Lloyd`s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA)

© ISO Management Systems, www.iso.org/ims
Standards and
certification must deal
with critical business
Lloyd’s Register Quality
Assurance (LRQA)
by Mike James
ed ing
The third-party certification and assurance industry
needs to play a proactive
role in helping to ensure that
organizations of all sizes are
able to run their business in a
safe, responsible and sustainable manner. The current economic situation makes that
a more difficult proposition,
but not a less important one.
Safe involves Health & Safety
and Security, with both issues
being more prominent when
staff numbers are reduced
and economic pressures are
Responsible is all about making sure that business are
leading the way in ethics,
quality and product conformity.
Sustainable is about the future of organizations, industries and the planet. Carbon
footprinting, business continuity, the environment and
organizational resilience are
amongst the areas where assurance providers can provide valuable assistance to
organizations in helping
them to improve their sustainability.
ISO Management Systems – March-April 2009 19
© ISO Management Systems, www.iso.org/ims
In the 25 years that the global third-party certification
industry has existed, it has
evolved and grown from a
“tick in the box”/“certificate
on the wall” industry to one
that addresses business critical issues to help organizations improve their efficiency and ensure that they are
protecting their brand while
meeting the needs of stakeholders.
As proven during the economic downturn of the early
1990s, certification and assurance are crucial to an organization’s ability to survive and
even thrive during difficult
economic times.1)
For many larger global organizations, research has
shown that assurance services can help them streamline
their business during lean
times, making them more efficient during the downturn
and better positioned against
their competition for the inevitable upturn in the business climate. 2)
For small and medium-sized
organizations, research has
proven that being certified
against a wide scope of management system standards
will allow them to compensate for their loss of existing
clients by enabling them to
tender for new business that
requires certification as a
qualifier. 3)
This will allow them to expand their potential client
base, again helping ensure
their survival during tough
times and providing a competitive advantage for the
ensuing economic rebound.
20 ISO Management Systems March-April 2009
Integrated service
Organizations are expecting
their assurance provider to
offer an integrated service,
which goes beyond simply
providing a certificate and
delivers a measurable difference to the brand. To meet the
needs of organizations during the economic downturn,
the assurance provider of the
future needs to meet several
criteria :
1. Be clear as to the benefits
of certification and assurance. It is no longer enough
to offer “a certificate on the
2. Provide a level of assurance
that supports organizations,
both in their industry as
well as across all of their
global locations
3. Have the capacity to link
to other relevant systems,
both within and outside of
the organization
4. Offer assessors who truly
understand the specific industry that the organization
is involved in, as well the relationship to their local surroundings. In other words,
an assurance body needs
to offer industry expertise
with local knowledge.
Management systems and the
global standards that measure and monitor their consistency and effectiveness have
to continue to evolve. They
have to be flexible enough to
anticipate as well as respond
to changes in the overall business environment, as well as
help organizations proactively
deal with their business critical issues.
The future is about
staying competitive in
a safe, responsible and
sustainable manner
Mike James is Managing
Director of Lloyd’s Register
Quality Assurance (LRQA),
United Kingdom.
E-mail enquiries@lrqa.com
Web www.lrqa.com
Assurance providers need to
demonstrate a clear understanding of the potential risks
and opportunities in the business world. Each of the most
widely implemented management systems standards, including quality, environmental
and health and safety, have the
potential to significantly affect
both an organization’s brand
reputation and value.
LRQA has always invested
in supporting the work of the
technical committees charged
with developing the next gen-
eration of management systems standards, schemes and
specifications. Consequently,
we have played and will continue to play a significant role
in the development and revision of standards such as ISO
9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22000
and many others.
We have developed an integrated approach, Business Assurance, which takes a holistic
approach to an organization
and its implementation of
management systems. It helps
organizations to maximise
their market share during trying economic times, allowing
them to turn their competitive advantage into increased
profitability during better economic times.
The future of third-party independent assurance is about
much more than the certificate
on the wall, it is about helping
organizations to stay competitive while meeting the needs
of their stakeholders in a safe,
responsible and sustainable
1) Sources : Fitter Finance: the effects
of ISO 9000 on business performance
and Setting standards for better
business, two pieces of independent
research sponsored by LRQA during the
1990s, shortly after the last economic
2) 69 % said that certification led to
gains in productivity and increased
efficiency. Source : Setting standards
for better business, based on interviews
with 400 quality managers and senior
managers from mechanical engineering,
food, services and electronics sectors.
3) 69 % of managers said that
certification helped them to bid for new
tenders. Source : Setting standards for
better business.