The distributor, which has held various versions of the ISO quality standards for facilities and processes since 1999, moved up from the 2008 standard over the four months, and decided to move up to the 2015 version to stay on the cutting edge.
Sukh Randhawa, vice president of business operations for Tech Data Canada, said going to the ISO 9001:2015 certification is a differentiator for the distributor, especially with its integration centre, long a key part of its strategy and approach, which skews much more towards enterprise customers, who are likely to be more interested in the certifications of suppliers, and in this case, the suppliers of suppliers.
Integration centre customers, Randhawa said, “are typically expecting organizations to upgrade and update to the latest quality standards much more so than smaller customers. We wanted to be proactive in that.”
While the ISO certification of a distributor isn’t likely to be the deciding factor in the choice of distribution, Randhawa said it can be a definite benefit to solution providers bidding on big deals with enterprise customers, and especially public-sector opportunities, in which the certification on an RFP may be a benefit, or even a pre-requisite.
But by and large, it will be the same experience for most Tech Data Canada customers, Randhawa said. “We pride ourselves on the level of customer satisfaction and level of on-time delivery we offer, and they won’t see any change to that,” he said.
To make the new specification, the distributor first had to take a baseline of where it is currently at. Fortunately, coming off compliance with the 2008 ISO, moving to 2015 “didn’t mean major capital investment in infrastructure,” but rather a refinement of processes and procedures, all vetted by a third-party auditor.
“It’s mostly an investment in time, in documentation, and then in training and education of the workforce,” Randhawa said, adding that the distributor’s quality management team had a person dedicated to the upgrade effort for four months.
Randhawa described it as a feather in Tech Data Canada’s hat that the Canadian subsidiary is the first unit of the company to move to the 2015 certification. Stateside, the distributor is on 2008, and “is working to upgrade to 2015,” Randhawa reported, while he said that according to their third party auditor, the Canadian subsidiary was not only early amongst its peers in Canada, but “quite early in the game in Canada, period.”
“Usually, they give you about three years to move up. But it was important for us to get ahead of the game and do it quickly,” he said.