Keeping to (ISO9001) standard

March 19, 2021

Dot Dot Dot has just renewed its quality certification to the ISO9001 standard. This means we have demonstrated to an external, independent auditor that we have a consistent way of doing things. Fundamentally it’s about ensuring that we operate in ways which ensure that our services meet our customers’ needs and that our services have a clear standard which we strive to achieve every time.

So, asks our Chief Executive, Peter Brown, what does this mean in practice and what does it mean for our team? How does this show up if you’re a property owner who has a building managed by Dot Dot Dot?

The value of a QMS

Our quality management system is focused on the core of our work: enabling buildings to be safely lived in by carefully-selected property guardians for as long as needed. And having clear processes that mean we can hand buildings back to our clients when those buildings are required for their next purpose. So our quality management system covers the range of tasks and activities that our team use to prepare buildings, to make sure that guardians are always housed safely and to legal standards, and, of course, to hand buildings back when the time comes. 

It’s no surprise that we need to follow the law to make sure that buildings are safely and competently managed, and property guardians are housed safely and in a way that is consistent with legal requirements. But there is value in setting this out clearly, and our quality management system does this, as well as making sure that new legal requirements are understood and embedded into our operating processes. And in some cases we choose to go above and beyond what the law requires, so in those cases, these are included in our processes.

Much of how we ‘do’ quality management happens behind the scenes, and because we have had a quality management system since 2016 is firmly woven into how we already operate. We’ve always done a careful and ethical job and tried to do right by our clients and guardians, and our values have always guided us. So one way to consider our quality management system is that it provides the extra technical detail which our team must follow to make sure that our services are consistently high quality. This reflects in much of our client feedback, which often says that we are a reliable and trustworthy service provider. In turn, this is why we are trusted to manage millions of pounds worth of property assets at any one time.

Practically, our quality management system enables us to:

1. Meet our customers’ needs

It’s important to me and to our team that we meet our customers’ needs and expectations. Having a set of clearly defined standards means we can consistently deliver to our clients’ expectations and – just as importantly – we can be clear and transparent about what clients can expect when they work with us. It’s also a principle within the standard that we should be ready to adapt and update our standards in line with our clients’ changing needs or requirements. Through our regular client conversations and account management processes, we are always interested to hear how we can do better and differently, and we consider how to incorporate feedback. Whilst most businesses say they want to adopt continuous improvement, having a systematic way to do this takes it a step further.

2. Improve performance

Because we have done the work to clearly and unambiguously set out the standards to which all of our processes should be delivered, it makes it easier to deliver on that commitment every day. All of our team members and managers know the standard to which our core processes should be delivered, and are aware of why this is important to our property owners and to the business more widely. Equally, aspects of this same set of standards show up in how our performance is measured at a senior level and within our governance framework. This all feeds into property owners experiencing a high level of attentive service when they choose to work with Dot Dot Dot.

3. Give confidence

I think a big part of choosing to have a quality management system is that it gives confidence – both externally and internally – that we are committed to doing a good job, and that we are working within an established framework to work with and understand quality. And that’s even more important in an industry where we sometimes see corner-cutting and a lack of transparency, especially around safety issues. I hope that the fact that Dot Dot Dot has a quality management system gives all of our stakeholders confidence in our service.

4. Contribute to our culture

The most successful quality management approaches are ones that are firmly embedded in the culture of the organisation. For Dot Dot Dot, we always strive to do a high quality job, so our quality management system helps us assure ourselves and others that we are continuing to do just that. A quality management system that is disconnected with the way an organisation thinks and acts will most likely fail, since it becomes a tick box exercise.

We have been lucky to work with Jennifer, Julia and Bird at ISO Quality Services to look at how we implement quality, improve what we do and to renew our certification.

Dot Dot Dot has held a quality management certification since 2016. Technically, this is known as ISO9001:2015 and is the international standard for quality management.

If you want to find out more about how we work, you can sign up to Meanwhile Thoughts, our monthly newsletter for property owners.

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