An Easy And Inexpensive Way To ISO Certification

Many businesses are put off going for the globally acclaimed management standards by the ISO. These include ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management, ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management and ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management systems.

The cost of employing a consultancy is very expensive. To do it in-house, they may not have the experience or time.  These are main reasons for businesses for not obtaining ISO certification in their chosen management system or systems.

Now, there is an easier and inexpensive way of achieving ISO certification. It can be done by your own staff, with support from experts (this is also costed within the price), using the toolkits provided through Affiniax Partners, based in Dubai and offices around the Middle East.

The toolkits provide the documents and forms required for you to become compliant with the required ISO standard. All the documents are formatted in a way that is easily amended to your business logo and name.  They are multiple examples within the documents with suggestions as to what to change to fit your business. The forms are equally easy to adapt to your business. Besides the ISO required documents, there are other documents to help you with the implementation, action plans to track your progress and other documents for project status and tracking your compliance.

The documents are easy to follow, written in plain English, so the technical aspects of the ISO standard are made clear.

Once you purchase your selected ISO toolkit you are entitled to 12 months of email support, from experts across all the standards. We also provide 1 remote audit prior to certification via Zoom Teams, the audit is to help ensure you are compliant with the requirements of the relevant ISO standards.

It is also possible to integrate 2 or more standards, such as ISO 9001:2015 Quality and ISO 14001:2015 Environmental management systems. This reduces the number of documents required and makes them easier to manage.

For more information on these outstanding toolkits contact our qualified consultants on mail@affiniax.com or +971 54 745 0844 and we will help you achieve the end goal by having the documentation ready for your certification.

How ISO 9001:2015 Toolkits can help your business Grow

Whatever the reasons for seeking compliance and certification, many organisations fail to capitalise on the potential benefits that ISO 9001 accreditation can bring. These organisational benefits can include process improvements, reputation benefits, and cost savings, as well as ensuring consistency of product and delivering customer satisfaction. These benefits can be realised by using the Affiniax Toolkits.

Making the most of ISO 9001:2015

The sooner an organisation realises that an ISO 9001 accreditation is actually a marketable tool, the sooner that organisation will be able to expand its business using that very accreditation as a foundation. The organisation should know that new markets are open to operate in that previously would have been closed, for example:

  • Ability to tender for local and national government contracts– These opportunities will increase due to most entry levels stipulating ISO 9001 accreditation. However, these contracts will not come looking for the organisation, your appropriate departments will need to investigate, register, and prepare the team for the bidding and presentation process ahead.
  • Ability to trade with larger businesses– Many blue chip organisations simply refuse to trade with organisations that do not have ISO 9001 as a starting point. The organisation will now be qualified to seek associations and partnerships with larger operations showing that it can not only provide added value to their supply chains, but can use ISO 9001 accreditation as proof of its credibility and commitment to customer satisfaction.

Using ISO 9001 as Leverage in Business

Presenting your organisation as an ambitious and capable partner can be challenging but, using ISO 9001 principles, it is a task you can embrace. Whether on a face-to-face level, presenting at trade shows, or even recording video marketing presentations – which is a modern, but effective marketing tool – your organisation can promote the use of ISO 9001 quality management principles to advertise its qualities:

  • Customer Satisfaction – Your organisation can correctly claim that the desire to be accredited against ISO 9001 comes from the intrinsic company ethos, which is to provide unrivalled quality of product and service to the end user.
  • Customer Focus – One of the advantages your organisation can claim over larger conglomerates is better customer focus and service. A more timely and effective reaction to the customer and any problems can be seen as an excellent selling point, and utilising examples of its customer feedback and corrective action processes, your organisation can demonstrate an edge in this area.
  • Emphasize Your Operational Control – If you are in a service or manufacturing environment, almost nothing is more impressive than displaying operational control and consistency of product. Again, this is something that many larger organisations find more difficult to control, and whether providing non-conformity rates, displaying process documents, or offering facility visits, this is another area in which your organisation can claim advantage over the larger corporation.
  • Continual Improvement – The ability to improve and demonstrate to a potential customer is a valuable bargaining tool. Evidence of continual improvement can demonstrate a willingness to listen, take action, and improve – again, a quality that is often slower to be demonstrated within larger organisations where things often happen more slowly.

Advertising ISO 9001 to the benefit of the Organisation

Your organisation should understand the rules of advertising its ISO 9001 accreditation by ensuring that the correct logo is used on your website and stationery. Look to join local trade organisations, which will allow you to network with new potential customers and partners. Consider throwing an open house to celebrate your ISO 9001 accreditation, where you can gain some new contacts, attract some media attention, and say “thanks” to everyone who has worked hard to gain accreditation (and who will need to continue to do so to maintain compliance and improve standards in the future).

Use your ISO 9001 accreditation to leverage your organisation’s ability to move in higher circles, and use the elements suggested above to drive home the advantages a small organisation can have over a larger business. Use 9001 as the leverage to take you from being an smaller organisation to a bigger organisation. Nobody else will do it for you.

