ISO: Who, what, why, when and how?

A look at what ISOs are and what they mean for your business

Who is ISO?

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) began operating in February 1947. It was decided a new international organisation, which would ‘facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards’ needed to be formed. Almost 70 years later, ISO has now published over 250,000 standards across the world.

What is ISO?

Through its 162 members, ISO brings together experts to share their knowledge to develop and issue relevant internationally recognised standards that provide solutions to ever changing worldwide challenges. ISO’s mission is to be “simpler, faster, better” and to reduce the time it takes to develop standards in order to better serve the needs of society today.

Learn about the importance of working with UKAS accredited certification bodies when becoming ISO certified: Not all ISO certificates are equal.

Why have ISO standards?

International standards quite simply ‘make things work’ and provide worldwide recognised specifications for products, services and systems – impacting everyone, everywhere. The standards ensure businesses operate safely, efficiently and provide high quality products or services to clients. standards can be effectively adopted by businesses in varying industries.

Businesses use ISO management standards as strategic tools to help minimise errors and increase productivity in the delivery of work. Standards help businesses identify how costs can be reduced and the standards’ in-built quality assurance ensures businesses deliver the same consistency to clients. ISO certification can also assist businesses in accessing new markets both nationally and internationally, as they are recognised in their own right worldwide.

ISO certified organisations demonstrate that what gets measured gets done! This begins with the involvement of management and staff to ascertain their current positions versus the requirements of their chosen ISO Standard. This process often leads to the identification of opportunities for improvement, regularly resulting in benefits to customers.

ISO management standards are often required when bidding for tenders. Find out how ISO standards will help you get your bids to the top of the pile and step closer to winning new work.

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ISO management standards are so revered because of their requirement for continuous improvement, which involves a commitment to being assessed every 12 months by your Certification Body. Internally, you are expected to regularly monitor how you are doing, gain feedback from stakeholders and report findings to management.


At first glance, ISO standards can seem a daunting prospect without previous experience. Just remember they’re best practice standards used to benchmark your organisation. The British Assessment Bureau is a useful help, providing you with a dedicated Assessor and Account Manager to help you throughout the process.


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