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ISO stands for International organization for standardizations. Why do standard matter in Agua Fabrics?

AGUA FABRICS LIMITEDAgua Fabrics is a privately owned company based in London. Thecompany has built its reputation in the healthcare, education,leisure and custodial markets by providing quality products andexcellent service to customers for over 70 years. The origins ofthe company date back to the 1930’s, supplying linens, textiles anduniforms to the health service. As the linens and textile marketbecame more commodity orientated, the company began to develop abranded portfolio of products. In 2002 the Agua brand was createdto encompass a collection of waterproof upholstery fabrics. Thecompany chose to implement ISO 9001 because it is the world’s mostestablished quality framework. ISO 9001 seemed an appropriate meansto demonstrate that Agua Fabrics had processes in place to monitorand improve performance in the purchase and supply of textileproducts in their expanding product portfolio. ISO 9001certification also provided independent assurance of reliability tocustomers. Agua Fabrics selected BSI as its certification partnerdue to the reassurance that BSI’s market-leading position and brandreputation would give to its customers.Agua Fabrics made initial investigations at the end of 2007with the process getting underway at the start of 2008. The firstcertification was achieved in September 2008 and then extended inJanuary 2009 and February 2011 upon review. Agua Fabricsacknowledges that changes to internal systems and processes wereinitially met with some resistance. Staff had concerns about thepotential increase in administrative duties. However, benefits soonbecame apparent once the new systems were implemented whichassisted with staff buy-in. Involving staff in the development andimplementation also helped.ISO 9001 certification is becoming a pre-requisite for manycustomers. Certification therefore meant new business opportunitiesand increased profits for Agua Fabrics. Adhering to the ISO 9001framework enabled the company to simplify some internal processesand improve efficiency. For example, the retrieval of data neededto follow up customer queries was made easier and quicker leadingto improved customer relationships. Regular reporting on debtorsreduced debtor days by five, which also impacted positively on cashflow. By introducing the practice of minute keeping businessmeetings became formalized which kept the management team focusedon their objectives and helped with supplier negotiations.Highlighting the significance of key performance indicators alsoboosted internal motivation to achieve and improve results.

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