Awards for business excellence are difficult for SMEs to achieve. This paper describes the case of a Merseyside SME that gained ISO 9000 certification in 1991 as well as a Business Excellence award from Excellence North West. Despite these achievements, the organisation soon became aware that business growth could not be absorbed into the ISO 9000 standard and resources for continual improvement were non existent. In order to comply with the new ISO 9000 requirements this situation would have to change. The paper details how the new ISO 9001 guidelines are facilitating the re‐definition of standards within the business and how, in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University the company is undertaking business process re‐engineering, identifying key performance measures at both managerial and operational levels, to establish a learning culture to promote continual improvement. The paper offers a model for the management of an ISO 9000 system within a SME, and documents the many lessons learned from the study.
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