Sme brochure 2009


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Sme brochure 2009

  1. 1. The small business guide to standardsraising standards worldwide™Good for business
  2. 2. ContentsTen thingsstandards can dofor your business2. How standards make the difference4. Standards made simple5. Find the right standards for you6. Safeguarding the future: sustainability standards7. If the worst happens: business continuity standards8. Innovate to accumulate: innovation standards9. At your service: services standards10. Flying a kite for quality: Corintech11. From the ground up: Celtic12. Safe and secure: Sapphire13. Selling surgical success: MCS Medical14. Setting firm foundations: Jane Wernick Associates15. Fighting fire with fire: MC Fire Protection16. Get certification18. Set your standards – and win new business19. Sell your standard to new customers20. About BSI20. Find out more
  3. 3. Good for business – www.bsigroup.com2The benefits of standards look impressive on paper.But do they really deliver those benefits to small firms?How standards make the differenceIf someone were to tell you that you canmake your business more efficient, improvethe quality of your products and services, winnew customers and boost that all-importantbottom line, you would want to know more.Using standards can do all these things forsmall firms.At the most basic level, standards are simplyapplying tried and tested best practice to yourbusiness. They encourage you to focus on theproducts or services you deliver, the businessprocesses you follow and the way youmanage your business as a whole.They do this by providing a practical frameworkfor you to examine, review and continuouslyimprove any area of your business. You canfollow this best practice informally or choose toget outside confirmation from a recognizedcertification body.But however you approach standards, theycan – and do – provide solid benefits forfirms like yours.Simon Macaulay is managing director ofAnglo Recycling Technology, a Rochdale-based manufacturer of insulation, carpetunderlay and felt products from recycled andwaste fibres. Trading for seventy years, thebusiness employs 30 people and has beenworking with standards for over a decade.“Around twelve years ago we signed upto ISO 9001 – the quality managementstandard. We comply with this to ensure weachieve consistently high standards and togive added assurance about the quality ofour goods,” says Simon.According to him, there are number of areasof Anglo Recycling Technology that have seentangible benefits from the introduction ofstandards.
  4. 4. Driving efficiency andimproving qualityUsing the ISO 9001 standard has enabledAnglo Felt to improve the efficiency of itsbusiness and consequently to raise productquality.“Perhaps the biggest way in which ISO 9001has affected our operations is that we startedto keep a log of any complaints aboutquality,” Simon explains. “It helps customersatisfaction, and knowing what our customerswant in qualitative terms means we can makea continual assessment of how we areperforming as a business.”There is a more fundamental benefit, too,he says. “In my opinion, many small firmscan be quite disorganized, so introducingstandards helps to improve the structureof the business.”Win new customerswith standardsUsing a formal standard like ISO 9001, anddeciding to have it independently certified,has marketing benefits as well.“Once you’ve introduced a standard into yourbusiness, it’s important to publicize the fact,”Simon stresses. “We put the informationabout our standards into our letterheadsbecause it makes a statement to existingand potential new customers about ourcommitment to quality.”This is particularly useful when pursuing newbusiness. “I think it’s quite hard to dobusiness in certain areas without standards.We’re trying to meet more standards all ofthe time, because this can open the door tonew markets where the margins are higher,”he says.Good for business – 3“ We’re trying to meet more standards all ofthe time, because this can open the door tonew markets where the margins are higher ”Simon Macaulay, Anglo Recycling Technology
  5. 5. Good for business – www.bsigroup.com4Standards made simpleEvery ambitious business strives for quality,consistency, efficiency and best practice.Standards will help ensure your business isgetting the best results and show you howto keep improving. But you can choose howstructured you want to make the process.Formal and informalstandardsInformal standards can be as straightforward ashaving company guidelines on how phone callsshould be answered, or following your tradeassociation’s code of practice. They are essentialif you want to achieve specific objectives andcan be easily managed in-house.Formal standards - which most people think ofwhen ‘standards’ are mentioned - go a stagefurther by setting out criteria agreed withinyour industry. They draw together bestpractice from industry experts, governmentrepresentatives, testing and certificationorganizations, academics, consumer groups,trade unions and most importantly businesses.The result is a document that shows thisagreed best practice. You can buy it, readit and apply it to relevant areas of yourbusiness. The price of standards varies, butis likely to be more cost-effective than youthink. In fact, if you consider the businessbenefits of applying the standard, it could offersome of the best value for money your businesscan get.With formal standards, you can also use testingor certification services from respected thirdparties. This gives independent proof to yourcustomers and suppliers that you are meetingor exceeding best practice.What formal standardscan coverFormal standards can cover your goods orservices and specific parts of how you create,manage and deliver them to meet customers’needs. Or they can focus specifically on thequality management systems that you have inplace underpinning your business.Whatever you want to show your customersand suppliers that you do, there is probably astandard that covers it. There are more than30,000 formal British standards.Some people think standards are only for big business or involve significantcosts. Not true – standards are what you choose to make them.Names and numbersEach formal standard has a unique number and a prefix which shows where thestandard applies. British Standards have the prefix ‘BS’, while European standards carrythe ‘EN’ prefix. International standards are preceded by the letters ‘ISO’ or ‘IEC’.Standards can be a combination of British, European and international: the threeprefixes in ‘BS EN ISO 9001’ show that this standard is simultaneously an international,European and British Standard.
