Implementing ISO in a Large Company Versus a Small Entity

Implementing ISO in a large company

When implementing ISO in a large company or a small organisation, the standard must be followed throughout. This means that the standard makes no exceptions for size, complexity and other factors that differentiate one company from the other. All companies need to follow the same standard.

Therefore, it is completely up to the consultant or the people within the organization to define the best way to interpret the requirements for the benefit of the company. Of course, when dealing with a larger company, more processes and complexities are bound to exist, thus, making compliance harder to achieve. However, that does not necessarily mean that all small organisations have it easy. The ultimate aim is to be compliant and see tangible improvements in the company.

The ultimate difference, as defined by the EU, is that a large company is one that employs more than 250 employees. Meanwhile, a medium sized company is any company which employs less than 250 employees and more than 50 people. A small company employs up to 50 employees while a company is labelled as a micro organisation when it employs ten people or less.

So, if we are to keep in line with the definitions as set by the EU, when talking about a large company, the entity employs more than 250 people. Therefore, there are different departments and these different departments all serve the company in a particular way, shape or form. For example, you have the accounting department, you have the quality department, you have the marketing department and you have other departments that are ultimately responsible for the supporting functions of the main activity of the organization.

What this means is that we have two sides to a large business; where the supporting services are needed for the successful operation of the day to day operational activities of the company. It is important to note that the latter tends to have the highest volume of employees per department. Let’s think about it for a bit.


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So if we have two sides to a large business, do we need to do twice as much work when Implementing ISO in a large company?

So if we were to consider first the production unit of an organisation, many people would form part of this unit. Hence, these employees are bound to share the same job title, which means their work is interchangeable and we are not really concerned with the number of people following a process. Rather we are interested in the process itself. If, for example, we are a manufacturing company and we have 300 operators, we’re not really concerned with the number of operators per se. We would be much more concerned with the type of products and assembly features these operators are doing.

So when it comes to size, remember, both a micro organisation and a large organisation must adhere to the standard to become compliant. Thus, when we talk about size, we should not really be concerned with the actual number of people but with the processes that they are doing.

This means that even for larger organizations, with significantly big operational departments, we do not need to have countless bureaucracies. But, what matters most is that the key steps of what needs to be done to meet the requirements of each client are clear. That way, each of these operators can accurately understand what is expected from them in each step of the value chain.

When it comes to other departments, those that support the main activities of an organisation, ISO does not need to be applied to them, irrelevant of how big the company is. The reason is that the scope of certification for ISO implementation focuses on the operations that give value to clients. If we are a manufacturing company, that value is the product itself and its quality, not the accounting department.

However, if these departments are to be included in the management system, together with the operations, there needs to be one complete management system covering all different departments. You might want to consider the different departments as separate companies offering services to the production or operational aspects.

So, you can start with the sales process, which is an internal sale of how the request is being generated from one department to the next. Then we have the purchasing process, which is when you are acquiring resources to do what you actually need to do. And lastly, there are the operational processes. Here, you must dictate or explain step by step the requirements of what needs to be done for the process to be fully completed.

So when implementing ISO in a large company, we shouldn’t be daunted by the fact that it’s a large organisation. Rather, we just have to perceive it as a matter of integrating different implementations of ISO standards through the different departments. So we have to split the organisation into the activities that it does to define all the processes. Then you can start the process as you would for a smaller entity, but instead of going through that process once you go through that process with each of the different departments.

Pretty straightforward, right? Hope this makes the subject of implementing ISO in a large company a bit more easy to digest.

WANT  TO LEARN MORE ABOUT Implementing ISO in a large company?

As an ISO management system consultant Luke Desira will make it his personal mission to put your company in a class above all others! Read more about how to get ISO certified with Luke Desira here. Otherwise, you can also read about the difference between implementing ISO in a large company versus implementing ISO in a small firm.

If you are searching for information on different types of ISO certification, read more here, and find out about the 10 pitfalls that you may encounter during the implementation process of different types of ISO certification.

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