Why is ISO 9001 a good idea for your Organisation?

The benefits of ISO 9001 are not overstated; companies large and small have gained great benefits from using this standard by discovering cost and efficiency savings. Here are the explanations of six main benefits and why they are important:

Improvement of your Credibility and Image – Because ISO 9001 is an internationally recognised standard, it has become the basis for creating a quality management system around the world, replacing many previously published requirements. When a company is looking for a supplier, it is often a requirement to have a QMS based on ISO 9001 in order to be considered. This is particularly the case if you are competing for public sector jobs in many countries. Attaining ISO 9001 certification can be a powerful marketing tool.

Improvement of Customer Satisfaction – One of the quality management principles that are the foundation of the ISO 9001 requirements is to improve customer satisfaction by planning for and striving to meet customer requirements. By improving your customer satisfaction you will retain more repeat customers since happy and satisfied customers are the key to keeping customer loyalty. And such customers bring in additional revenues.

Better Process Integration – By looking at the overall process interactions through the process approach of ISO 9001, you will be able to easily find improvements in efficiency and cost savings. This is done through eliminating the waste that can occur when processes are maintained without a view of the inefficiencies that can arise during process hand-off. The better process flow can also be used to drive efficiency towards fewer errors and resulting reworks, which can improve cost savings.

Improve your evidence for decision making – A second quality management principle of ISO 9001 is the need to use evidence-based decision making. By driving your decisions based on the evidence, rather than on “gut feelings,” you can be more focused on applying resources to the areas that will improve efficiency and increase cost savings with less trial and error to find the right decision. In addition, by monitoring the process you are improving, you will be able to see how much improvement has happened based on the data.

Create a continual improvement culture – Continual improvement is a third quality management principle of ISO 9001. By adopting this culture to improve your processes and organisational output, you will find efficiency and cost savings, including the use of systematic processes when problems occur in order to reduce the impact of the problem and increase the speed of recovery. By making this continual, improving year after year, the company can see continuing benefits from this.

Engagement of employees – Employees who are involved in the improvements of the processes they work with are happier and more engaged employees. Who better than the people working on the process to best identify the areas that need improvement, and to help to test and advance these improvements when they are implemented? Engaged employees are more productive and will help the company better improve and save, especially when they understand how the quality of the process depends on them.

To learn more on how ISO 9001:2015 can benefit your organisation, big or small, contact Affiniax Partners by email mail@Affiniax.com  or call +971 55 589 7152 or visit our website: www.affiniax.com

STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES

“Why do we need a procedure or a process? What is so important about having set standards?”

This might be the most frequently thought of answer when someone refers to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

But do you know what a SOP is?

SOPs are documented processes that organisations maintain to have consistency in all their service and product offering, thereby ensuring that work remains uninterrupted at the absence of a specific key employee(s).

At every organisation and level, it is very important for every employee to have clarity in their work process, identify their roles, responsibilities and accountabilities at each level. SOP’s help in adding the necessary foundation for most activities within an organization.

WHY SOP?

  1. Consistency – Consistency is required at every stage and for each and every product or service we deliver, starting from initiation, development, production and delivery. SOP’s clearly specify a step-by-step process for a job, ensuring quality in every work done and delivered.
  2. Clarity – Every employee will have clarity in their job roles and responsibilities resulting in increased productivity and decrease in probability of errors.
  3. Compliance –By having a set standards, we can ensure that your organisation’s standards for quality and consistency are met during every single delivery.
  4. Communication –Job related process and procedures shall be clearly communicated to the employees thereby reducing the risk of errors. Employees can directly refer to the SOP to understand how to get a work done.
  5. Time Saving– Documented procedures can reduce training time and can act as references for employees to work independently without support of superiors.
  6. Upgradation– Digitalisation and migration to new systems shall be made easier with SOPs as various meetings/discussions can be avoided to understand the process followed in the organisation.

 

If you would like to have a free consultation with our team to discuss, please reach out to sanjana@affiniax.com

What Safety Measures Restaurants should take during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Steps restaurants can take to get more customers during pandemic

After months of being stuck at home during lockdown, even the most experienced home chef would be longing for a meal that he or she did not labour to make in their kitchen. For some, a reason to change out of their sleepwear and get out of the house—with or without the kids—is becoming more of a necessity to keep their sanity than a celebratory activity. In short, people are eager to be able to eat out again.

It is safe to say that most, if not all, in the food-service industry are also eager to welcome back the diners that they are used to serving. Business owners are eager to be able to reopen and recover lost earnings while the service staff is eager to earn again after months of being without work. There are also many who simply miss the satisfaction of serving people meals that nourish them and giving them an enjoyable dining experience; who missed the creative expression that came with their food industry jobs. Whether it is grabbing an inexpensive meal at a quick-service restaurant or an exquisite dining experience at a fancy restaurant, food safety and the assurance that a consumer will not go home with a COVID-19 infection is of paramount concern to everyone.

For the employers or business owners and their management team, the responsibility for prevention and management of outbreaks rests on their shoulders.

