Brexit and Why Certification to International Standards will be Crucial for Irish Business

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) is warning Irish businesses, particularly those who trade with Britain, that certification to international standards will be crucial and “an absolute must” when Britain leaves the European Union.

The most popular international business standards are Quality Management (ISO 9001) and Environmental Management (ISO 14001) with over 1.5 million organisations certified worldwide. In Ireland over 2,500 organisations are certified to these two key international standards.

Head of Business Excellence Certification at NSAI, Fergal O’Byrne said he expects more Irish organisations will seek certification to these two international standards in the coming year, as certification is a requirement for thousands of Irish firms who tender for contracts in Britain.

“If you’re trying to get into new markets and you don’t have certification to the Quality Management System standard, in particular, you simply won’t get on the tender list,” Mr. O’Byrne said.

“With Brexit looming, it appears that British pre-qualification requirements for tendering may begin to demand certification to ISO international standards as a prerequisite. With this in mind, now more than ever, certification to the Quality Management standard ISO 9001 and Environmental Management standard, ISO 14001 will become crucial, especially if you are exporting into Britain or tendering for British contracts,” he added. 

According to a recent Behaviour and Attitutes study of over 250 business leaders in Ireland, 83% said they believe the application of standards has enabled them to get easier access to international markets, while 85% agreed that multinational firms are more likely to do business with an Irish company that adheres to internationally recognised standards.

“For many Irish organisations, achieving certification to international standards offers a real boost but for those seeking business abroad, certification is an absolute must,” said Mr. O’Byrne.

“Achieving certification will not only bolster your chances of winning public contracts but will also make bidding for contracts quicker, easier and cheaper. Certification automatically proves to the contracting authority that you meet certain quality assurance standards. This therefore removes the requirement for you to answer lengthy questionnaires about your business processes or compile realms of paperwork,” he added.

NSAI will be holding a series of free half day information seminars for organisations who wish to find out more about how they can achieve certification to these two key international business standards in Quality Management and Environmental Management.