Black Country Chamber of Commerce
The Voice of the Local Business Community
Like many Chambers of Commerce, the Black Country Chamber are the voice of their local business community.
Their services and initiative provide a platform of opportunities for businesses across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton to grow, connect and become part of a thriving network, making the Black Country a great place to do business.
Deciding on a route… ISO Certification vs Accredited Certification
We are often asked ‘what’s the difference between ISO Certification and Accredited Certification?’ In principle, the systems are the same, it’s who certificates you and how that’s different. For many businesses, Certification is more than acceptable but occasionally, there are times when a customer trade association of regulatory body may request Accredited Certification.
The Chamber originally implemented UKAS Accredited Certification for their ISO 9001 Quality Management as a contractual requirement. Despite this contract ending, the Chamber decided to continue with their ISO certification because of its benefits in supporting their commitment to “improve the value of our products and services to our Members, and to meeting with the British Chamber, legal and other requirements” but in 2019, opted for the ISO Non-Accredited Certification route instead.
Like many organisations, there were concerns over the amount of time involved and whether it would over complicate things but that wasn’t the case.
One of the biggest benefits seen by the organisation is the reduction and simplification of their previously over complicated paperwork. Karen Jarrett, HR & Administration Officer comments: “we chose to work with ISO Quality Services to simplify our certification. Due to the changes in the standard we don’t have to be so detailed anymore which has reduced the paper work considerably”.
On average, it takes around three years for a management system to fully mature and at that point, over 90% of organisations can recognise the value it brings.
One of the key focuses of any management system and ISO 9001 in particular is ‘continuous improvement’ and like many organisations, the Chamber are continuing to find ways to make improvements. Karen explains: “we are still working on embedding ISO 9001 in to the business and are looking to centralise everything on to one system to ensure that everything is available for everyone”.
On working with ISO Quality Services, Karen comments: “the level of support received has been outstanding. We’ve both reduced and simplified the paper work considerably”.
For anyone considering ISO Certification, Karen advises: “don’t get overly stressed about it and keep it simple. Try to do a little each month so you can keep on top of it”.
Lisa Dancer, assessor of the organisation’s ISO 9001 system, comments, “Congratulations to Karen, Lorna and the rest of the team at the Chamber for their continuing efforts to integrate the information quality management system across all aspects of their organisation.”