COVID-19, should companies sustain or retain ISO Certification​

The value of being ISO certified is now a key consideration for organizations amidst the global COVID19 crisis. Understanding the pros and cons is critical in making an informed decision, the truth is that some companies may either give up, maintain, or pursue ISO certification in relation to the economic climate within their organization. This article aims to provide a simple analysis to evaluate your organization within context before deciding.

Although there is an obvious bias on this topic, customer service and trust are at the forefront of GCS. The COVID-19 pandemic has left the world shocked due to its rapid transmission and mortality rates. This disease has changed the world as we know it. We now face a new reality, socially, financially, and mentally as it relates to International Trade, Politics, Investments, and other aspects of life. The big question is what companies should do as it relates to ISO Certification? Should companies pursue the investment of being certified? Additionally, should companies who are already certified maintain their investment in being certified or postpone ISO certification until a later date? While most organizations will choose the latter, strategic analysis and critical thinking would shed some light and direction on your situation. Create a simple checklist using the following questions or categories to explore and analyze your context.
NOTE: This is very effective, and results will vary based on current statistical data and projections.

  1. Source of Income: – Sources of income is a very clear indication of the direction of any potential investment for ISO or not. The covid-19 pandemic has separated the grey areas of the income spectrum. You will notice specific companies either collapsed or increase in revenue and sales. Sectors with growth include, supermarkets, pharmacies, consumables supply vendors, certain food establishments etc. When an organization does an analysis on the projection of their sources of income, they should carefully consider new opportunities to be exploited. New sources of income can be established easily according to your sector niche.
  2. Critical Industry: – If you work in a critical industry, chances are they will re-start as soon as possible. e.g. Supply & Logistics, Factories, Industrial Establishments, Oil & Gas/ Upstream and Downstream etc.  
  3. Economy and GDP growth– Based on the main products and goods of your country in relation to trade, import and export, income vs dependencies etc. The GDP of your country could either remain stable, decline, or increase in growth. If export increases based on the production capacity within the country and its self-sufficiency as it relates to agriculture, manufacturing, energy etc. The GDP will obviously increase or remain stable. A close look at the IMF publications gives a good indication of this.
  4. Current Opportunities: – Again, this will be unique from country to country and sector to sector. Opportunities and growth may be unique in your situation. One should evaluate or project the potential for current or upcoming opportunities in your sector, country, or region. ISO certification is a process and can take between 3-6 months and even more for large companies to implement and achieve. Therefore, investments or decisions must be made now for a positive outcome within the following quarters.
  5. Capital Gain: – Based on the goods and services of your organization, analysis of capital gain ratios can either be high turnover/ low profit, or low turnover/ high profit. The capital gain ratio can give an indication if the ISO is worth the investment at this time. For example, a Contractor in the Oil & Gas sector might invest $5-10,000 to be ISO, thus securing a contract later this year, which may be worth 5 million USD. The possibility of effectively calculating a potential opportunity may be worth the upfront investment.

Risk & Opportunity: – The risk and opportunity concept suggests that both are the same on opposite ends. Therefore, the focus should be to minimize the risk and plan on capitalizing on opportunities. COVID-19 has forced organizations to learn, adapt and maximize on resources while still operating as much as possible. Economic experts have widely expressed that opportunities exists even within this crisis and beyond. Some may look at their competitors implode, give up, freeze on their momentum. Others are seeing this as an opportunity to prepare for the re-opening, to recharge, re-group and plan. This may involve investing in ISO Certification now as many companies will be destabilized, unfocused and lack planning upon re-opening.

NOTE: The above areas are just some of the critical aspects to consider. However, being ISO certified may give you a competitive advantage for contract or awards it is important to consider. Large companies, now more than ever have established their business continuity plans in full effect and will be keeping a close eye on their contractor database to evaluate potential risks. Maintaining ISO Certification may in your case indicate that you are willing to uphold and maintain the highest quality and values. Lapse on ISO Certification status can give the indication that quality is not “Essential” and therefore was cut out of budget and operational focus.