How Important is the ISO 9001 Certification?

The HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival has twice received the ISO 9001 Certification

22 May 2017, USA ~ The HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Racing Festival has now twice been awarded the Standard of Management Systems, the ISO 9001. Horsereporter caught up with Désirée El Khoury, Managing Director of QMS Engineers from Beirut, Lebanon, who guided the Certification process. Lara Sawaya, Festival Director receives the award for the second time in 2016 in Rome.

“ISO 9001 sets the standard for all management systems, not just quality. It helps all kinds of organizations to achieve greater success, and it can help you to become a more consistent competitor in your marketplace. With an ISO 9001 quality management system in place you can cut costs, increase revenue, motivate staff and win more high value customers.

“The HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival first got the ISO 9001 Certification version 2008 for its quality management system in May 2015 which was announced in Warsaw. Then the Festival’s quality management system was upgraded to comply with the improved requirements of the new ISO 9001 International Standard version 2015 and the certification was issued and announced in May 2016 in Rome.

“The ISO 9001 is an internationally recognized Standard of principles that set out the criteria for organization’s Quality Management System, which if applied will lead to the international certification. It can be used by any organization, large or small, regardless of its field of activity. In fact, there are over one million companies and organizations in over 170 countries certified to ISO 9001.

“The standard helps organizations achieve consistent results and continually improve their processes. It is focused on meeting interested parties’ expectations and delivering satisfaction.

“It evaluates whether the Quality Management System is appropriate and effective, while forcing the organization to identify and implement improvements, and deliver consistent performance.”

El Khoury continued: “I believe that because of the unique vision of HH Sheikh Mansoor and thanks to the amazing persistence and creativity of Lara, the Festival is today regarded as a landmark in its industry field which is naturally attracting eminent sponsors and investors and encouraging them to be part of it.

“I would say that the ISO certification additionally celebrated this outstanding success by imprinting it with the  international signature of excellence, since through having a recognized management standard you explicitly commit to inform all your interested parties that you are serious about their needs and expectations!”

Standard For Excellence

The standard for certification is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement. The certified management system helps ensure consistent, good quality services, which in turn brings many benefits.

“My involvement was to engineer the Festival’s quality management system to comply with the ISO requirements; to name a few tasks sequentially, what was done is the following,” said El Khoury.

-creation of the organizational chart
-creation of the personnel job descriptions
-creation of culture statements, namely the quality policy
-setting the yearly measurable objectives with top management
-creation of the operations process manual namely as regards to organizing races and events
-creation of the quality manual which is the management processes
-following up on implementation
-conducting employee’s appraisals with top management
-conducting internal audits and management reviews
-liaising with the registrar (3rd party) who performed the external audit and after a successful recommendation, issued the International Certification to attest that the Festival’s management system complies with applicable requirements; they are qualified, globally-recognized, third parties to attest that the Festival’s services comply with the quality standards of worldwide organizations.

The Festival has ongoing surveillance audits once a year which I personally conduct internally, and once a year from the certification body that will ensure that the Festival’s management system is still applying requirements and maintaining the certification. Then once every three years the Festival needs to be re-certified, continued El Khoury.

For Editors:
ISO originated from the union of two organizations – the ISO (International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations) and the UNSCC (United Nations Standard Coordinating Committee).

In 1946 over 25 countries met at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London to create a new international organization, where the objective was to ‘facilitate the international coordination and unification of industrial standards’. From this, the new organization ISO began operations in February 1947.

The word ISO is derived from the Greek ISOS meaning ‘equal’. As the International Organization for Standardization would translate differently across different languages it was decided that the short form name for the organization would be ISO.

Today the ISO has grown to a confederation of delegates representing over 150 countries and has published over 16,500 international standards. They meet on a regular basis to further develop new and existing management standards.

Each standard supports its own benefits within every industry, however the common benefits across the certifications include: widened market potential, compliance to procurement tenders, improved efficiency and cost savings, higher level of customer service, and therefore satisfaction, and heightened staff moral and motivation.

An ISO 9001 certification can be achieved by any business of any size, in any given sector, which is looking to increase and enhance business productivity and performance.

Like this article? Désirée El Khoury can be found at

Photo: Rome, Italy, 2016 The HH Sheikh Mansoor Festival when Ziad Iskandarani, Certification Manager of Bureau Veritas awarded the ISO 9001-2015 certificate to the HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, the first and only one in the UAE to receive this honor. The Certificate was received by Ms Lara Sawaya, Director of the Festival, and Mussalam Al Amri on behalf of the Festival.

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