Working out the return on investment of ISOs

Working out the ROI on ISOs

There are several possibilities for your business to become accredited and certificated. Some are compulsory, others are voluntary whilst others are ‘nice to have’. They all take time and investment of money and resources. ISOs are no different in this respect but how can you determine the ROI of ISOs? Are they worth it?

Not an unreasonable question

Asking what you really get in return when you complete a piece of certification is not an unreasonable question to ask. However, measuring the true return on investment can be difficult, especially when you are unsure what you are seeking to measure.

Experts suggest examining return on investment not just in terms of financial gain but on what else a certification can deliver;

  • Prevention costs – there are many ISOs that can impact on your business, many of which help to minimise and streamline processes. Prevention costs that stop issues occurring with training, standard, quality and so on all help to minimise adverse impact on your business.
  • Appraisal costs – some ISOs, such as ISO 9001 relate specifically to quality management. As a result, quality management systems are put in place that can replace physical checking and auditing of products and systems, saving both time and money.
  • Internal failure costs – when a process fails or there is a weak link in a process, rectifying the issue can be costly. It can mean that work is scrapped, for example. Re-working also costs time and money but again, ISOs can be the tool that prevents much of this happening, promoting efficiency and improved costs.
  • External failure costs – when you fail to deliver or you fail to meet customer expectations, they may take their business elsewhere. ISOs can prevent costly external failures, welcome news for any business or organisation.

Prevention is better than cure

The saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ applies to the business environment. Preventing issues throughout the production process can save time and money but will also go some way in protecting your business’s reputation too.

There is one issue with preventing problems from arising and that is the difficulty in ‘seeing’ the difference the preventative measure has made. In other words, how do you place a figure on ‘saving your reputation’ when you have no real idea of how it would be affected?

That said, you can understand how spending more on preventing things from going wrong does impact on your business. Your reputation for producing quality time and again will always stand you in good stead.

There are studies that attempt to place a price on this kind of process, however. The American Society for Quality, for example, suggests that for every $1 spent on preventing problems occurring in the first place will see an additional $3 in profit.


If we work on the same assumption, ISO certification could triple your profit! This is a general, sweeping statement but the message is clear. By taking steps to reduce costs, prevent failures and protect your business reputation, ISOs deliver an ROI that is a truly effective investment in your business.

How can we help you?

If you’re in need of assistance with any aspect of ISO certification, here at Synergos we’d be delighted to help. Whether you have questions about the path to certification or are looking for advice and support to maintain an existing standard call 01484 666160 or email and we’ll be happy to talk it over with you.

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Steve Kilburn
Steve Kilburn
I initially trained as an industrial chemist working in a variety of manufacturing environments eventually moving into quality management which grew to encompass environmental and occupational health and safety management systems. I hold a Masters Degree in Health and Safety law and Environmental Law and a Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Waste Management and I am a Graduate Level Member of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). In my spare time I enjoy reading, my favourite author is Stephen King, and listening to music, generally from the late 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
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