One of the first questions we ask potential clients is whether they are ISO certified. If the answer is no, we highly recommend they become certified as soon as possible in order to strengthen their organisation, and in turn their bid processes.
The ISO standards exist so that quality, safety and efficiency are maintained to an industry-recognised value – and so that suppliers can therefore be measured and evaluated against these standards. This is now an increasingly common requirement within the tendering process, usually at the PQQ stage.
ISO in the tender marking criteria
Typically, organisations who have an ISO certification will gain higher marks at the PQQ stage due to the international recognition of the ISO attestation. It is now common practice for there to be a question regarding management systems, whereby if you have ISO certified procedures (especially by a UKAS accredited awarding body) you will gain the most marks; this is in comparison to having your own non-certified practices in place which may score you few or no marks. Contracting authorities can even make it a mandatory requirement that you have ISO certification, resulting in a fail if you do not. Essentially, the ISO standards can be seen as a means to differentiate suppliers.
The ISO certification can also be used as a framework for answering questions on aspects such as KPI monitoring, quality assurance management and monitoring performance mechanisms. Again, this strengthens your submission, providing an evidence-based response which is recognised to an industry standard and is likely to gain you top marks.
How does the ISO Certification benefit your organisation?
As well as benefiting your bids and tenders in terms of marks, the ISO certification has numerous additional benefits. Due to the ISO standards being recognised and highly valued internationally, the certification can add credibility to your organisation and create the opportunity to secure larger commercial contracts. This is true for both large and small firms, with ISO certifications and practices being applicable to all organisations.
ISO demonstrates that you have management systems in place which work effectively in practice and have been assessed by an awarding body. The main ISO standards that you will find in tendering are: ISO 9001 quality management, ISO 14001 environmental management and OHSAS 18001 occupational health and safety. As a supplier, holding any of these certifications helps to prove your quality to customers, and therefore increase sales, as well as ensuring your business operations are efficient and promote continuous improvement. All of this provides confidence to the contracting authority in your ability to deliver a contract successfully.
Our bid team is UKAS ISO 9001:2008 certified
Last month at Executive Compass, we had our ISO 9001:2008 quality management audit and are happy to say we passed with no comments or observations!
This makes us well placed to provide you with the fit-for-purpose management systems that you need in order to be successful in public and private sector tendering. From our experience of writing bids and tenders, we know how to tailor your systems to provide the right evidence to be compliant with UK tendering requirements and provide your organisation with a competitive advantage.
We will also provide advice and support when finding a certification body to undertake your ISO assessment: not all certification bodies have accreditation in every industry so it is important to source and evaluate the right certification body for you.
To discuss how we can help your organisation to become ISO certified in a range of management systems, contact John Bilcliffe or Neil Capstick on 0191 265 5461, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.