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Qualitation is UK leading ISO Standards Consultancy
Qualitation is UK leading ISO Standards Consultancy



How Brexit Will Affect Your ISO Accreditation and Trade Standardisations

The EU referendum is one of the most important things to happen both nationally and internationally in this century. At Qualitation, we understand that you may not yet have decided which way to vote on the 23rd June, and your vote will largely be affected by how you may benefit from either staying or leaving the EU. In an attempt to make the decision easier, we’re going to explain how Brexit may affect accreditations and standards for UK industry in the global market. Before you decide to vote either to remain or leave, make sure you’ve educated yourself as much as possible.
Standards such as ISO accreditation play a vital role in all areas of the UK industrial markets, whether they’re national, global or European. You may use them as mere guidance for your company’s ethos and levels of practice, or you may need to follow them as part of regulatory and contractual necessity. Either way, standards act as a signifier that your customers can trust your product will be of a high quality or that your services will be sufficient for their requirements.
ISO accreditations certify that your business adheres to good business practices and, that wherever necessary, you follow technical specifications. This in turn, allows you to successfully trade not only within the UK, but within the European Single Market and globally. ISO accreditations are developed by the best industry experts, in a process that allows for open public scrutiny to ensure the best results for businesses and consumers purchasing your products. If you’re in an industry where you need to demonstrate compliance in order to trade, ISO accreditation is essential to your business.
Standards in the European Single Market
The European Single Market operates on a single standard model, so that only one standard needs to be used by all member states of the EU in every industry. Many industries favour this as it means you can vastly reduce the number of standards you need to be accredited for in order for trade outside of the UK, along with costing you less money. This model is highly consumer friendly, presenting them with a far greater choice of products – market driven good practice is developed by experts and works to benefit British businesses both in the European and global markets.
That being said, ISO accreditation is international, rather than European, although the EU often utilise ISO standard as the European Standard, important to know when the UK currently has over 7% of votes for the developing of standards throughout the EU. The EU creates specific standards if there is no international standard, so UK businesses with high levels of trade within the EU will need to consider the possible implications of voting either to remain or leave.
How does the European Single Market work for British businesses?
British businesses that have ISO accreditation (or follow their industry’s legal or mutually recognised requirements) can benefit from the European Single Market in a number of ways, including:
• Being able to place their products anywhere on the single market and benefitting from freely circulating those products.
• Not having to produce or manufacture different variations of their product for different markets, saving them valuable time and costs.
• They don’t have to spend large amounts of money for additional testing prior to placing their products on European markets.
• The elimination of trade tariffs and other technical barriers to trade.

Accredited businesses benefit from lower costs throughout their entire supply chain, helping to create highly competitive industries. Not only will this ensure a good level of consumer protection, consumers have a greater variety of choice, leading to a healthy industry market and wider economy.
How would Brexit affect the UK’s adherence to European standards?
Should Brexit occur on the 23rd June, it can safely be assumed that the government will immediately set about to re-negotiate a series of trade agreements with both EU and non-EU states. There is a chance that the UK will no longer be able to represent its interests in developing and using standards for industry and trade, both within the EU and internationally.
Despite this, depending on the choices made by the government, the impact of Brexit could vary dramatically.
1. The UK could end up applying for membership to the EFTA and sign the European Economic Area agreement, joining Iceland and Norway. The EEA agreement works to promote free trade and economic integration. This route will most likely see British businesses continuing to comply to European standards in order to successfully trade with the EU.
2. The UK may follow the same route as Switzerland, applying for membership of the European Free Trade Association but remaining outside the EEA, instead negotiating a series of bilateral trade agreements with the EU. Again for the sake of maintaining industry competition, British businesses may see themselves continuing to trade to the same international and European standards as before.
3. The UK may not join the EFTA, but still negotiate bilateral trade agreements with the EU.
4. In order to protect the UK in international trade, it may rely on the World Trade Organization’s Technical Barriers to Trade agreements.
The first two options will most likely have a minimal impact on the UK’s ability to stay a member of the European bodies responsible for standardisation; however, it may lose the influence to shape European regulatory policy itself.
The latter two outcomes could see the UK’s membership of European standardisation bodies at risk, most likely requiring the UK to commit to continue upholding all European standards. If the UK didn’t commit to this, Britain’s membership to standardisation bodies would be at risk for fear of a lack of market access reciprocity.
As ISO accreditation is international, rather than European, the UK would not be at risk of losing this actual membership, but British businesses may need to meet additional standards for trade in the European market.
UK exit of the EU and general standardisation impacts
The UK’s ability to influence standardisation and regulation will be greatly diminished in the case of Brexit, within the EU, as it’ll no longer have the capability to influence standardisation to serve British needs. Global trade partners such as China may no longer see British trade as a priority, due to its diminished influence in the European market.
Should the UK decide to refuse the adoption of European standards, British business will face a number of barriers to trade with other European states, potentially needing different standards for domestic, European and international markets- leading to ISO accreditation losing its convenience for UK businesses and British businesses may end up spending far more time and money for less profit.
Currently Britain only has to meet one standard for any particular product or service, with this lack of conflicting national standards allowing free and positive trade. As well as international standards, European regulatory requirements must be met in order to continue this easy trade.
ISO accreditation in itself should not be affected by the outcome of the Brexit referendum, but UK trade in general will depend on the subsequent political decisions taken by Britain, most notably if the UK remains committed to adopting European standards, having given up the opportunity to influence it.
There are many considerations to be made when choosing to remain within the EU or leave it. European standards often work closely with ISO accreditations, helping businesses to minimise the cost and time spent on not only the manufacture of their products, but complying with standards needed to enter European and global markets.

