Small business standard
The small business standard is the UK's first quality standard tailored specifically to SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises). It makes an ideal first step on the road to ISO 9001 or the excellence model
The Small Business Quality Management Handbook
The Small Business Quality Management Handbook is a basic guide for managing product and service quality in a small business and is available for CQI Company Members only. For more information please contact our dedicated Company Member's Account Manager, Sue Cotter : firstname.lastname@example.org
The CQI's Small Business Standard
View the CQI's Small Business Standard in PDF format
Quality builds reputation and a good reputation builds the business but for most small businesses the route to creating a quality management system is not easy. The current entry level is ISO 9001and this is a bridge too far when you don’t have the resources or in-house expertise to implement it. Being forced into ISO 9001 certification for contractual reasons can cost the small business up to £9000 in consultant costs - a disproportionate amount of their annual turnover. Other quality management practices, such as Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma and Total Quality Management, also require either a high level of in-house expertise or consultant support.
About the CQI's Small Business Standard
Small businesses face many challenges, particularly in the harsh business environment of today. Not least is that Small business = Small team = Pushed to their limits. Despite this it has been estimated that at the start of 2012 there were around 1.3 million small companies in the UK, contributing a not insignificant amount to our GNP. The CQI’s report, "The Contribution of Quality Management to the UK economy", showed that organisations that implemented Quality Management Practices could expect to get a return of £6 for every £1invested and a cost savings of £16 to £1invested. These figures are impressive and you would imagine that every Small Business would be running to catch the gravy train but it’s not that easy. When it comes to support for developing a basic quality management system there is very little available. There is no standard set at entry level. This is where the Small Business Standard comes in. It is designed to be at entry level, to be implementable without consultant support and to provide a learning platform from which the small business can later expand and develop other quality management practices.
Developed by a group of CQI members the standard replaces an earlier version. It has now been brought up to date with newer quality concepts. The development team faced several problems, not least the avoidance of jargon and providing explanations at a level that could be understood by someone without a strong background in Quality Management. It doesn’t try to reinvent ISO 9001 and uses a quite different structure, a structure more suited to its purpose and end users. It begins with Focusing on customer needs with Management actions delivering these with appropriate Processes. These interact to create the Quality Management System.
Working together to create a Quality Management System
Supporting the standard is “The Small Business Handbook of Quality Management”; this takes each requirement and explains why it should be done and then how it could be done. Like the standard it has been written in an easy to read style. It is not overly complex and long-winded; it explains the possible ways to start placing quality at the heart of a business where it is a completely new concept.
Together the standard and the handbook fill a substantial gap in the market for Quality Literature at the entry level. They will help the Small Business begin the quality journey. There is a very clear need for the Small Business Standard and the CQI has met that need.
If you would like more information about the standard and accompanying guide or require any further information or assistance, please contact our dedicated CQI Company Member's Account Manager, Sue Cotter at: