Case Study: ISO CertificationsAvantpage Gains ISO Certifications
As a certified small and minority-owned business, Avantpage prides ourselves on our intimate level of customer service and deep knowledge of immigrant communities.
While larger corporations may struggle to meet this level of personal detail, they do have the resources to demonstrate proof of standards. To further our commitment to quality for the end-user, we sought ISO certifications 9001 in Quality Management Systems and 17100 in Translation Services, unifying our small business style with the promise of quality usually found in larger corporations.
“It was a distinct pleasure working with the team at Avantpage Translations in preparation for their ISO 9001 Certification. Avantpage is a wonderful company with highly skilled professionals who have created a great culture. I highly recommend Avantpage!”
Obtaining ISO can be very challenging. It’s costly, time-consuming, and requires dedicated individuals to be taken away from their everyday job responsibilities. Many smaller agencies cannot dedicate such resources toward these measures. Avantpage is fully committed to the intimacy only a small business can provide and the quality processes that compete with larger corporations. To set us apart and prove our commitment to quality, it became necessary as a guarantee and promise to clients that we become ISO certified. Being a small business is an extraordinary asset, as we can offer a deeper level of customer intimacy. However, small is sometimes seen as a deficit. ISO certification proves that we take processes just as seriously as larger companies, another advantage to our small- and minority-owned business status.
To reduce the costs and overhead that ISO certification typically requires preventing smaller organizations, we needed to be set up strategically with attention to detail. Furthermore, as an ongoing yearly process, we must maintain our methods for sustainable, long-term planning recertification each year.
Avantpage’s Manager of Quality Assurance led the ISO process, and the quality processes required were almost entirely set up. Since many of the methods were already in place, the bulk of the remaining tasks included documenting, finalizations, and thorough reviews. Careful planning and comprehensive management were vital for the initial 14 months, which was done in 18 steps, broken down into five main phases:
Preliminary Research and Planning – resourcing, finances, research, key personnel identified, and gap analysis
Initial Internal Status Review – management review, certification body chosen, rectify initial gaps
Full Scope Project Planning – Establish and implement quality policy, objectives, performance indicators, supporting processes, and internal training
Internal Audits & Corrective Actions – Internal auditing, corrective actions, and reviews
Association of Translation Companies (ATC) Audit for Certifications – Audits performed, final closeout, and awarded certifications
In small businesses where resources might be limited, it’s essential to provide proof of evidence for clients who need to be assured of specific quality procedures.
At Avantpage, our small business intimacy provides our clients with a level of support that larger corporations cannot always match. With ISO certifications, we provide credible, ongoing evidence for clients that small and intimate does not mean reduced quality.
In December 2021, Avantpage officially achieved ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems and 17100 Translation Services. Due to the nature of these certifications, requiring internal alignment, tracking, and accountability, leaders have already noted an improved cohesion amongst teams. Furthermore, our commitment to quality includes continual improvement – and now we are set up to be held accountable for this improvement yearly by ATC.
These certifications are a testament to our unique positioning as a language service provider. We are small, minority-owned, and we offer a level of service and local knowledge of immigrant communities that large corporations cannot. We have proof of quality processes that gives our clients peace of mind. The importance of quality processes lends directly to our quality of output. We understand that without quality, there is no meaningful language access. Our commitment to quality is a commitment to our mission: to eliminate language as a barrier to the success of immigrants.
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