What is ISO 9000 and Why Should I Care?

Many of our customers have never heard of ISO 9000, so naturally it is unclear to them exactly what it is or why they should care. Being certified for ISO is a significant accomplishment, and Whiteflash is proud to be the only retail jeweler that we know of with this distinction. And it has meaningful benefits for customers considering Whiteflash for their important diamond and jewelry purchases.

What is ISO 9000?

ISO 9000 is an international quality management and continual improvement system. In order to become certified a company must commit significant time and resources to developing an ISO compliant regimen of documenting their operational processes and tracking any issues, errors, or non-conformities that impact customers. The critical aspects of the business are comprehensively mapped out in a way that they can be fully understood and audited, and they must be updated as the business evolves or changes. This also provides a way for any person in the company involved in a particular process to understand how all the pieces fit together and their particular role in the operation. As such, these process maps and work instructions provide an important resource for training.
When an error or quality problem occurs that reaches the customer (that is, is not caught and remedied by the ISO quality control system internally), that issue must be thoroughly documented. On a certain schedule ISO requires that those documents are reviewed and a determination made as to appropriate corrective actions to prevent such occurrences in the future.

Why ISO 9000

Most companies that commit to the rigorous requirements of ISO are in fields where any errors could be catastrophic, such as medical device manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, or materials and installation of public infrastructure such as roads and bridges. These are cases where errors can literally be life and death. In some cases, companies require that any vendor wishing to do business with them be ISO certified, which becomes the impetus for many businesses to become certified.
This probably explains why Whiteflash is unique among jewelry retailers for our ISO certification. Nobody will claim that diamonds or jewelry are life and death matters. Nor is ISO certification required to provide jewelry to the public. But precision cut diamonds and engagement rings are extremely important life commemorating moments for consumers, and as such deserve the greatest effort possible in getting everything right.

Annual Audits

Achieving ISO certification is a monumental undertaking involving literally every person in the company. But certification is an ongoing process that requires passing multi-day, annual reviews by ISO 9000 auditors. Documentation is carefully checked to verify compliance. Interviews are conducted with employees to verify that they are fully engaged and understand the quality system. Any deficiencies found in the audit must be remedied before re-certification is granted.

Years of Continual Improvement

When you deal with a company that has been ISO 9000 certified for a significant number of years, you know that continuous improvements have been made and that every quality issue has been reviewed and addressed. If you are considering making a significant purchase, knowing that you are dealing with a company that has made a full commitment to accuracy and quality, and is devoted to best practices and the customer experience, you can have great confidence that you are dealing with a reputable and reliable business.

Why ISO 9000 Should Matter to You

An engagement ring is not only a very expensive item, but it is also has extremely important emotional value. Therefore the reputation of the company you are dealing with is of paramount importance. You want to know that the information and representations made by that company are honest and accurate, especially if you are buying online. You want to know that the quality you are investing in will be the quality that is delivered, and that any issues you may experience will be dealt with professionally and conscientiously.
ISO 9000 certification does not guarantee that a mistake will not be made, but it provides assurance that the likelihood is much lower than if such a rigorous quality management system was not in place.
Nearly all companies claim they are fully dedicated to customer care. But how do you really know that they are not just saying that in order to get your business? Certainly peer reviews from other customers that can be found on third party review sites such as Google and Yelp provide some assurance, and things like membership in the American Gem Society and the company’s record with Better Business Bureau are important. But a company that does the hard work and invests the time, money and resources to achieve and maintain ISO certification is proving their commitment to their customers in a very specific and direct way.
Venn Diagram
The integrity and quality of a business can be represented by the VEN diagram above. The best companies are those that are defined by the intersection of a high level of talent, operating by best practices, and an adherence to core values (represented by the diamond in the center overlapping ‘sweet spot”). When the practices are defined by the ISO 9000 Quality Management System, their team is a veteran group of GIA and AGS accredited jewelry professionals, and they are guided by a set of Core Values that has Delivering a Brilliant Experience as its North Star, that intersection is one you can count on for your most important purchases.

Achieving the Highest BBB Honors

One of the most celebrated honors that reflects this intersection of talent, practice, and values is the Better Business Bureau Awards for Excellence. Whiteflash has been a Winner of Distinction each and every year since 2004. Over that time Whiteflash has not only maintained an A+ rating, but has been named the Pinnacle Winner multiple times, honoring the single best company in each business category. This annual competition is judged by business veterans on the basis of product quality, integrity, social responsibility and customer care.
Whiteflash BBB Pinnacle Awards
Naturally Whiteflash is proud of our BBB honors. The competition measures us against some of the finest jewelers in America operating in the fourth largest market in the US. But honors and awards are just the reflection of what really matters to the Whiteflash Team, and that is providing outstanding products and excellent care to customers making important life affirming purchases.
*The term ISO 9000 is a kind of shorthand. Just like the companies they certify, the ISO regimen evolves and changes over time. Periodically their requirements change and a new updated version of ISO is established. Technically Whiteflash is certified for ISO 9001:2015

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