask to help us with our aspirations of becoming ISO 14001 certified. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with Blackmores, and we are really looking forward to working with them for the foreseeable future.”


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