New quality mark to raise standards for Irish business

Kilkenny People Reporter

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Kilkenny People Reporter

New quality mark to raise standards for Irish business

A new quality mark, aimed at assuring customers and suppliers that Irish businesses meet the highest standards of service and trust on an ongoing basis, has been launched at Croke Park.

The All-Ireland Business All-Star accreditation is an independently verified standard mark for indigenous businesses based on rigorous selection criteria.

The accreditation has been launched following the success of the All-Ireland Business All-Star Awards, which this year attracted 800 entries from businesses nationwide.

The All-Ireland Business Foundation will be responsible for identifying and accrediting best-in-class Irish businesses, overseeing both the awards and ongoing accreditation and promoting peer dialogue.

It will also create an active community of progressive businesses and ambitious business leaders who work together and openly share knowledge.

Those companies that come through a rigorous process to attain the Business All-Star standard become part of The Register of Irish Business Excellence (Tribe).

Ongoing Tribe gatherings via the CEO Forum, All-Ireland Business Awards and Accreditation and the Foundation’s annual flagship event the All-Ireland Business Summit will allow members to share experiences, explore opportunities and grow business both locally and internationally.

The Foundation’s adjudication panel is chaired by Dr Briga Hynes of the Kemmy Business School at the University of Limerick and Kieran Ring, CEO of the Global Institute of Logistics, with an advisory board made up of a panel of volunteer judges, mentors and business experts.

“The Foundation exists to identify and support best-in-class indigenous businesses over a long-term basis,” said Mr Ring.

“It allows them to attain and, most importantly, maintain the highest verified standards for the benefit of both businesses and consumers.

“It is about giving piece of mind to the people who mean it when they say that they run customer-centric businesses.

“A business owner is normally three steps away from a customer’s first contact, and they need to be sure their company operates to the highest standards.”

Once a company applies for Business All-Star accreditation they go through a six-step process.

“We evaluate a company’s background, trustworthiness and performance, and we speak to customers, employees and vendors. We also anonymously approach the company as a customer and report back on the experience,” said Mr Ring.

“The business goes through at least two interviews and is scored on every part of the process against set metrics.

“Our aim is to develop customer-centric companies, and to give honest independent feedback to businesses to help them maintain that level.

“Business All-Star accreditation is independent verification that all of your people-facing parts are working well.”

The Foundation will promote its accredited businesses to Irish consumers, giving them confidence and reassurance when making their purchasing decisions.

“We believe that the Business All-Star accreditation is going to be a true quality mark for indigenous Irish businesses,” said David Briody of Briody Beds, who unveiled a range of All-Star branded mattresses at the launch.

A chance conversation through the All-Stars network between Briody Beds and fellow award winner homecare provider Comfort Keepers has led to plans to develop a range of dual-use beds that preserve all the comforts of home with all the features and functions of a hospital bed.  

“As a business, we are very concerned with setting standards, but those standards need to be constantly measured,” said David Briody.

“We have been looking for something like this – an accreditation process which is tough, externally verified and allows us to constantly measure our performance.”

Many businesses are already using the All-Ireland Business All-Star brand as a badge of quality, according to Elaine Carroll of the Foundation.

“Our accreditation is not easy to obtain, and, because we approach companies as customers, many businesses use it as an external health check,” said Ms Carroll.

“When we provide a detailed level of feedback to companies they find that it is the small things that have the biggest impacts on vendors, suppliers and customers.

“The accreditation process takes a minimum of six weeks from start to finish and applicant companies must be trading for a minimum of three years.”

Further details available at businessallstars.ie