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20 January 2015

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Case Study: Communicate Better

ISO 9001

North West based Communicate Better is a provider of business communications solutions, covering telephone systems, mobiles and telematics. Formed in 1993, the company has thrived by offering a one-stop shop service to businesses ranging from sole traders to European PLCs.

After being asked about ISO 9001 by a client, the company decided to implement the standard in 2012, achieving certification in early 2013. Here, they share their experience of the process.

The challenge

Communicate Better achieve ISO 9001 certification

In 2011, Communicate Better managed to double their size and turnover compared to the previous two years. Through a highly strategic approach, further growth is expected, especially with the acquisition of a rival telecoms firm.

Whilst this may present a number of management challenges, Communicate Better have retained
continuity, winning Comms Business Reseller of the Year back to back in 2012 and 2013. These achievements were the ideal base for implementing the ISO 9001 quality standard, demonstrating further commitment to the levels of service to their clients. Initially speaking to IT Director Mike Standring, he expanded on the company’s decision to go for ISO 9001 certification;

“I originally investigated the standard back in 2010. It was then after being asked by a client about certification that we decided it was something we should be looking at more seriously.”

The solution

As with many growing companies, spare time is close to non-existent. The fear with ISO 9001 is that it will be too much to take on in the short-term. However, what many do not realise is that they have a lot of what is required already in place, it just hasn’t been formalised. With the intention to create greater efficiency through less mistakes and consequent re-work, ISO 9001 ultimately gives back time, making it easier for people to do their jobs.

It was over to Scott Curie, the company’s Financial Controller to manage the implementation of the standard. BAB first carried out an initial ‘Stage 1’ visit to help identify any gaps there in meeting the requirements of ISO 9001. A report then set out what needed to be in place so Communicate Better could move on to their formal audit for certification.

Once the company and their auditor believed they were ready to move forward, they were visited again for their ‘Stage 2’ audit. It ended in good news, as Communicate Better were duly recommended for certification by their auditor. Scott recalled the experience;

“I found the audit process was beneficial. It opened our eyes to the processes we need to follow and also bring us up to standard with regards to formalising our internal processes.”

The results

Having achieved certification, ISO 9001 has been a success story for Communicate Better. At BAB, we try to make the certification process as straight-forward as possible. We recognise that for people like Scott, they have a busy existing job role and it’s important that implementation isn’t too burdensome. Fundamental to this is a good relationship with the auditor;

“Stephen was a knowledgeable assessor. He gave good advice on further actions and cited examples of how to improve some processes. Overall, the standard has allowed us to structure our procedures and processes using a method that was easy for all to follow. All my expectations were met.”

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The BAB was very understanding about the misgivings of a small company going for ISO 9001. They were reassuring about the processes involved and very encouraging about something which is a big deal for us and seemed, at times, quite daunting. Ripley & Friends Ltd

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