Accreditations and Certifications you Should Involve in Your Print Tenders.
Looking out for printers with the right certifications is a great way to ensure the printers you’re inviting for a tender will perform well in a number of vital areas. Namely, Information and Data handling, Quality Control and Environmental Sustainability.
Accreditation or Certification?
It’s worth knowing the difference. Any printer that complies with any of the ISO standards below will be certified. Only the approved ISO bodies in each country (such as UKAS, the UK’s only national accreditation body) are accredited to assess the standards and they (or their accredited agents) are the ones who certify printers.
There are over 20,000 ISO standards available, so it can be a minefield to understand which relate to your print suppliers as well as your own business. Thankfully, over the past twenty years Webmart has assessed a wide range of certifications and have selected the three which give the most benefit to both our own business as an expert integrated agency as well as our print-buying customers.
As a company going out to tender for printing work, one particular feature of ISO certification to note, is that all recognised accreditation organisations insist on annual certification checks – always by independent auditors – to ensure printers are performing. Which means you can be happy in the knowledge that certified printer partners are not only adhering to these policies, but the policies are ingrained and being used by staff, and are enshrined in an organisation’s processes.
So, here are some of the key certifications we’d suggest all your successful commercial printers should already have in place:
- IS027001 – Information Security Management System (ISMS)
- ISO 9001 – Quality Management System (QMS)
- ISO 14001 – Environmental Management System (EMS)
- FSC® or PEFC – Ensuring sustainable supply of papers
ISO 27001 Information Security Management (ISMS) and print
ISO 27001 is all about ensuring data is handled and stored securely. If your printer has 27001 certification it means they have the right processes in place to ensure that your valuable data is only accessed by the minimum number of people who absolutely need to access it. It also means that the business as a whole will take handing your data security seriously and will be annually checked to ensure their processes are fit for purpose and that all staff are correctly trained.
In practice, as a customer of a certified ISO 270001 commercial printer, this will mean you’ll see technologies such as sftp, VPNs and encryptions being used throughout. And you’ll know that once your data has been used, it will be safely removed from systems as soon as it’s no longer required (for example Webmart deletes data after 60 days).
ISO 9001 Quality Management System (QMS) and printing processes
ISO 9001 is a particularly important certification because it means your print partner is committed to, not only consistently deliver high quality print for all your projects, but also provide a consistently high level of customer service.
If your printer has been working to ISO 9001 for a few years, it also means any mistakes made in the past will have been noted, addressed and processes improved to mitigate the same problem happening in future.
ISO 14001 Environmental Management System (EMPS) for print
Ensuring printers who are successful in your print tender process adhere to ISO 14001 means their organisation, and any products and services they offer, will have processes in place to reduce both immediate and long-term environmental impact.
For example, Webmart has targets to ensure fleet cars are either very low CO2 emitters or fully electric. We’ve also invested heavily in photovoltaic solar energy to reduce our carbon impact and we have an ongoing long-term investment in our own Scottish forest to create both a carbon store as well as a biodiverse and recreationally-rich environment.
Sustainable environmental practices are increasingly vital on both a global as well as brand level. So, ensuring your commercial printers work to ISO 14001 is a shortcut to ensuring environmental best practices are being used throughout.
FSC® and PEFC Sustainable Forestry, Paper and Print
Slightly different from ISO certifications but worth a mention here, are both the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)® and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Both these organisations relate to sustainable forestry and paper creation, as well as to the printing processes to ensure that your print is environmentally sustainable all the way from tree planting through paper production to the final finished and printed product.
Both processes involve auditing the entire process and culminate in the use of certification logos being printed on each item. That way both you and your customers can be sure the print and paper they’re holding are entirely sustainable.
Not only is it a great tool for ensuring your brand is environmentally responsible but it can enhance your brand among your more environmentally conscious customers, leading to further customer loyalty and profitability.
Of course, there are a plethora of other ISO certifications out there, but if you’re looking to ensure your next print tender involves only the best quality and most responsible UK commercial printers, we suggest you include printers with these highlighted certifications.