Benefits for small business

3 November 2006

‘S TA N D A R D S – BIG BENEFITS for small business’, is the 2006 World Standards Day message. Celebrated on October 14, the day raises awareness of the importance of international standardisation to the world economy and celebrates the collaborative efforts of thousands of volunteers worldwide, who contribute to Standards development.

Small business could claim to be the world’s biggest business – it is estimated that more than 95 per cent of the world’s businesses are small to medium sized. The benefits of using Standards within a small business include: improved customer confidence, access to new markets, less resource wastage, increased internal productivity and improved risk management.

Standards help to ensure that New Zealand products and services are accepted in the global marketplace and provide practical solutions to many challenges faced by small businesses in today’s global markets. Standards New Zealand celebrated World Standards Day with a forum held in Wellington on 13 October, examining the use of Standards by New Zealand small businesses.

“Small businesses apply the same ‘what’s in it for me’ measure to the adoption of Standards as they do to implementing any changes in their business,” says Roger Wigglesworth, Director SMEs, Ministry of Economic Development. In his forum address, ‘use of Standards by New Zealand small business – why and why not’, Roger said, “to be accepted, a Standard needs to have a positive influence on the bottom line, be flexible enough to embrace the realities of the SME’s existing operations, and be capable of being implemented without the owner/manager having to take their eye off the day-to-day operations of the firm.”

Standards ‘Passport to Trade’ for Palliser Estate
New Zealand’s Palliser Estate exports a global wine brand to 18 countries. In their recipe for success, international Standards are an essential ingredient. As the first winery in New Zealand to be accredited with the quality management systems Standard (ISO 9001) in 1994, Managing Director Richard Riddiford says “ISO 9001 has helped us examine and document everything.” Richard describes ISO 9001 as a necessary discipline, which forces you to improve business processes.

A few years later, Palliser was the first winery in the world to adopt the international environmental management Standard (ISO 14001), which aims to minimise harmful effects on the environment. “Complying with the Standard is our passport to trade,” says Richard. “With more than half our products exported, this is essential.” Richard admits that implementing a new Standard can be time-consuming, but in the long run it saves time and makes running a business a lot easier.