If you thought that ISO 9001 certification was exclusively a matter for large companies with hundreds of employees, think again. Even very small businesses can benefit from implementing a quality management system (QMS) and gaining ISO accreditation - here are just a few reasons why:
- Stand out from the competition - One of the biggest challenges for any small startup (but especially those in crowded, competitive markets) is establishing a firm industry presence and convincing customers that they will get something from your business that they won't get elsewhere. Working to attain 'ISO 9001 certified' status or small businesses is a great way to stand out from the crowd and demonstrate your exceptional quality to your target audience.
- Win more business - ISO 9001 certification won't just make you a more attractive prospect to potential clients - it will also open up new opportunities that would not have been available to you otherwise. ISO 9001 is a mandatory requirement for many contracts in many different sectors, and if you want those contracts to go to your company, implementing an ISO-compliant QMS is the only way to make it happen.
- Work more efficiently - You might think that a small business with few employees would not need a special management system to get every part of the organisation singing in harmony, but a good QMS can have a big impact regardless of business size. Implementing a QMS that meets ISO 9001 requirements will reduce waste, improve communication, and ultimately boost overall customer satisfaction - all key concerns for a business that's looking to grow.
Contact NPT Management Systems today to find out how our expert ISO consultants can help you to put together a winning QMS and get certified. Be sure to read our Testimonials to find out how we've helped other small businesses to achieve their goals through ISO 9001 status.
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Do you frequently feel overwhelmed by the size of your to-do list? Are you stressed because, no matter how hard you work, there never seem to be enough hours in the day to address everything that needs addressing?
If so, you may just need to adjust your approach to time management. Here are 5 quick tips to help your working day feel like less of an uphill struggle:
- Prioritise! It's unlikely that all the tasks on your to-do list are equally urgent. Identify the most pressing matters and deal with them first before moving on to other things.
- Try to avoid multi-tasking. You might think that you can double your productivity by working on two things at once, but this rarely works as well as we'd like it to - you'll likely work faster and better if you focus on one thing at a time.
- Set time limits for yourself. Try to have a clear idea of how long each task on your list ought to take. Your allowance for each item doesn't necessarily have to be set in stone, but you should find that things get done more quickly when you've already told yourself that each task will only take an hour to complete.
- Don't be afraid to delegate if you can. If you have a team of employees or co-workers on hand, let them help you! It can sometimes be difficult to escape the 'only I can do this right' mindset and relinquish control of a task/project to someone else, but it's important to feel that you can trust your colleagues and allow them to shoulder some of your burden.
- Shut out distractions. You've probably found that many tasks end up taking far longer than they should because your workflow gets interrupted by little things - emails that you feel compelled to answer straight away, breaking news stories that you're keen to check up on, phone calls from clients with questions to ask. Some of these distractions are unavoidable, but if you're serious about managing your time more effectively, you need to do whatever you can to shut them out. Close all tabs that aren't relevant to the task at hand. Ask your colleagues to handle phone calls and emails where possible. And most importantly, forget about the other tasks on your list until you've completed the one you're currently addressing!
NPT Management Systems specialise in helping businesses implement quality management systems that improve efficiency, quality, and customer satisfaction. Contact us for details.
It's said that many hands make light work, but in practice, this is only really true if those hands know how to work together as a team. When they don't, blithely throwing more people at a task may ultimately reduce the efficiency with which that task is completed.
If, as a business owner, you're finding that your staff aren't yet 'clicking' as a team, here are a few quick tips to help you improve this situation:
- Encourage communication. In the modern office, workers often sit at their desks wearing headphones, effectively shutting out everything and everyone around them. While music often helps people to concentrate on the job at hand, you may find that your employees work more effectively as a team when they take their headphones off and actually speak to one another. Teamwork involves communication - it's rarely just a case of dividing up the work and getting on with it individually.
- Make sure everyone knows their role. Every member of a team should have a unique role to play in the work that is to be done. Instead of simply setting several people a task and telling them to sort it out between themselves, begin by sitting everyone down and ensuring that everyone understands what they are supposed to be bringing to the table.
- Maintain an open dialogue and listen to complaints/concerns. It usually takes time for a group of people to gel as a team, so make sure that you're doing whatever you can to help during this process. Check in with your team regularly to ensure that everything is running smoothly, and speak to each individual on a regular basis, listening carefully to any issues they raise. If the team feel that one member isn't pulling his weight, or that another member is trying to micro-manage everybody else's contributions, then you can fix these problems through clear and honest communication.
NPT Management Systems are a team of expert ISO consultants based in the South of England.
We've often spoken about the way in which ISO 9001 certification can instil confidence in consumers and encourage them to purchase from you instead of from your competitors. But this globally-recognised accreditation can also be a huge boon to organisations who rely on B2B (business-to-business) custom. An ISO-accredited quality management system will give your clients a little extra peace of mind when they choose to do business with you, but beyond that, ISO 9001 certification is actually a requirement for many contracts across a variety of different sectors.
Here's just one example. Early in 2016, we helped Gecko Metal Works to implement a new quality management system and achieve that all-important ISO 9001 certification. Gecko provide specialist sheet metal work services such as laser profiling and folding, and now that they are ISO-certified, they are able to bid for lucrative government / military contracts that they were previously locked out of.
ISO 9001 accreditation is a mandatory requirement for many different contracts nowadays, so no matter what industry you're in, we're confident that achieving ISO certification will help you to win new business for your company.
The experienced quality consultants here at NPT Management Systems can help you to get certified, and we can also help with pre-qualification questionnaires - please contact us today to discuss your organisation's requirements.
Handshake image by Flazingo Photos
As more or less anyone who’s ever had a job will testify, joining a new company can be a very daunting experience. The first day tends to be the scariest, but even with that hurdle out of the way, it can still take weeks or even months for a newcomer to really settle in and become integrated with the rest of the team.
Of course, as an employer, it’s very much in your best interest to get each new recruit into the swing of things ASAP. Here are a few tips for helping a new employee to get comfortable with their role and fit in with everyone else:
- Give them a proper welcome. If you’re constantly very busy (as most business owners are), it can sometimes be difficult to find time for a new arrival – many bosses simply tell their new recruits to get stuck right in, possibly asking another staff member to show them the ropes as they go. But it’s better for everyone if you make time to sit down with the new employee on their first day and give them a full briefing: welcome them to the company, explain their role in detail, go over what they will be expected to do during an average day, and encourage them to ask questions if they’re unsure of anything.
- Introduce them to their new colleagues. Don’t just point at everyone and reel off a list of names – call a staff meeting and make sure the newcomer knows who everybody is and understands each person’s role within the organisation. Equally, you’ll want to ensure that your old hands know who the new individual is and what they’re doing here too. This meeting should be held as soon as possible – you may even wish to gather everyone around on the Friday afternoon before the new recruit officially starts work.
- Make yourself available. Your new employee is bound to have a lot of questions on their first day, and more questions will likely arise as they get to grips with the tasks you assign. Make sure you’re around to answer them, or the newcomer will quickly feel disconnected and uncertain about their new role.
- Get them up to speed with any systems you already have in place. This could be anything from an ISO 9001-certified quality management system to the system for taking your lunch break. Any systems, processes or protocols – no matter how informal or self-explanatory they might seem to you – should be explained right away to help the newcomer feel like they’re truly in the loop. Of course, if you do have a formal management system in place, it’s doubly crucial to ensure that the new person is working in the same way and to the same standards as everyone else!
Image by Kanban Tool