What does ISO certification mean?

By Ron Baugh, Quality Assurance Manager

Our Industrial Services division just received its third, three-year ISO 9001:2008 Certificate of Registration.

For those of you not familiar, ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization and is a widely recognized, quality-management system that helps ensure we meet strict customer and regulatory requirements.

For those of you who are familiar, we had an excellent audit this year, with zero “non-conformances” and zero “areas of concern.” Audited annually, we have maintained this level of excellence five years in a row.

First certified in August 2008, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan is one of just 21 Goodwill organizations internationally to hold the certification. (There are 165 separate Goodwill organizations in the U.S. and Canada, with a presence in 14 other countries.)

So what does being certified mean and why is it important? Our Industrial Services division contracts with area manufacturers to provide light industrial services such a packaging, kitting, and assembly. Many local companies (such as automotive suppliers) require its subcontractors have ISO certification to even be considered for the work. Certification opened us up to a greater pool of customers, which translates into more paid work for our program participants.

Additionally ISO’s quality management system helps us manage our industrial operations and provides the foundation to better customer satisfaction, staff motivation, and ongoing improvement. ISO helps us achieve consistent results and continually improve the process for effectiveness and efficiency.

We survey our customers regularly, and certification has shown an increase in customer satisfaction. Since certification, we have also experienced a growth in sales, as well as a stronger financial performance. It has allowed us to diversify and add new customers.

Most importantly, for the people that we serve, it means more work opportunities for our center-based employment programs. Our program participants are happier when they are busy working and what a joy to see their faces come payday! They are so proud of their weekly paycheck and appreciate the value of that paycheck. I love walking through the work center on payday and being part of their gratification as they show me their paychecks and say, “Ron look at what I’ve earned from all the good work I have done!”

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