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ISO a Go-Go

More companies comply with ISO than ever before-not necessarily because they want to. What will pleasing your clients cost your business?

This story appears in the December 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It was July 2000 when John Fris' biggest customer dropped the bomb: By the end of 2001, Holland, Michigan-based Fris Office Outfitters Inc. would have to comply with the international quality documentation standard, ISO 9000. Otherwise, the customer would start looking for another office products supplier.

"The first thing we thought was the terror of possibly losing them," says Fris, 46. But after researching the request, he decided his company would make efforts to become compliant with ISO 9000 but stop short of certification. "I had originally thought we'd just get certified and there would be nothing to it," Fris says. "But after asking around, I decided that the costs associated with certification aren't necessary at this point."

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