  6. 6. If you take a methodical approach and thinkabout what you want your business to achieve,it should be easy to find the best standard tohelp you do it. Begin by talking to your tradeassociation to find out if there are any essentialrequirements or recommended standards inyour sector.Check out the competitionWhich parts of your business could youimprove to give you a more competitive edge?Perhaps raising service levels will attract morecustomers – or maybe you would like to see areduction in the returns rate of your product.If you are in a marketplace where yourcompetitors are already using standards, it iscrucial to see which ones they are using, andwhy. Would you get a competitive boost fromadopting the same standard – or do you wantto outstrip your competitors? Using a standardthat proves you are doing something yourcompetitors cannot could reap big benefits.Consider your customersWhat’s going to impress your currentcustomers, or spark interest among potentialcustomers? Make sure you know what mattersto your customers so you can find a standardthat will help you address their needs moreeffectively.Bear in mind, too, that obtaining certificationto a standard could provide opportunities totender for contracts or join supply chains thatwould otherwise be closed to you. If you arepart of a supply chain where standards areused throughout, you can be sure that yourproducts, processes and technology are goingto be compatible with the businesses thatsupply you through to your customers laterin the chain.Take the next stepOnce you have identified the areas of yourbusiness that would benefit from theapplication of standards, you can find thestandards, publications and guidance on theBSI website at or call BSI on 020 8996 9001.Good for business – 5Find the right standards for youIdentifying the most suitable standards is easy ifyou know what you want your business to achieve
  7. 7. Good for business – www.bsigroup.com6More of your customers are casting a serious eye to the future. Usingsustainability standards – which cover the economic, social and environmentalimpacts of your business – can show them that you’re exactly the type of firmthey want to do business withBusinesses do not exist in isolation. Theiractions have far wider consequences and thisresponsibility should be taken seriously. It isbecoming clear that people prefer to buy frombusinesses with sound environmental, socialand ethical credentialsUsing environmental standards can help you tounderstand and improve your environmentalimpacts. This can win you new customers,reduce your costs significantly and increaseyour efficiency and profitability. Standards canalso help you to be a sustainable business, onethat makes good use of resources rather thanwasting them, which can provide sizeable costbenefits.Environmental management standardISO 14001 enables businesses to limittheir environmental impact.“We introduced ISO 14001 in 2002 and it’sbeen great for our business,” says Phil Sudwell,managing director for Park Lane Press, based inCorsham, Wiltshire. The 18-strong, award-winning company provides bespoke printing forclients that include The National Trust and theEnvironment Agency.“Printing can be environmentally damaging,but we do everything we can to limit ourpaper, ink and plate waste,” he continues.“Following the procedures outlined inISO 14001 has enabled us to monitor ourenvironmental impact much more closely.”Park Lane’s monitoring shows, for example,that the firm has reduced its water use by half.Between 2006 and 2007 they cut the quantityof solvents they use by 20 per cent. They haveswitched to cleaner soya-based inks and thecompany is now working towards becomingcarbon neutral by 2011.Phil stresses that they use the standard toensure there is commitment to environmentalresponsibility in every area of the business.“We cover environmental responsibilities aspart of our staff reviews and train everyone inISO 14001.“We also vet our suppliers, train our driversto drive in a ‘greener’ way and encouragecustomers to ask us about environmentally-friendly alternatives. Green printing nowaccounts for about 30 per cent of ourbusiness.”Their commitment has attracted strong PR andhigh-profile customers. “We’ve always beenconscious of our environmental impact,” Philexplains. “But monitoring it to such an extenthas reduced our costs, improved our work andincreased our revenues. We’ve even hadeducational visits from the local school so thatwe could talk to business studies students aboutworking with an environmental managementsystem.”Safeguarding the future: sustainability standards
