Our decision to become ISO 9001-certified was not reached lightly. Hours of review and planning, careful cost-benefit analysis, integration with corporate strategy, all those elements were not sufficient to reach that decision. Our clients made us do it. Actually just one.
They offered guidance and encouragement, but pithy and to the point. “Either get certified, or get fired.”
So to yet again butcher a quote from Boswell’s Life of Johnson, “Depend upon it, sir, when a vendor knows he is to lose his client in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”
But (and now I am completely serious) I think it’s the smartest move we ever made as a company.
So if you don’t already know what ISO is, I have anticipated your question. I quote Wikipedia:
ISO 9001:2000 Quality management systems – Requirements is intended for use in any organization which designs, develops, manufactures, installs and/or services any product or provides any form of service. It provides a number of requirements which an organization needs to fulfill if it is to achieve customer satisfaction through consistent products and services which meet customer expectations. It includes a requirement for the continual (i.e. planned) improvement of the Quality Management System.
My two favorite parts are
1. To achieve customer satisfaction.
2. Requirement for continual improvement of the Quality Management System.
I think a lot of language service providers go through the motions in order to meet client requirements or for marketing purposes. I have to admit that we began with similar thoughts. But the further we get into ISO, and the more everyone has started to own it, the more -it has transformed our way of doing business. More on this to come.