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Is implementing ISO9001 beneficial for smaller organizations?


In our latest blog, we take a look at the whether ISO9001 is beneficial for SMEs. The ISO9001 international standard for “Quality Management Systems – Requirements” was published by the ISO in 2015 and is based upon the original British standard BS5750. ISO9001 specifies the requirements that your QMS will need to meet in order for your organization to become certified to the standard. According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), more than 900,000 organizations in more than 190 countries are certified to the standard.

Implement ISO9001 for certification image

Is it right for smaller organizations

CertiKit’s Managing Director, Ken Holmes believes so, “As a small business ourselves, we at CertiKit have found that having an ISO9001-certified QMS in place has helped us enormously in focusing our attention on our objectives and being able to base decisions on measured data, rather than rough perceptions.”

The ISO9001 is beneficial for all business sizes and this is reflected in the variety of businesses currently certified to the standard. Some smaller organizations decide to merge some of the supplied documents together so that the total number of documents in the QMS is reduced.

Ken adds, “Smaller businesses are uniquely placed to gain the benefits of ISO9001 quickly, with their shorter decision cycles, fewer employees to train and raise awareness with, and a higher degree of top management commitment.”

There are several benefits of implementing a QMS for smaller businesses. It can help enormously in focusing attention on objectives and being able to base decisions on measured data, rather than rough perceptions.

Other benefits could include:

  • Increased customer trust
  • Continual business improvement
  • Increased business sustainability
  • Understanding critical processes and how they contribute to quality and customer needs

What is the function of the QMS?

The ISO9001 standard proposes that we don’t just need a set of processes; we need a QMS. The function is to wrap itself around the processes and ensure (among other things) that:

  1. We know what it is that the processes are supposed to achieve (objectives)
  2. We have thought about what could go wrong (risk and opportunity assessment)
  3. Everyone knows their part in operating the processes (roles, responsibilities and authorities)
  4. It’s clear that this is the way we do things (leadership and commitment)
  5. We update the processes when things change (management review)
  6. The processes get better over time (continual improvement)

How can the seven quality management principles (QMPs) improve overall business?

  1. Customer focus can help expand customer base and increase business reputation
  2. Leadership will help increase internal communication and create better business coordination
  3. Engagement of people will grow an overall increase in motivation, business understanding and development
  4. Process approach for optimised performance and consistent process outcomes
  5. Improvement for overall improved process performance, organisational capabilities and customer satisfaction
  6. Evidence based decision making will provide an increase in operational efficiency
  7. Relationship management can create a well-managed and stable supply chain for goods and services

Is it right for your business?

We believe implementing ISO9001 is beneficial for smaller businesses. Implementing a quality management system is always a culture change towards becoming more proactive as an organization and, with the day-to-day reactive pressures of delivering a product or service, it can sometimes seem daunting. However, we hope you will find that it’s well worth the effort as you come to the gradual realisation that it’s really the only effective way of doing it. The standard demonstrates that the business is committed to improvement of quality as part of its daily operations to benefit customers, employees and stakeholders.

Editor’s note: The original post was published in May 2019, and updates have been made in April 2022 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

How can CertiKit help with your QMS?

Quality Management is all about understanding the business and its processes with a view to improving them on a continual basis, so if you think implementing QMS best practise and/or certifying to the ISO9001 standard is the right step for your business, we can help!

Our ISO9001 toolkit has all the template documents and guides you need to meet the requirements of the standard easily.

And if you need some extra help, we’ve got that too! Our ISO9001 implementation consultancy and internal auditing services are available for organisations in the UK and EU to give that extra support where you need it most.

Download our free 10 step guide!

Download our free ISO9001: 10 steps to certification guide to learn:

  1. Each step of the process from project planning to the certification audit
  2. Expert tips from the CertiKit team on best practise for easy implementation
  3. Key insights into building a successful QMS

Download free 20-page guide

We’ve helped more than 4000 businesses with their compliance


Each document is not an island, they all interconnect which is something I've struggled with when using other template packs. Well written and generally happy with the structure of the docs. Really appreciate the excel tools.


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