  8. 8. Good for business – 7A major unexpected incident can cripple any business. But using businesscontinuity standards can at least provide reassurance to you – and yourcustomers – that in the event of a disaster, your essential businessoperations can continueImagine disaster were to strike your business.It could be a fire gutting your premises or aserious flood, similar to those experienced inthe summer of 2007, which signalled thedemise of many small firms all over the country.Or someone could vandalize your premises orhack into your IT system and delete importantinformation. You or another key member ofthe team might become ill or one of yourproducts or services could harm a customer.What would you do? If you don’t know, youare not alone. Surprisingly few small firms inthe UK have business continuity plans(perhaps as few as a third, according to theChartered Management Institute: see below),even though they can providea critical ‘lifeline’ when things go wrong.Continuity is not just an issue for largerorganizations; in fact, most smaller businesswould not survive a major disruption withouta firm continuity plan. Believing that ‘It won’thappen to me’ is unwise. It might.Standards can play an important role inhelping you to stay afloat should seriousdisruption occur. They can guide you throughthe process of identifying risks and devisingaction plans to enable you to weather thestorm and get up and running quickly.Standards will also ensure you safeguardstakeholders, your brand and your reputation.BS 25999 is the first British Standard forbusiness continuity management (BCM).By helping managers to put in place a basicBCM system, BS 25999 enables businesses toremain operational no matter how difficult thecircumstances.BS 25999 comes in two parts, both of whichare supported by an online tool. These are:• Best-practice recommendations• A specification for an effective BCM system,against which you can demonstratecompliance via certification by anindependent third party.It is wise to identify risk and formulate aplanned response now – you never knowwhen disaster might strike.Sign up to the latest BCM Newsletterat crunchingAccording to the Chartered Management Institute’s Business Continuity ManagementSurvey 2009, only 52 per cent of 1012 respondent organizations had a specific businesscontinuity plan, although 64 per cent regarded one as very important. In the previous 12months, more than 40 per cent had been seriously affected by loss of informationtechnology; while key people had left 24 per cent and 23 per cent had sufferedtelecommunication breakdown. Some 30 per cent were affected by extreme weather. Thereport suggested that smaller businesses were less likely to be able to function remotelyfollowing serious disruption – only a quarter are thought to have business continuity plans.If the worst happens: business continuity standardsDownload the BS 25999-2 links for BusinessContinuity Management
  9. 9. Good for business – www.bsigroup.com8Innovate to accumulate: innovation standardsCreative thinkingAnother major consideration is the management of innovation itself. Guidance andsupport on the recognition, fostering and development of innovation with regard tonew or existing products, services and techniques can be found in standards such asthe ‘Guide to managing innovation’ (BS 7000-1).Some believe standards mean everything is the same, and so hinder innovation.That’s not the case at all – in fact, standards in their many forms are some ofthe most valuable tools for innovative small firms, as they can keep you at theforefront of fresh practicesFew sectors can rival mobiletelecommunications for innovation, with newfunctions arriving with impressive regularity. Yetmost of these new products are able to workalongside others. Standardization makes thispossible for most of the world’s mobile phones.Standards are used during the research anddevelopment (R&D), design and testing ofmobile phones and a wide range of otherproducts. They remove the time and cost ofstarting from scratch and enable products toget to market quicker so developers can recouptheir costs sooner.The common understanding supplied bystandards even enables innovators to worktogether and share R&D costs. This managedtechnological development is good forcustomers, who will pay less for a wider rangeof compatible products in the marketplace.John Mosesson is chief executive of Suffolk-based Stramit International. Aided byBS 4046, the specification for compressedstraw building slabs, his business enablescustomers from all over the world to set upstrawboard manufacturing plants. In someregions, this provides a vital source ofaffordable and sustainable housing.“Some businesses might fear that workingwith standardization will act as a barrier toinnovation – but this is not our experience,”he says. “Some standards provide guidanceon how to manufacture a product, but otherssimply state levels of performance a productor service must meet.”Although set up in 1945, Stramit’s use ofrecycled straw to make panels for screens,walls, roofing, partitions and doors is stillconsidered innovative. “We were ahead of ourtime in designing sustainable, recyclable andenergy-saving products and processes,” Johnobserves.“We’re the only company ever to manufacturestrawboard in the UK, so the standard we workwith – BS 4046 – has become synonymouswith Stramit. But in other parts of the world,it provides a benchmark our clients can use toproduce strawboard that meets strictperformance criteria.”Stramit even played a role in developing thestandard. “You could be forgiven for thinkingthat helping to develop a standard requiresdisclosing your intellectual property, but it didn’t.“BS 4046 doesn’t actually reveal how wemanufacture our products, it simply sets outcharacteristics such as strength and level offire resistance that must be reached if othermanufacturers want to claim compliance.Innovative businesses such as ours are nothindered by standards. They can enablebusinesses to make the most out of their ideas.”