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5 points when Presenting to Clients

Ever been so enthusiastic to get in front of a client that you do yourself no good in the process?
Sometimes it’s seen as being too pushy, at others the potential client is simply not in the right frame of mind and the worst is when, as a result of your keenness, they dismiss you without hearing what you are saying. None of which is good for business – yours or theirs!

1. Set the scene: recognise the problem they face and detail how serious it is to them in terms of their people, their bottom line and their own clients. This will mean that the prospective client will see that you truly understand what they are going through as well as have recognised the issues that derive from such concerns.

2. Say what you do: having outlined the issues, your answer here, in a couple of short sentences at most, should be demonstrably aimed at solving their problems. If you highlight anything more, make sure it’s your best features to demonstrate you really do know what you are talking about.

3. Tell them why you are the best choice: as you have competitors, there will be others out there trying to get the same customers. Explain why your service is better than others – you’ve already demonstrated you truly understand their issues, now you show that you can really help solve their problems.

4. It’s all about value: value not price! Don’t feel that this means you have to drop your price – all that says is that you are a bottom end of the market supplier. Make it clear what you are doing beyond the obvious: you will not only solve the immediate problem so much as to address the fact there was a problem in the first place – that is demonstrable value.

5. Now what are they going to do? You need a call to action.  Make it clear, simple and ideally in small steps. Don’t start saying they need to rebuild their business from the bottom up. Start with a short review to assess the scale and to allow them time to determine what they want to do without feeling pressured. That way you will take them step-by-step through the process keeping them with you all the way.

Overall you need to be memorable – this will be what differentiates you as much as anything else.  Weave a story into your pitch. Wherever you can, demonstrate you can see the pain they face – this sensitivity will pay dividends. Keep it tight. Keep it clear. Keep it simple. Propose a series of short steps to keep their focus and buy-in. Wherever possible be positively different! 
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Pondering an ISO – will Brexit impact on your choice?

Actually the logic for having an ISO system is valid in both worlds – in both cases, the benefits of having an ISO system are the same from an internal viewpoint: better control on your own operations, better efficiencies, lower wastage, improved returns and higher customer and staff morales.

It is the external viewpoint where you might expect a split to take place.  If the UK leaves the EU, then it will still want to trade with EU members and it will still want to trade with countries outside the EU – so no change there.

What changes is that the ability to trade with previous EU customers and clients will be made more difficult if they introduce trade barriers and tariffs. (No idea what they might do, but I don’t believe that the EU would simply allow life to go on as before). The other aspect is that some organisations might take a Brexit more personally and feel that UK companies have had their chance and consequently will be biased against them in the future.

This means that trade with EU members will be more expensive and possibly more difficult than previously.  UK Organisations will have to work harder to gain business in the EU and will also want to increase their non-EU interactions. In both cases, the organisation will need to stand out from the crowd in every way possible – and how better than to have an ISO standard that is already recognised around the globe as a clear demonstration of best practice?

But what if you are lucky and your marketplace will get less expensive if the UK leaves the EU, reducing your costs and consequently enabling your organisation to undercut others in ways previously unavailable?  Good for you!  This will, however, mean that all your UK competitors will be in the same situation and have the same benefits.  Thus the one with the most efficient operations will be able to cut costs the most while retaining a valid profit margin.  And an ISO standard is an excellent way of gaining headway in the endless race for efficiencies.

So the reasons for getting an ISO system are still valid, even if the world around them has changed a tad.  But what about raising the costs of funding the ISO system?  

Again, the logic here does not change whether the UK is in or out of the EU.  (I’m not considering the potential impacts on interest rates, lending levels or availability of funds as this will be part of the background we all face and will have to be handled whatever is thrown up!)  

Yes, there might be fewer grants that might apply, but these were never the main driver of businesses deciding to go for an ISO standard. (Indeed, when Qualitation tried to interest organisations in grants that were specifically available, the reaction was that the grant was nice to have but that the determination of whether or not to go for the standard was independent of the availability of the grant).

The point remains that the cost of taking on an ISO is actually one that is quickly repaid and repaid and repaid as the impacts of the ISO systems make themselves felt. And the more an organisation takes on the ethos of the ISO standard, the more and the faster the effects are felt.  And that is true whatever the UK decides on June 23rd! 

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Qualitation's new video on the ISO Process - have a look and then give us a call on 0845 600 6975 #ISO   #isoconsultancy   #iso9001  
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Welcome! Qualitation is new to Google Business. We are an ISO Consultancy covering the whole of the UK and abroad.   #iso9001quality   #isoconsultancy  
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