For an organization that places the customer at the heart of everything it does, ISO 9001 plays an integral part in the ongoing success of Virgin Media Business. It provides a platform to deliver a quality service to more than 50,000 U.K. organizations including 250 public sector organizations, as well as opening the doors to new business.
Fittingly, for a business at the forefront of developing innovative services and products, Virgin Media Business was an early adopter of the ISO 9001 Quality Management System.
The company first achieved certification at its headquarters in Hook, Hampshire in 1992. Since then it has been rolled out across the country with multiple Virgin Media Business sites certified to the standard.
ISO 9001 is now engrained into the business ethos. It has become an important management tool for the company, which employs more than 1000 staff and had a turnover in excess of £600 million in 2013.
“Our approach strives to embed and demonstrate best practice, something our customers from all industries expect,” commented Eva Newberry, Quality Assurance and Improvement Manager.
Certification to ISO 9001 is a recognised way of improving company performance and streamlining management processes. It allows businesses to have effective controls in place to manage customer requirements – a crucial element for Virgin Media Business.
“Certification is massively important to our customers” commented Paul Mitchell, Customer Operations Director. “It is a window into how we operate. It is a must for customers and in my opinion you will lose business by not having it.”
With more than a quarter of a century elapsed since it was first implemented – the QMS and its outputs have changed significantly - something Eva believes has been crucial to its success.
“The beauty of ISO 9001 is its flexibility. It has evolved as we have changed our structure and processes,” she said. “It is continually moving and has had to be flexible to make it fit for purpose. Internally, the QMS has brought further rewards. It enables us to understand all of the processes that we have in place and strip out the unnecessary procedures” adds Eva. “This has increased operational excellence within the business and helped us deliver better services for our customers.”
“Certification allows you to understand what your business does in terms of customer focus. Once you have that in place you can improve on it and deliver ongoing quality management.”
Traditionally, businesses certified to ISO 9001 have a site audit every three years. However, Virgin Media Business has a process in place to have key sites visited on an annual basis.
“Working with NQA on an annual basis suits our needs and allows us to implement continual improvements in projects and programmes,” continued Eva. “When we were looking for a certification body we wanted a collaborative approach and NQA certainly give us that.”
“If you see something you have done yourself you see what you expect to see. It’s easy to be insular so it’s good to have someone who doesn’t see what we do every day and approve our processes.”
Virgin Media Business now want to become one of the first UK business to be assessed to the revised ISO 9001 (2015) standard, which comes into operation in September 2015.
Jon Howell, Lead Assessor at NQA added; “Virgin Media Business is committed to delivering the best possible service and has implemented a robust set of processes with a clear customer focus.”