  10. 10. 9Satisfaction guaranteedAvailable from BSI, BS ISO 10001 and BS ISO 10003 are part of a group of customersatisfaction standards. Used alongside BS ISO 10002: 2004, ‘Guidelines for complaintshandling in organizations’, they enable businesses to put in place effective systems fordealing with customer satisfaction – from complaint prevention and handling throughto dispute resolution.Good for business – www.bsigroup.comIt’s not simply technical issues that standards support – increasinglystandards can prove to your customer base that you’re taking a leadin customer service.At your service: services standardsResearch conducted by BSI on customer servicesuggests that more than 60 per cent of usbelieve customer service in the UK is gettingworse. More than 70 per cent have taken ourcustom elsewhere as a result, while more thanhalf of us have not been satisfied with how acomplaint was handled.Keeping customers happy makes good businesssense. Estimates vary, but attracting a newcustomer could cost up to six times as much asselling to an existing customer. Firms with areputation for customer service have a valuablecompetitive advantage that can make winningnew business significantly easier.As well as ‘universal’ standards such asBS ISO 10001 and BS ISO 10003, there aresector-specific standards that enable business ofall sizes to ensure their services are world-class.Quality standard BS ISO 22222, for example,specifies the ethical behaviour and competenceof professional financial planners. Use of thestandard has raised service levels significantly inthis fragmented market, as well as establishingan international benchmark that goes beyondregulatory requirements.“With the exception of my degree,BS ISO 22222 is the qualification that hasadded the most value to my business,”says Keith Churchouse of Guildford-basedChurchouse Financial Planning Ltd, specialistin pensions and retirement planning.“It’s at the coalface where British Standardswin every time – and BS ISO 22222 has alot of resonance in the market. It givescustomers added confidence in the business’scompetence, experience and ethics.”The key concern for those seeking financialadvice is reliability of information provided.“Ours is a people business,” Keith adds.“The standard functions as a badge of trust.”Keith’s wife and fellow company director,Esther, also recognizes the benefits ofstandardization. “The quality of our existingprocesses was already very high, which meantachieving the standard happened almostimmediately,” she explains.“However, in some areas we were able to raisethe bar just that little bit higher, which hasenhanced our customer service and increasedcustomer satisfaction levels, too. We’recommitted to providing our customers withthe best financial planning advice, service andsupport – the standard helps us to achieve this.”
  11. 11. Good for business – www.bsigroup.com10Flying a kite for quality“We have no standard products of our own –everything we make is bespoke. Our workincludes such things as internal and externalaircraft lighting. We also do a lot of work forthe sensor industry, as well as the military andmedical sectors.“We were an early adopter of ISO 9001. Therewere two reasons why, and these are still truetoday. Firstly, it makes us look at our ownsystems and how we handle manufacturing andclient feedback. The other is that, to the worldoutside, it shows we are a competent andprofessional company.“For many years, we have also complied withthe IPC-A-610D standard, which relates tosoldering, assembly and manufacturingprocesses.“When BSI began offering a Kitemark schemefor the standard in 2004, we decided to apply.We did this primarily for marketing purposesand because the Kitemark is an internationallyrecognized symbol of quality.“The Kitemark we have demonstrates thatour products are suitable for use in situationswhere downtime can’t be tolerated, such aslife-support systems.“Although I can’t quantify the exact value toour business of choosing to be certified to allof these standards, we have definitely woncontracts on the back of this and more thanrecouped the cost of certification. In fact, acustomer recently told us that they wouldn’tdo businesses with a company that didn’t holdproduct quality marks.“Because we want to promote the fact thatwe work to high standards, we use the relevantsymbols on our letterheads, business cards,invoices and website.“I would advise any manufacturing business toconsider certification to the marks and schemesfor their sector. Not only does it boost theconfidence you have in your own company, italso brings tangible benefits, including helpingto attract new clients.”For more information on the Kitemarkvisit www.kitemark.comDean James is sales and marketing director at Corintech, a Hampshire-basedelectronics company that designs and manufactures bespoke electronic circuits.The company has certification to ISO 9001:2000 and the aerospace-specificBS EN 9100:2003. It also complies with the IPC-A-610D standard, which relatesto the quality of its soldering, assembly and manufacturing processes and holdsa Kitemark based on this standardThe Kitemark is a product or servicecertification mark that shows it has beentested independently and audited to ensureit meets the appropriate standards of qualityand safety. It is a registered trademark ofBSI (The British Standards Institution).What is a Kitemark®?
