How gaining multiple ISO Standards can bring new business opportunities
Operating for over 35 years, their initial objectives were to grow the business and provide the best possible services to their clients. Sue Parkinson, Compliance Manager at PSL, tells us “More recently, the health and wellbeing of our staff, carbon footprint, and social value offering have become important considerations.”
Benefits of ISO Certification
For many businesses, it may not be immediately apparent how gaining certification can be valuable. Having successfully achieved ISO certification to five different standards (ISO 9001, ISO 27001, ISO 22301, ISO 14001 & ISO 45001), PSL has found there have been considerable commercial benefits, including having access to business opportunities that may otherwise not be available to them.
The business was recently awarded the prestigious EcoVadis Silver Medal, recognising its strong sustainability and social responsibility performance – and ISO 14001 assisted significantly with this. They also gained a place on several high-profile frameworks such as the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) and Health Trust Europe, for which it has been a mandatory requirement to have a diverse range of ISO certifications.
“Having five ISO certifications also allows us to demonstrate that PSL has been independently verified by Alcumus ISOQAR, which is one of the most recognised and respected UKAS-accredited certification bodies. This offers a competitive advantage over other businesses without the certification,” says Sue. “In almost every kick-off meeting that I have with public sector customers, they ask about our data security. I am very thankful that we have our ISO certifications and can proudly share these with everyone in the meeting.”
As well as being a huge advantage, and indeed in many cases an essential requirement from a client perspective, PSL has found that the ISO certifications have improved their own internal working processes and made them a better, more professional, and more considerate business in terms of impact on their surroundings, the environment and the people they work with and for.
Jim Gilliland, Managing Director at PSL tells us, “It is also a huge statement by PSL to our clients as to how seriously we value and respect quality, health and safety, data protection, business continuity, and the environment in our industry.
“ISO certifications are vital to our success in winning and retaining business in the public sector. Not only are most of them mandatory requirements for a pass/fail mark on tender submissions, but they are imperative for building and keeping the customers’ confidence in our processes and integrity as a key long-term supplier.”
In particular, being ISO 27001 certified demonstrates to all that PSL is committed to protecting its organisation and its information from common cyber security threats. “Having an ISO 27001 certified ISMS (information security management system) has assisted PSL in achieving our Cyber Essentials, Cyber Essentials Plus, and regularly exceeding the required standards for NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit,” says Thomas Moss, IT Manager.
In 2020, like many businesses, PSL was faced with the challenges of entering the unknown. Their ISO 22301 Business Continuity Plan was therefore invoked and assisted them through the unfamiliar territory of the pandemic.
“The value that this certification added was immeasurable and made the business continuity of PSL so much more effective. We continued to trade throughout the pandemic as a designated Essential Provider and part of the supply chain for the NHS, UK Police Constabularies, and online retail companies Amazon and Pharmacy2U. Without ISO 22301, this may not have been possible,” says Sue.
“We did our research back in 2017, looking at several UKAS-accredited certification bodies. Five and a half years later, after also moving our ISO 9001 from a previous certification body and implementing our Integrated Management System, we know we made the right choice with Alcumus ISOQAR,” says Sue.
“We would have no hesitation in recommending Alcumus ISOQAR to potential future clients and our own supply chain who have ISO standards. We look forward to working together in the years ahead on our IMS and possibly implementing additional ISOs.”