The recent horsemeat issue highlights how easily business reputations and consumer confidence can be damaged or lost, and further reinforces the high value for companies of having standards in place for products and services.
Almost four out of five (78 per cent ) Connacht companies surveyed recently believe that implementing standards directly benefits their business. Additionally, almost 3 out of 4 (72 per cent ) Managing Directors and CEOs in Connacht believe companies that use standards have stronger reputations. The research was conducted for NSAI (National Standards Authority of Ireland ) by Behaviour and Attitudes.
“Times are tough for Irish businesses, and companies are always looking at ways to gain competitive advantage and wherever possible to cut costs,” says Maurice Buckley, CEO, NSAI. “We all expect that the products we buy and the services we use meet certain standards, whether it’s the food we buy in the supermarket, the seatbelt we put on in our car, or the toys our children play with. A company that participates in standardisation or that has its management systems, products or services independently certified to standards has a greater chance of success. What this survey shows is that Irish businesses are seeing the benefits to their business of adopting standards.”
The NSAI study, which is the first of its kind in Ireland, surveyed 351 Managing Directors and CEOs of Irish businesses on their use of standards. The types of companies surveyed ranged from manufacturing / construction, retail & wholesale trade, hotels / restaurants / bars / leisure services, and services / financial.
“Standards are becoming increasingly important and companies’ reputations rely on them,” says Maurice Buckley. “Even where the standards are optional, NSAI is now seeing a trend of businesses choosing to apply standards because they realise that in today’s market, having the standards ‘badge’ gives them an edge. We work closely with businesses to create, adapt and implement standards, recognising the importance of innovation and competition in the overall interests of the economy.”
In 2012, NSAI published more than 1,600 standards and sold over 12,000 publications across a broad range of sectors, bringing their library to in excess of 23,000. The most popular standards among Irish companies last year were: Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001 ), Occupational Health and Safety (ISO 18001 ) and Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14001 ). The NSAI’s Excellence Through People scheme is also increasingly sought after as organisations recognise their people as a key source of competitive advantage and a way to improve business performance. NSAI’s recent accreditation to the Food Safety Systems Certification (FSSC ) based on the international standard ISO 22000 will assist in offering Irish food and drink manufacturers greater scope to access international markets.
NSAI expects to publish a further 1,500 standards in 2013. Visit www.nsai.ie to find out more about the standards available for your business.