  12. 12. Good for business – 11From the ground up“Our company has been running since 1993,but we only decided to introduce OHSAS18001 a few years ago. We already had ISO14001 and ISO 9001 and thought the OHSAS18001 health and safety standard would sitwell alongside them.“One of the main reasons we decided tointroduce OHSAS 18001 is because it is lookedon very favourably in our industry. We alsobelieve in the concept of total quality andmaking sure everything we do as a businessis right – not just our products and services.“Because we had already implementedISO 14001 and ISO 9001, we found it veryeasy to bring OHSAS 18001 into the business.In many ways, it was just a case of formalizingthings we did already and then checking thatthey were correct.“Having the standard in place plays animportant role when we are bidding for workand it has almost certainly brought us newbusiness. When we tender for contracts I’msure we gain points because we comply with allthree, as well as having our Investors in Peoplerecognition.“The other thing standards have allowed us todo is work with greater consistency. They helpwhen training new employees, because theyprovide established measures for staff membersto follow.“Once we had implemented OHSAS 18001,we decided to bring in an outside auditor sowe could become registered. This allows us toput a logo on our letterheads for example, toshow our compliance has been assessed andcertified. Our customers have the say-so of athird party – they don’t just have to take ourword for it.“Getting audited also brings a fresh pair ofeyes to the way things are being done withinyour business. The auditor can often make veryconstructive comments.”For the latest Health and SafetyNewsletter Bates is Operations Director at Celtic, a remediation contractor forbrownfield sites. The Cardiff-based company employs 47 people and hasintroduced ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and the OHSAS 18001 health and safetymanagement standard. Andrew explains how OHSAS 18001 benefits CelticTechnologiesAn assessment specification foroccupational health and safety (OH&S)management systems that helps firms todemonstrate that they meet OH&Sobligations. It is compatible with ISO 9001and ISO 14001.Satisfaction guaranteed
  13. 13. Good for business – www.bsigroup.com12Safe and secure“As well as complying with the standardourselves, we advise other firms on achievingcompliance with, or certification to,BS ISO/IEC 27001. It helps companies todevelop information security managementsystems, by covering such factors as the humanelement and disaster recovery.“Organizations realize that threats to thesecurity of the information they hold is one ofthe fastest growing business issues. Continuousmonitoring is now a necessity and a culture ofsecurity is vital for organizations to survive inthe modern business world.“Our methodology is based on BS ISO/IEC 27001.Compliance with this standard is becoming anincreasing requirement from our customers. AsSapphire works predominantly in the public sector,certification to BS ISO/IEC 27001 demonstratesthat we adhere to industry best practice.“We decided it would be a good idea to getcertified to prove to our clients that our ownsystems were secure. It also gives us theconfidence that our systems are functioningin the way they should.“Introducing the standard brought usimmediate financial benefits. Since weachieved certification we have won some ofour largest deals. Following BS ISO/IEC 27001has also enabled us to develop many excellentprocedures, as well as helping us to changethe culture within the organization to ensurethat all our employees have a responsibleattitude to information security.“The standard itself isn’t just for informationtechnology firms – any business can benefitfrom it. Compliance also enables businessesto meet legal requirements, such as dataprotection regulations and the Freedomof Information Act.“Sapphire was one of the first organizations inEurope to certify to the new BS ISO/IEC 27001.As a business, we publicize this fact whereverwe can, because we are very proud of it.“For the latest Information SecurityNewsletter is a leading independent provider of information-security solutions.Based in the north of England, with offices in London and Scotland, thecompany is certified to the international security standard, BS ISO/IEC 27001.Sapphire’s Sales Manager, David Horn, outlines some of the benefits thatusing the standard provides to the business and its customersBS ISO/IEC 27001 is the internationalstandard for establishing, operating andmaintaining an information securitymanagement system, whether electronic orpaper-based. It gives best-practice adviceabout information-security management,to ensure business continuity, minimizedamage and maximize return oninvestments.What is BS ISO/IEC 27001?
  14. 14. Good for business – 13Selling surgical success“When our parent company, MachineComponent Systems, was in the process ofdiversifying, we carried out a lot of marketresearch. One thing we realized was that weneeded more of a medical profile. You can’tsell a bone screw to an orthopaedic surgeonjust as an engineered part. You need to sell itas they see it – a product that will makesomeone better.“We also realized that, without the medicaldevices standard BS EN ISO 13485, we mightnot be able to attract the type of customers wewanted to reach. As a business we are tryingto sell to a number of major, world-classcompanies. I am confident that they wouldn’teven sit down at the table with us if we didn’tuse the standard.“When such businesses procure, they have tostart with a list of questions and one of those iswhether the company they are consideringmeets BS EN ISO 13485. Through our compliancewith this standard, we are allowing them totick another box.“The standard itself is all about inspiringconfidence. It allows anyone who buys from usto see an audit trail that shows where each parthas come from. It shows where we bought it,where it was made and from which material. Italso means that if ever there is a problem witha particular part, we can trace where thishappened.”For the latest Healthcare Newslettervisit Gray is sales director of MCS Medical, a Worcestershire-basedbusiness that manufactures surgical implants and medical components suchas bone screws and pins. MCS Medical was set up as an offshoot ofautomotive precision engineers, Machined Component Systems. Warrenexplains why BS EN ISO 13485:2003 continues to be important in gainingthe trust of the marketIt specifies requirements for qualitymanagement systems for companies thatneed to show they can provide medicaldevices and related services thatconsistently meet regulatory and customerrequirements.What is BS EN ISO 13485:2003?
