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One of the most common reasons why businesses look to achieve certification is because a client or prospective client is demanding it.  Questions are often asked in tenders such as do you have an Environmental policy? A complaints procedure? Data privacy controls? And of course do you have ISO 9001 (the quality standard)? Or ISO 14001 (the Environmental Management Standard)?

These answers accrue points and when bidding for a contract, the more points you can get the better chance you have of winning that lucrative contract, which could bring your company 1 – 3 years of high value revenue and profit.

So why are ISO Standards, Policies and Procedures mentioned in tenders?

And why should you look to align your business with quality, environmental and risk standards?    

Join Mel on today’s episode as she shares 10 reasons why ISO Standards can help businesses win tenders.

You’ll learn

  • Why are ISO Standards mentioned in Tenders?
  • The difference between accredited and non-accredited certification bodies
  • 10 Reasons why ISO Standards can help to win Tenders


In this episode, we talk about:

[00:55] Based on 17 years of running four businesses relating to ISO standards, Mel estimates that 8 out of 10 businesses that look to achieve certification is because they want to win or retain a client contract.

[01:35] If you’ve got your Policies, Procedures, Standards and systems in place, it does make the whole process of bidding for tenders a lot easier, in addition to giving you a greater chance of winning those tenders.

[02:30] Reason #1: Proof that you have achieved the highest standards – Put yourself in your clients’ shoes – would you rather work with a company that pays lip service to protecting your valuable data? Or that they have over 100 controls to manage your data in the security? (Such as in the Standard for Information Security – ISO 27001)  

One of the main reasons your clients will be looking for your company to be certified to an  ISO as because it demonstrates that you operate your business to the highest global standards.

[04:00] Reason #2: Demonstrates independent 3rd party certification –  This means that its not just you that claims that your business has good health and safety controls in place – an ISO certified business has to prove that its compliant year after year.  Being certified is proof that you practice what you preach and that there is evidence to back this up.

[04:50] Be careful – know the difference between accredited and non-accredited certification – Go back and watch episode 19 to learn more.

[05:45] Reason #3: Recognised across the globe – Passport to trade – When organisations are looking to expand internationally, ISO certification is often a requirement to deliver services or provide products overseas.  This is because ISO Standards are recognised globally as they way businesses should be run.

ISO’s aren’t just passports to trade internationally – they are also passports to trade in certain sectors.  For example in Construction – you aren’t going to get very far in tenders if you don’t have ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environment) and ISO 45001 (Health and Safety).

[08:40] Reason #4 – USP – Many organisations adopt ISO Standards to give them a competitive edge and score more points in a tender.  For example, let’s say you’re bidding for a public sector contract worth £2 million, and they are very keen on their suppliers verifying their carbon footprint and being carbon neutral. It would give you a massive competitive edge if you could prove this and demonstrate evidence, once such way would be to get certified to ISO 14064 (Carbon Verification) and PAS 2060 (Carbon Neutrality). If you’d like to learn more about those Standards, go back and listen to episodes 72 and 73.

Note: PAS 2060 is set to become an ISO in the near future! Keep an eye out for news concerning ISO 14068

[11:55] Reason #5: Risk Management – ISO Standards help to significantly reduce risk.  This is why certified business have lower insurance costs and win more business.  All businesses need effective risk management – even Law Firms.  Over the last few years, we’ve seen more and more law firms achieve certification to ISO 27001 (Info Sec), ISO 27701 (GDPR) and business continuity (ISO 22301).

[13:20] Reason #6: Meeting customer requirements –  The one thing that a client outsourcing services expects as a minimum is that you actually meet their needs. It’s not much to ask is it? Though, you would be surprised how many businesses operate without processes!

ISO Standards help to define what your processes, and provide a blueprint for how you run your business – therefore providing clients with a standardised approach that is repeatable and guarantees high standards of quality products and services time and time again.

[14:30] Reason #7: Reduce ambiguity –  ISO Standards set out very clear specification – Many of them require certain documents that non-certified businesses often don’t have.

One such example is a process for dealing with problems, otherwise known as ‘Non-conformities’ in the ISO world. Businesses shouldn’t just bury their heads in the sand, they should have a system in place to log issues / customer complaints, rectify the issue and put preventative measures in place to prevent a recurrence.

[16:05] Reason #8: Industry specific standards –  Certain ISO Standards prove that you meet the highest quality best practice standards for your industry.

Not every industry has specific ISO Standards – but an example of this may be an events company that wants to stand out by being sustainable. ISO 20121 (Sustainable Event Management) would give them a huge advantage over competitors.

[17:10] Reason #9: Competent personnel with clear accountability and responsibility –  ISO Standards do stipulate that you have people that actually know what they’re talking about, in some cases, for businesses that don’t have ISO’s, this can be a bit of a steep learning curve.

If you’re looking to gain some basic competency in ISO Standards – check out our online learning platform, the isologyhub.

[18:10] Reason #10: Gives assurance to clients for a period of 3 years – ISO Standards are continuously maintained over a 3-year cycle.  It’s not a case of passing an assessment then waving goodbye to the systems you’ve got in place to run the business. 

You have to prove continued compliance through annual surveillance audits, and recertify after 3 years.

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Kingsley Napley

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