1.Do I know what my customer actually needs…? Clause 7.2.1 of ISO 9001 requires determination of “requirements not stated by the customer but necessary for specified or intended use, where known”. The “where known” aspect of the requirement sometimes causes question and comment.
As an example to clarify the point, let’s assume that a client orders from their supplier the same make and model of air conditioning unit that they have always ordered for their UK refurbishment projects, but the order states “for our Brisbane refurbishment project”. Rather than simply delivering a potentially inadequate air conditioning unit, the supplier should determine whether the client actually wants the requested unit, or one that has the capacity to cope with Brisbane temperatures and humidity. In this case, the requirement for an enhanced unit is not explicitly stated by the client, but they have revealed its intended use, and therefore this is “known” to the supplier. An ISO 9001 certified supplier should always be interested in delivering what the client actually needs, rather than simply what they are asking for.
2.Reducing environmental impact and reducing cost for small businesses
It is important that we reduce the impact we are having on the world around us. This is true for us as individuals, families and as social groups. Possibly above all else though, it is important for organisations of all sizes to limit the effect they have. In many parts of the world, working green is being actively encouraged. Moreover, there is much legislation being introduced too, which is becoming increasingly recognized and, inquired about from customers at both a corporate and consumer level. However, there are also those organisations that whilst not obligated by such regulations are still challenged to demonstrate what action they are taking to positively affect climate change. Whilst open to all, it is perhaps for these small and medium sized enterprises that achieving ISO 14001 Environmental Management certification really holds its greatest value. From the design and planning stage of an Environmental Management System, the areas where a business is using too much energy and, more tellingly, wasting its resources become clear. As such, immediate action can be taken to rectify these areas of concern; be it through the responsible disposal, or innovative reuse.