  15. 15. Good for business – www.bsigroup.com14Setting firm foundations“The business was set up in 1998. I alreadyknew that standards were essential, because I’dused them throughout my career.“When you design a structure you need toassess the loads and work out how big thecolumns and beams need to be. This requiresus to refer to the standards we use on a dailybasis. While we were working on the YoungVic Theatre in London, for example, we useda British Standard to determine the wind loadsand live loads.Live loads are non-permanent loads that movearound; they include such things as people andsnow. We also used British Standards forconcrete and structural timber. We also appliedstandards for all of the other materials we used.“We carry out calculations that are submittedfor approval to our local council’s buildingcontrol department. We’re obliged to followbest practice, so a checking engineer will usestandards to make sure that we are doing this.“Although the standards we follow aren’tregulations, they do help us to meet our legalobligations. They’re also helpful because theyrepresent the accumulation of knowledge andexperience gathered by industry.“Sometimes we might design a structure thatdoesn’t fit the guidance given in a standard.But, ultimately, we’re responsible for makingsure it is safe and strong enough. If somethinggoes wrong and you haven’t followed therelevant standards you might be accused ofnot following best practice.“We sometimes have to buy new standardsbefore we start a new contract or type of work.If I don’t already know which one might beneeded, I ask our librarian for advice. Whenthe standards we already use are updated,we usually find out through the Institutionof Structural Engineers’ magazine.“When we buy a new standard, the memberof our staff who will be using it reads itthrough to check they understand everything.When clarification is needed, we might contactthe Institution of Structural Engineers’representative on the BSI technical committeeresponsible for that particular standard.Alternatively, we phone one of the otherstructural engineers we know to discuss it.”For the latest Construction Newslettervisit Wernick is director of Jane Wernick Associates, a consulting structuralengineering company based in London. The firm, which now has sixemployees, follows around 30 standards in the course of its day-to-daywork. Jane explains why standards are essential to her companyIt gives recommendations for thestructural use of concrete in buildingsand structures, excluding bridges andstructural concrete made with highalumina cement.What is BS 8110?
  16. 16. Good for business – 15Fighting fire with fire”In 2001, soon after the business started, webought a number of standards used in the fireprotection industry.“These are BS 5839, which relates to firealarms, BS 5306, which relates to fireextinguishers, and BS 5588, a standard thatconcerns building regulations. Then, in 2004,we decided that we could also benefit fromcompliance with ISO 9001.“The fire safety related standards we use allowus to give our clients the right advice when weassess them or when they buy products fromus. For example, by referring to our copy ofBS 5306, we can tell which fire extinguishers acustomer needs, how many they need, wherethey should be placed and how often theyshould be serviced and maintained.“Basically, I was prompted into finding outmore about ISO 9001 because many of ourcompetitors were starting to publicize the factthat they complied with it. Now that we can dothe same, we are finding that we are attractinglots of business from larger companies thatwant the reassurance of dealing with a firmthat can demonstrate it complies withappropriate standards.“A lot of businesses choose to trade withcompanies that comply with recognizedstandards ahead of those that don’t – especiallyin a trade like ours, where we deal with life-saving devices.“On a practical level, ISO 9001 has madepositive changes to the business. For example,it has improved the way our workshop andstorage areas are organized and has systemizedthe way we keep records.“All the standards we apply have brought usextra reassurance. They help us to show thatwe’re more professional, while our customersare assured that the services we provide arehigh quality.“I would recommend standards to otherbusinesses operating in the fire protectionindustry – in fact, it’s becoming more and moreof a necessity. One thing that can be extremelyuseful, especially to small firms, is bringing inoutside expertise to help with theimplementation of a standard. That is what wedid and found it very beneficial – and it wasn’tas expensive as we’d thought.”For the latest Fire Safety Newslettervisit Chilman is managing director of MC Fire Protection. The Oxfordshire-based business, which employs five people, supplies and maintains fire safetyequipment and provides fire risk assessments and consultancy services. As wellas complying with several standards specific to the fire protection industry, MCFire Protection is ISO 9001-registered. Mike explains whyBS 5839 is a code of practice for thesystem design, installation, commissioningand maintenance of fire detection and firealarm systems for buildings. BS 5306 is acode of practice for the inspection andmaintenance of portable fire extinguisherson premises.What are BS 5839and BS 5306?
