The ISO standardization system is more than half a century old: an agreement to coordinate efforts in the development of industrial standards was signed in 1946. Today it has 21,000 standards that cover almost all aspects of business and technology. The International Organization for Standardization (IOS – International Organization for Standardization), which includes partners from 165 countries, is responsible for their development and implementation. The system was created to facilitate the international exchange of goods and services and cooperation in the scientific, technological, and economic spheres.
The most famous line of standards is ISO 9000. In general terms, it is a consensus of the organization’s members on the management practices in production that are necessary to ensure the proper quality of goods.
ISO 9001 was developed in 1984 and has been revised four times: in 1994, 2000, 2008, and 2015. Today it has been examined by more than one million organizations worldwide.
In November 2017, ECOPAN completed the certification process, which began back in August and received ISO 9001:2015 certification. About what motivated the company, how the whole process took place, and about the life of the company after receiving the ISO 9001 certificate we will talk with the top management of the company.
In Ukraine ISO 9001 certification is not obligatory. But many companies strive to obtain this certificate for several reasons. What motivated your company?
Olga Romanenko, ECOPAN General Director: A company complying with the standard follows certain norms and rules in the organization of technological and business processes that guarantee the established quality of a product or service. First of all, it is a signal to consumers all over the world that the company complies and fulfills the requirements defined by international standards for the quality management system. This is a whole new level of trust. ISO is not an acronym. The name comes from the Greek “isos”, which means “equal”.
2.A higher level of trust is certainly a good thing, but the certification procedure itself requires some effort and money. What economic effect do you expect?
Olga Romanenko: You are right, to obtain the certificate, we had to systematize all our works into the quality management system. It was necessary to prepare documentation, deal with requirements, write the project, hire a consultant, set the system, and pass the examination in a licensed organization. Naturally, this is a significant time and financial cost. But in our case, this is an investment that is already paying off. So, at the end of November, we received a certificate, and at the end of December, we completed the construction of our first house in Europe (Germany). The fact is that our strategic plan for 2018 is active work in the European market, and for European customers, the documents confirming the company’s expertise can play a key role. By the way, Ukrainian customers are no less demanding and tend to choose the best. For such customers, the presence of an ISO certificate is like a “beacon”.
3. So, the ISO certificate was necessary for the company to start working on the international market?
Olga Romanenko: Yes, it is one of the reasons why we were certified. But besides it, there are other, particularly intra-organizational, benefits that we feel today. For example, standardization and optimization of work processes allowed us to simplify some chains with simultaneous quality improvement, the level of trust within the company has increased, and with the opening of new directions, we feel more involved in our work.
4.The entire certification process took you 4 months? This is a record-breaking short period. On average it takes from 6 months to one and a half years to get certified. How did you manage to do it?
Olga Romanenko: You are right, 4 months is really fast and unexpected even for us. At the very beginning, we ordered the audit of internal business and production processes of ECOPAN to assess our strength and readiness for changes. The result is something we are very proud of. It showed that we were already 80% compliant. It only remained to refine the system, to bring it to a common denominator, so to speak, and to conduct training for all participants.
We would like to thank Olga for telling us about the details of the certification process! We wish our company success and prosperity!