For many years THP operated successfully at a local level, leveraging the natural skills of its employees to deliver what was wanted in our immediate communities. However, to grow, my father realized procedurally things would need to evolve. Through further education, my parents learned about International Standard for Organization (ISO) and immediately they knew THP would need to adopt and follow suit if there was a desire for continued growth in and outside Vietnam.
Deciding to make that shift wasn’t simple. Implementing ISO was a very hard cultural change for the whole company. One of the most important steps in the ISO process lies in documenting what tasks each worker performs. This was particularly hard for some of THP’s manual staff. They were used to operating machines, not pen and ink.
However, it was an incredibly important first step in “professionalizing” the company. Once each worker’s tasks and processes had been documented, it was possible to see where the gaps were, and which workers were falling short. THP also now had a blueprint to train everyone across the company to the same standard. The company was on its way to becoming the best-practices and processes-driven company it is today.
Making those shifts – no matter how difficult it is for the company or its culture – are necessary for improvement and growth. Even if you don’t see your business turning into a Fortune 500 company, striving to meet international standards will open growth opportunities you never thought possible. These “leaps” such as implementing ISO standards, communicates to the market what stage a company has reached or the quality of what it is offering.
Regardless of the extent of your global footprint, companies that aspire to be and offer the best are those that succeed. My father sought ISO certification because he wanted to learn how to become a better company. He knew it would be tough to achieve given our stage of development at that time—and it was. Making that leap up the value chain can be a daunting prospect for small businesses. But it is worth it – it certainly was for THP. Learn more from our experience by grabbing a copy of Competing with Giants.