ISO 9001 used to integrate a takeover


A mid-size marketing and communications agency uses ISO 9001 implementation to consolidate a takeover.

The problem

In order to support the planned growth strategy, the company had placed an increasing emphasis on the tendering processes. This had yielded some degree of success; however, it was realised that lack of registration to the internationally recognised quality management standard, ISO 9001, was a significant barrier to entry to obtaining more work from the tendering activities.

The client 

The client is a mid-sized marketing and communication agency delivering a full range of agency services: branding, communications, campaign management, media planning, printing, social media, strategy, TV and film, and web design. Obviously, in providing such a range of services, the talents of various freelancers and other key strategic partners where often called upon.

The approach and the solution

As a result of the problem, the company commissioned Statius to assist not only with the implementation of a management system that met the requirements of ISO 9001 but also to link these systems with a performance management system to drive continual improvement.

However, unexpectedly, part way through the project, an opportunity arose to merge the company with another, bigger, printing company which had a blue-chip customer base. Key advantages of the merger would be that critical sub-contracted services would be brought under in-house control and that a campaign of cross selling would turbo charge the growth process. Due diligence was done and the decision to merge was made.

The original project remit was revisited and expanded to include the enlarged group with a particular emphasis being placed on:

Aligning the thinking of the new management team

  • Creating a common understanding of the new structures
  • Codifying practices, processes and procedures for individual work streams
  • Codifying practices, processes and procedures for how the day-to-day operational processes of the enlarged group would work
  • Redefining the performance measurement systems for individual work streams and the enlarged group

The revised plan of action included:

An initial top team workshop to discuss:

  • The purpose of the enlarged group; that is the benefits and capabilities that could be delivered as a result of the merger to the combined client base
    • The way in which work in the new company should be organised – the way in which work should work
    • Developing a “Core Activity Map™” showing how the work would work; that is how the new company could deliver value to the client base
  • Flowcharting individual processes, for instance:
    • Getting the company known – Marketing
    • Winning work – Sales
    • Delivering the work - Production
  • Establishing the (new) interactions between the different parts of the previous old companies

The outcome 

The plan was accepted, executed and, as a result:

  • A new and ambitious business plan was developed by the new top team
  • Performance measures to each department and process
  • A methodology for assessing the performance was developed

The MD commenting that using the ISO initiative to drive the integration processes made the takeover “significantly less painful than it would otherwise have been”.

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The Easy Choice

“From the initial interview stage, through to a final selection process, it became an easy choice with Statius management being appointed as consultants for SERAPID ISO certification. Clint was integral to us achieving certification and made the whole process relaxed with a very professional approach!”

Simply ISO9001

“Statius took time to understand us, then they made ISO9001 very simple whereas other consultants had made it impossibly complicated”

Mindset management

“This (assignment) has confirmed some things I knew, and that was useful; some things I didn’t and that too was useful. However, most importantly, I guess we all felt a bit uncomfortable at times but now we have a real and robust improvement plan to go forward with.”

Mindset management

“The (performance improvement) work you have undertaken has providing a real opportunity for us to break out of our mindset… I’m just afraid it will stop!”

Streamline and simplify

“I have to say from a personal viewpoint, since you came on board you have helped streamline and simplify our systems brilliantly, and continue to do so, which makes my job much more straight forward, and I thank you very much for all your efforts...”

Securing new business

“Without the help of Statius and the systems and processes developed we would not have secured £27m of framework agreements and term contracts.”

Changing thinking

“Statius challenged and changed our thinking, without them we would never have changed the business model and we’d be far less prepared for sale.”

Integrated management

“Statius’s hands on approach and genuine interest in the development of the Integrated Management System meant that we successfully achieved ISO 14001 certification (at the first attempt) and we shall rely on their future support as we develop our systems.”