Pursuing system certification is usually the result of:
- Voluntary appreciation of the benefits associated with obtaining certification, or
- A business imperative driven by client or other stakeholder requirements.
So to answer the question; “no, you don’t need certification, but it may restrict commercial opportunity.”
With regards voluntary consideration:
- Whether they realise it or not, whether they are documented or not or whether they are controlled or not, businesses run systems. And the more effective the systems, the better the business outcomes.
- Businesses that operate well defined, documented, communicated, monitored and fit-for-purpose systems need no convincing; they appreciate the benefits and wonder how they would operate without them (McDonalds is a good example of a highly systemised business).
- If a business is confused or impeded by its systems, something is not right – an all too common problem that can be overcome.
Certified or not, a management system is an excellent business management tool. Being certified is simply a means of raising the bar that:
- Requires third-party assessment of your system performance, and
- Demonstrates a level of commitment that may be appreciated by your customers.
As for certification being a client or stakeholder (e.g. funding agency) imperative:
- In this case its simply a matter of “must have”, as a condition of being allowed to provide that product or service.
- Client/stakeholder imposed certification is also a means for that party to address quality assurance needs, without necessarily having to check product/service provider behaviour themselves.
It is similar to why we visit a Doctor when ill. Insisting that the person treating us has medical credentials improves our chances of a favourable outcome. Likewise, dealing with a quality certified provider provides heightened confidence in their product/service.