  17. 17. Good for business – www.bsigroup.com16One of the best sales and marketing benefits ofthird-party certifiable standards is that they canprovide you with independent verification, ifyou need it, that your business is meeting orexceeding them.This means that customers and otherbusinesses in your supply chain don’t just haveto take your word for it. The validation byrespected, independent bodies can provideassurance to customers and boost yourreputation. If your business tenders forcontracts, you will probably be in a strongerposition than a competitor if your firm’scompliance with standards can be verifiedand theirs cannot.Getting certificationNot all standards have an associatedcertification scheme. If a standard you choosedoes have one, however, you will have todecide whether your business will benefit fromcertification. Will customers be more impressedby external verification - or should you simplydeclare your own conformity?There are many organizations that can providecertification, but it is a good idea to usesomeone recognized by a body such as theUnited Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).This proves that the certification or verificationhas been carried out by a body that has beenassessed and recognized (‘accredited’) itself.You can find UKAS-accredited bodies on itswebsite ( or by phoning020 8917 8400.Set the ball rollingOnce you have found a body to carry out thecertification or validation, you will need toapply for certification. The certification bodyshould be able to advise you on implementingthe standard.When the time comes for the formalassessment, a representative from the certifyingbody will then visit your business to examinehow the standard is being applied. The cost willvary according to which body you use, thestandard you are looking to certify to and thesize of your business.After the visit, you will either receive acompliance certificate that proves that you aremeeting the standard, or some guidance aboutthe areas where you need to carry out morework to ensure the standard is achieved. In thiscase, you will need to schedule another visit fromthe certification body when you have put theguidance into place.Compliance certificates are time-limited andyou will need to renew them after a definedperiod to continue to prove the independentvalidation.CE marks and quality marksCE marks and the Kitemark are among thesome of the most familiar names associatedwith quality marks.CE marking is a legal requirement for someproducts. It provides proof that a productcomplies with relevant EU directives. Productsthat require CE marking cannot, by law, be soldin the EU without it.What you will need to prove to use the CEmark on your products depends on eachspecific product and directive. You can findout more about what you will need to do byvisiting the BSI website easiest way for you to demonstrate thatyour product complies with relevant directivesis to use one of the harmonized Europeanstandards, developed specifically for thispurpose. You can find out more by visitingwww.newapproach.orgIn the UK, the Kitemark is a widely knownsymbol of standard testing. Provided by BSI,it helps demonstrate that particular goods orservices conform to the relevant standards.To find out more about the BSI Kitemark, visitthe website at www.kitemark.comHow certification workedfor me“In the accident repair business, more insurersare making it mandatory for suppliers to havecertified standards to protect them against legalclaims – so in some respects certification isessential for me to stay in business.“But it also proves to my customers that mybusiness’s processes are industry-leading. Sincegetting certification to ISO 9001 and, morerecently, the vehicle-repair standard PAS 125,I’ve retained some key customers and gained afew new contracts, too. Everyone recognizesthe Kitemark which we’ve got with PAS 125.Having independent verification that you’re complying with a standard cangive you a powerful marketing hook. It tells customers and suppliers thatyour business can be trusted because your processes have been checked bya third party and found to be meeting or exceeding industry best practiceGet certification
  18. 18. Good for business – 17“Certification for PAS 125 took about sixmonths. Working with BSI to get certificationwas very good – they know their stuff. Theymay not be experts in repairing vehicles, butthey’re excellent on standards, how to applythem and how to assess processes fairly.”Tony Arnone, owner, Sapphire Garage,ManchesterBuilding new standardsThe first step to creating and managingstandards is to identify a business need. Ifyou are developing a new product to whichno existing standards can be applied, BSI canwork with your industry to build a standardthat works.Likewise, if a product, service or processundergoes significant change, such as throughtechnological development. All standards arereviewed every five years, or sooner if needed,to make sure they are still capturing relevantbest practice.For British Standards, this best practice isagreed by a technical committee drawn frombusiness, trade associations, government,research, testing and certification bodies,consumer-interest groups and academicinstitutions.The committee agrees the scope and purpose ofthe proposed new or amended standard and thestandard is drafted. Once in draft form, it ispublished for public comment – and all feedbackis considered before the standard is finalized.Business representation on technicalcommittees is usually via trade and professionalassociations rather than direct companyparticipation. But there are different ways thatyou can become involved in helping to developstandards, whether simply by commenting ondrafts or by applying to your trade associationto act as a representative on a committee.If you are interested in doing so, please emailthe BSI Technical Committee Service Centre or call 020 8996 7009.BSI also runs a Draft for Public Comment (DPC)process where you can give your view on thecontent of a standard before it is published. Aselected number of drafts are available via theBSI website at in numbersThe Kitemark is recognized and trusted by over 88% of the UK population and,of those who recognise it, 93% felt products with a Kitemark were safer while91% felt they would be better quality.