  • Take steps to ensure that staff adhere to existing and additional government regulations to keep the workplace safe while the COVID-19 threat still exists.
  • Conduct a COVID-19 risk assessment of the entire workplace; having a tried and tested business continuity plan in place would also be a big help.
  • Increase visible monitoring and enforcement of control measures including HACCP-based SOPs.
  • Conduct regular reviews, including seeking feedback from staff and customers to identify areas for improvement.

All employees, on the other hand, must be more vigilant, strictly following all processes put in place to ensure food safety. Although it is very unlikely COVID-19 could be transmitted through properly prepared food or food packaging that is properly handled, staff must observe good hygiene practices at all times.

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or sanitise), especially before and after handling food, cleaning cutlery, dishes, glasses, or other items to be used by the customer.
  • Staff that handle dirty or used items, collect used dishes from customer tables, and handle payments should be designated for these activities only, whenever possible.
  • All employees must ensure their thorough understanding of all HACCP principles and:
    • identify any food handling hazard;
    • identify the critical control points (CCPs) to prevent, remove or reduce a hazard;
    • set limits for CCPs;
    • monitor the CCPs;
    • immediately correct any problem with a CCP;
    • put checks in place to make sure the HACCP plan is working; and
    • keep accurate and up-to-date records.

There are other resources available for business owners that could help to further reassure their customers that their establishment is a safe environment for them to be in. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has come up with a global safety stamp to recognise establishments around the world who have adopted policies and protocols that ensure the safety of consumers (for more info, click here). Certification agency Bureau Veritas has also launched a Safeguard label for shops, restaurants, and other confined spaces were people gather (for more info, click here or here).

With business owners and their employees clearly understanding how their cooperation will ensure their customers will be safe while in their premises, this will allow for a more comfortable, enjoyable, and most importantly, COVID-19 safe customer experience. If you are in need of help with regards to implementing HACCP or another food safety management system such as ISO 22000 in your establishment, contact Affiniax Partners for a free consultation.

 

Is it Safe to Travel Once Again?

List of guidelines for businesses during Covid-19

Is it safe to travel once again? What is being done at the moment to make it safe to travel once more? Despite the health risks and economic slowdown, travelling between cities or countries cannot be completely avoided.

The travel and tourism industry is no doubt one of the hardest hit, if not the hardest hit, by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. From the time the first outbreak on a cruise ship was reported, up to the recent string of airline bankruptcies and aircraft manufacturer layoffs. Add to this all the related local service industries and businesses that are dependent on tourists and business travelers that have either closed temporarily or been forced to close for good. So, what is currently being done to help make travelling safe once again?

  1. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), along with governments and health experts, developed action plans to aid in the recovery efforts for the industry. They have come up with a global safety stamp to recognise governments and companies around the world who have adopted policies and protocols that ensure the safety of consumers and travelers. They will also be publishing protocols for the Hospitality industry, Attractions, Outdoor Retail industry, Aviation industry, Airports, Short Term Rentals industry, Cruises, Tour Operators, Convention Centres and MICE, Car Rental industry and Insurance industries. For more information, visit https://wttc.org/COVID-19/SafeTravels-Stamp-and-Assets.
  2. Bureau Veritas is an international organisation that tests, inspects and certifies other organisations according to accepted international standards. They have launched a Safeguard label “to provide reassurance to partners, customers and employees that the entities carrying the label have undergone checks and audits of the preventive measures in place”, according to their site. Commonly used in the hospitality industry, it can also be given to shops, restaurants, and corporate buildings, or other confined spaces where people gather. It covers audits of facilities, processes, staff, and hygiene/cleaning. This certification is valid for six (6) months, and a reassessment needs to be conducted in order to be able to continue to keep the label.  For more information, visit https://www.bureauveritas.com.au/newsroom/safeguard-assurance-program-bureau-veritas-australia-solution or https://www.bureauveritas.fr/besoin/label-bureau-veritas-safeguard.
  3. Spain’s Association for Standardisation (UNE) collaborated with its Institute for Spanish Tourism Quality (ICTE) to publish a series of specifications which in turn put in place guidelines and recommendations for reducing the risk of the spread of COVID-19 in its tourism sector. They have made these documents available for anyone to use on https://www.en.une.org/la-asociacion/sala-de-informacion-une/noticias/directrices-para-un-turismo-seguro.
  4. The emirate of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates went a step further and came up with an assurance stamp for all establishments that adhere to the government’s safety standards. After a thorough verification and validation process, the stamp can be displayed to let all consumers know that they are entering a place that follows rigorous safety and hygiene measures. The stamp is valid for only two (2) weeks, further reassuring the public that as long as the stamp is displayed, the place they are entering continuously meets safety requirements.

In most countries, the challenge that businesses face in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is the lack of a consistent and reliable approach. ISO’s technical committee on tourism and its related services is developing ways to support organisations and to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, but in the meantime, ISO 22483:2020 Tourism and Related Services can be a valuable resource.

Contact us if you want to find out how any of the news above can help you and your team get started on your road to recovery in a post-pandemic business environment.