Make you stand out


20 January 2015

Share this

Case Study: Fastco

ISO 9001

Fastco was established in 2000 and the company quickly made a name for itself providing a range of supply fasteners, fixings, hand and power tools, both to the trade and public. Beginning as a trade counter in Crewe, the company has also launched an ecommerce website in order to broaden their customer base.

In a move to facilitate further growth, Fastco achieved certification to ISO 9001 in 2013. Here, their Company Secretary, Charlotte Downs, talks through her experience of implementing the quality management standard.

The challenge

In a relatively small business, any job title tends to involve multiple roles. Being responsible for the day-to-day administration and accounts as Fastco’s Company Secretary, Charlotte Downs also took on the role of implementing ISO 9001. Charlotte explains the motivation behind certification;

Fastco achieve ISO 9001

“To allow our business to grow, we wanted to obtain ISO 9001 to demonstrate that we were seen as adhering to a recognised quality standard. We also saw it as an opportunity to generate new business as we have found that large companies prefer their suppliers to have the standard in place.”

Charlotte’s comments reflect those of many other British Assessment Bureau (BAB) clients, where their customers expect the supply chain to demonstrate quality credentials before doing business with them. Whilst going for ISO 9001 may have been an easy decision, choosing a Certification Body was anything but. Charlotte explains her reasons for deciding on BAB;

“After finding BAB online, I found their website very professional and someone rang within the hour to discuss my needs. Pricing was a factor in using them; we found them competitive and they had a straightforward pricing structure with no hidden costs.”

The solution

The initial ‘Stage 1’ visit that BAB carries out helps to identify what gaps there are in meeting the requirements of ISO 9001. A report sets out exactly what needs to be in place so you can be best prepared for your formal audit for certification. Charlotte tells us of her initial experience of working with BAB;

“From the start, BAB offered us valuable guidance on the key deliverables. They took the time to fully understand our business in order to offer tailored support towards achievement of the quality mark.”

Many fear that ISO 9001 will swamp a business with unnecessary bureaucracy and is something only suited to ‘big’ businesses. In fact, the quality standard is designed for all types of organisations, and is intended to create increased efficiency, not extra work! Charlotte attests to this;

“We had put off applying for ISO 9001 in the past as we felt that we could not cope with the additional workload it would create. However, we have found that our implementation didn’t cause too much extra work and, in fact, has since saved us time as we are more organised.”

Having completed the required internal audits, Fastco were then ready to be visited once again for their formal ‘Stage 2’ audit, which would lead to certification. Charlotte recalled the experience;

“We had never audited ourselves before and it has been a learning curve, but with the advice from our assessor, we managed to do it.  The constructive feedback from our assessor has been invaluable and we have been able to make changes to the way we run our company thanks to implementing the standard”

The results

BAB is committed to helping clients progress and achieve outstanding results through the application of effective standards and management best practice. Here, Charlotte tells us what achieving and maintaining ISO 9001 means for Fastco;

“Whilst it is early days for us in terms of growing our customer base, the implementation process has helped the day-to-day running of our company immensely.  For example, previously we had an ad-hoc approach to Purchase Ordering, but after our first visit from BAB, we devised a new process which has made ordering and processing Purchase Invoices much easier.  We can now readily see if we are being overcharged and problems are being highlighted much earlier.”

The final word

“The highlight of the service has been the pragmatic advice we have received from BAB. Along the way we have learnt ways of improving and the added bonus is we now have ISO 9001 certification!”

Find out more about us

Return to article overview

Have a look at our services

More about The British Assessment Bureau

Next entry:

Previous entry:


I found the service to be informal, friendly and helpful. Rubicon Corporate Print Limited

View all of our testimonials


Have a question or need more information?

Send us an email

+65 6733 6064