  19. 19. Good for business – www.bsigroup.com18Set your standards – and win new businessFocus closely on the results you wouldlike to see. If it’s improved customerrelations, should you be handlingcomplaints more effectively? If it’s abetter product, looking for product-specific improvements? Identify clearlythe benefit you want the standard toprovide.Identify exactly what you want toachieve2. Will applying the standard improveyour position within a supply chain?Will it increase your ability to workwith other businesses in the chain?Consider your suppliers and therest of the supply chain5.You might find more than one suitablestandard that can help you meet yourgoals. Think about how much time andresources will be needed to implementeach and how the benefits willcompare. Some will require morecommitment than others, but couldbring greater rewards.Weight them up and make yourchoice7.What would you like to do better?Perhaps you want to improve yourcustomer relations, or redesign aproduct to make it work moreeffectively.Review your business1.What benefits will a standard give yourcustomers? Will it have an implicationon your pricing? If so, be sure to factorthis into your plans.Think about your customers4.Follow the guidance and regularlyreview your progress. Celebrate yourachievements as you progress.Implement your chosen standard8.Once your standard is fully in place,consider certification – it can make areal difference to how your firm isperceived. Complying with thestandard on its own will certainly help,but certification can be additionallypowerful.Consider certification9.Make sure your existing and potentialcustomers know you have achievedcompliance with the standard. Lookaround for new business opportunitiesthat may have opened up as a result ofintroducing it.Tell the world10.Once you have a picture of the businessbenefits, find the standard that bestsuits your objectives. You can browsestandards on the BSI website for the right standard6.How will you compare withcompetitors once you have thestandard? Will you be soaring aheador drawing level? If the latter, refineyour target even further to make areal competitive difference. Do a cost-benefit analysis based on the amountof new business you think would openup to you if you achieved the standardAssess the competition3.Now you know a bit more about standards, you can start thinking aboutintroducing them to your business. Follow our tips to get started and to usestandards to drive new customers your wayPublicly Available SpecificationsA Publicly Available Specification (PAS) is a commissioned document developed using asimilar process to that used for the development of a British Standard. Key stakeholdersare brought together to collaboratively produce a BSI-endorsed PAS which quicklysatisfies business needs. After two years the PAS is reviewed and a decision is made asto whether it should be taken forward to become a formal British Standard.
  20. 20. The first step to gaining new business onceyou have attained compliance within yourfirm is to let everyone know.You should make sure that you are mentioningyour standards in all correspondence – onletterheads and business cards, in brochuresand supporting material, on your website andin any advertising you do. This will notnecessarily lead to an immediate influx of newbusiness, but it will make everyone aware ofyour commitment and achievement.If you have independent certification, you couldconsider issuing a press release to local press ortrade magazines, dependent on your type ofbusiness. If you are selling to other businesses,it is important your peers know what you haveachieved. If you are selling locally, it willenhance your reputation and may helpgenerate word-of-mouth recommendations.Make the standard and what it achievesfor your customers a central part ofyour sales story.Good for business – 19Sell your standard to new customers“ Certification for PAS 125 took about sixmonths. Working with BSI to get certificationwas very good – they know their stuff. Theymay not be experts in repairing vehicles, butthey’re excellent on standards, how to applythem and how to assess processes fairly. ”Tony Arnone, owner, Sapphire Garage, Manchester
  21. 21. BSI is the UK’s National Standards Body,recognized globally for its independence,integrity and innovation inthe production of standards and informationproducts that promote and share bestpractice. BSI works with businesses,consumers and government to representUK interests and to make sure that British,European and international standards areuseful, relevant and authoritative. For furtherinformation please, is a global independent business servicesorganization that inspires confidence anddelivers assurance to customers with standards-based solutions. Originating as the world’s firstnational standards body, the Group has morethan 2,300 staff operating in more than 120countries through more than 50 global offices.The Group’s key offerings are:• The development and sale of private,national and international standards andsupporting information• Second and third-party management systemsassessment and certification• Product testing and certification of servicesand products• Performance management softwaresolutions• Training services in support of standardsimplementation and business best practice.For further information, please visitwww.bsigroup.comSearch for standards and buy them call 020 8996 9001Find an organization that can verify yourcompliance by visiting the United KingdomAccreditation service (UKAS) website Alternatively, telephoneUKAS on 020 8917 8400Find out how standards can help you complywith EU directives by visitingwww.newapproach.orgGet involved in the development of standardsby emailing the BSI Technical CommitteeService Centre at or bycalling 020 8996 7009To become a BSI member, call020 8996 7002 or tariffs can be viewed is a registered trademark ofBSI (The British Standards Institution).© BSI Group 2009The opinions expressed within this publicationare not necessarily those of BSI or of thepublisher. No liability can be accepted for anyinaccuracies or omissions.No part of this publication may be reproduced,transmitted by any means or stored within anyinformation-retrieval system without the writtenconsent of the copyright owner.Good for business – www.bsigroup.com20About BSIFind out more
  22. 22. raising standards worldwide™BSI Headquarters389 Chiswick High Road London W4 4AL UKTel +44 (0)20 8996 9000Fax +44 (0)20 8996© BSI copyrightIf you are a small business, have you everthought of the competitive edge thatstandards can give your firm? Whetheryou want to:• boost the efficiency or your operation• improve the quality of your products orservices• cut your costs and increase your profits• attract and retain customers,standards can help you meet your goals,cost-effectively.In this straightforward guide from BSI, youwill find out about what standards are, howthey can meet the requirements of yoursmall business and how you go aboutfinding and using the standards that willwork for you.You will also hear from a wide variety ofsmall businesses about how they havebenefited from introducing a range ofstandards to their operation. From customerservice to innovation and keeping afloatwhen things go wrong, standards can helpyou improve every aspect of your businessoperation.The overriding message is clear –standards are good for business.