How international Standards contribute to SME success managers in 10 countries talk to ISO

10 Good things for SMEs - cover

Issue 30 – August 2011

International Standards provide many benefits for businesses worldwide, but these benefits are not just for big businesses. International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standards can also help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). ISO talked to managers of SMEs in 10 countries about how ISO Standards contribute to their success. The managers, eight of whom are senior executives or owners, are from a variety of businesses in Canada, Sweden, Italy, Austria, Singapore, Kenya, United Kingdom, Spain, Brazil, and New Zealand.

  1. Canada – How Standards help you compete on a level playing field with bigger enterprises
  2. Sweden – Standards open up export markets for your products and services
  3. Italy – Standards help you discover best business practices
  4. Austria – Standards drive efficiency in your business operations
  5. Singapore – Standards add credibility and confidence for your customers
  6. Kenya – Standards open new business opportunities and sales
  7. United Kingdom – Standards give you the competitive edge
  8. Spain – Standards make your brand name internationally recognised
  9. Brazil – Standards help your company grow
  10. New Zealand – Standards enable a common 'language' to be used across an industry sector

1. Canada – How Standards help you compete on a level playing field with bigger enterprises.

Conematic Heating Systems in Canada is a privately owned company and has a long list of certificates verifying its conformity to technical Standards. Conematic has been working towards certification to ISO 9001, the world's most recognised quality management system Standard.

'Canadians tend to be shy,' says Doug Smith, President, Conematic Heating Systems. 'We don't market ourselves well internationally. We don't have the aggressiveness of our foreign competitors. So when we go up against tough competition, we can let our Standards certificate speak for us. It gives us credibility.

2. Sweden – Standards open up export markets for your products and services

Baltic Safety Products is the largest manufacturer of lifejackets and buoyancy aids in Europe.

'The payoff for engaging in Standards work is greater than many small business people realise,' says Per Frode, CEO, Baltic Safety Products. 'Standards are both important and interesting. For a company like Baltic Safety, it's essential to get involved with the working groups so we can get started early with our planning for future designs and production methods. Globalisation means that ISO Standards are key for any company that hopes to succeed in export markets.'

3. Italy – Standards help you discover best business practices

TW_TeamWare is an engineering company based in Milan (Italy) specialising in design and production of electronic devices and systems.

'The high technical level of our activity must be based on a sound methodology, on personnel experience, and on rigorous project management,' says Franco Nava, Owner, TW_TeamWare. 'ISO 9001 and ISO 9004 helped us in building up processes to manage all these aspects coherently and unambiguously from design, up to deployment and customer help, which is deeply appreciated by our national and international customers.'

4. Austria – Standards drive efficiency in your business operations

Scuba Schools Dive Training Ltd is registered in Vienna and specialises in training recreational divers and diving instructors and in producing training materials.

'Without standards I would have had to close down… Not taking part (in standardisation) would have cost me my company and my livelihood… What does it cost me if I do not get involved and others define rules that are out of line with my needs, interests, and experiences, but which I have to comply with because they are laid down in a Standard?', says Martin Denison, Managing Director, Scuba Schools GmbH. 'Hence, it is best to join in right at the start.'

5. Singapore – Standards add credibility and confidence for your customers

Union Services provides customers with the full spectrum of logistics services and solutions to bridge the supply chain to their clients and vendors.

'In addition to achieving higher customer confidence levels and better customer retention, our vendor selection process has also improved,' says P. Sivanesan, Warehouse Manager, Union Services (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. 'For example, potential vendors are invited to make changes to their businesses to be in line with ISO 28000 requirements, such as improving their document control, restricting access to certain areas to authorised personnel only, and enhancing security at their premises by installing CCTV cameras. Only vendors whose business processes are aligned to ISO 28000 will be selected to work with us. This ensures that our customers will receive consistently good service.'

6. Kenya – Standards open new business opportunities and sales

Moselli Industries are manufacturers of quality powder soaps and other cleaning products, and sole distributors of Hyproclean products (Italy) in Kenya.

'The implementation of a quality management system and use of Kenya Standards in my production has resulted in technology transfer, opening of new business opportunities and improved sales of my products,' says Moses Maina, Director, Moselli Industries Ltd. 'I urge small companies to embrace the use Standards in order to upgrade the quality of their products and access both local and export markets.'

7. United Kingdom – Standards give you the competitive edge

MC Fire Protection is an Oxfordshire-based business that supplies and maintains fire safety equipment, and provides fire risk assessments and consultancy services.

'Basically, I was prompted into finding out more about ISO 9001 because many of our competitors were starting to publicise the fact that they complied with it,' says Mike Chilman, Managing Director, MC Fire Protection. 'Now that we can do the same, we are finding that we are attracting lots of business from larger companies that want the reassurance of dealing with a firm that can demonstrate it complies with appropriate Standards. A lot of businesses choose to trade with companies that comply with recognised Standards ahead of those that don't – especially in a trade like ours, where we deal with lifesaving devices.'

8. Spain – Standards make your brand name internationally recognised

Avanzare is a SME supplier of nanomaterials and nanotechnology-based solutions.

'Taking part in standardisation work on nanotechnologies allows our company to have access to standardisation developments,' says Julio Gómez, CEO, Avanzare. 'Furthermore, this gives us opportunity to join in and defend current and future interests of Spanish industry. Participating in both national and international standardisation committees is a key matter for our company. We are in a time of strong international growth and this participation will allow us to adapt our products to future international regulations.'

9. Brazil – Standards help your company grow

Métron Acústica Engenharia e Arquitetura Ltda. is a service provider in acoustics and vibration.

'We have the certainty that the reconnaissance achieved by the Métron Acústica and the growth of our company in these past 8 years are directly bonded to the commitment of always working in compliance with the ISO and ABNT Standards, thus assuring the quality and the satisfaction of our customers', says Eng. Krisdany Vinícius, S. M. Cavalcante, Partner/Technical Director.

10. New Zealand – Standards enable a common 'language' to be used across an industry sector

Construction Information Limited is New Zealand's market leader in providing specification systems and supporting software for the construction industry.

'As the provider of Masterspec construction specification systems, we and our clients use a range of Standards to enable a 'standard' approach to be applied to project design and documentation,' says Rolf Huber, Chief Executive, Masterspec, Construction Information Limited. 'Standards provide a common 'language' for our industry by defining the quality benchmarks that products and building work have to comply with. For our clients' own clients, Standards clearly show that the end product – usually a building project – will meet minimum Standards of health, safety, and performance.'

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