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Nielsen Holdings N.V
Certification Partnership Key to Continual Improvement
Nielsen Holdings N.V. is a global information and measurement company that provides consumer insights for clients in approximately 100 countries.
It is the only business worldwide that presents a 360-degree view of consumer behaviour, including media and FMCG. As a full service provider, it provides much more than raw data, and is known globally for its high quality information and efficient processes that enable timely and strategic marketing insights.
In 2011, Nielsen chose to move its ISO 9001 and 20252 certification auditing services to NCS International (NCSI), for both its Australia and New Zealand operations.
“We were looking to form a business relationship rather than engage just another auditing company,” says Arvid Straates, Global Business Service Client Service Executive (GBS CSE) at Nielsen Pacific.
“NCSI has a strong footprint in the market research sector and understands that the way our business operates is quite complex, from a quality management point of view,” says Sapna Khiani Kumar, Quality Officer.
“A high quality standard underpins all our products and services. We’re a strategic collaborator to our clients, not just an information provider,” she adds.
At a consultancy level, Nielsen’s information and insights are used to support business decisions at an executive and boardroom level, so the integrity and quality of the information is paramount.
Commitment to continual improvement
Nielsen has been certified to ISO 9001 for more than 15 years and was first certified to ISO 20252 in 2003. Arvid says compliance to the highest quality standards is ingrained in Nielsen’s business DNA.
“We asked our clients what was most important to them, and it was quality and on-time delivery. So we measure KPIs on all products and services against those two criteria. We don’t allow more than two percent quality escapes, and more than 95 percent of our delivery has to be on-time,” says Arvid.
These KPIs are assessed continually. For example, every Friday the Commercial Excellence Committee meets, bringing together the two operational and commercial sides of the business, to assess the performance of the previous week’s activity against the two KPIs. If any problems are identified, a root cause analysis is conducted, and the client is informed of the preventative measures put in place to stop the problem from happening again.
Anthea is the lead auditor for this sector and conducted NCSI’s first audit for Nielsen in May 2011.
“Nielsen already has great practices in place at the back-end of the organisation and is certainly meeting the standard. It’s fantastic to see a leading firm in this sector so focused on continual improvement,” says Anthea.
“When we started looking for a new auditing company, NCSI was proactive and made sure they understood our business,” says Arvid.
“Meeting Anthea early on gave us the confidence that we would be forming a relationship with someone who understands our industry—and how important quality and on-time delivery is to the way we work.”
Meeting new quality challenges in the research sector
Arvid says Anthea’s online research expertise has been especially useful.
“Nielsen has a long history in collecting data by telephone or face to face, but online data collection is relatively new for the whole industry. Clients want research results much faster these days, and online data lets us deliver insights quickly. It’s also much more cost-effective,” says Arvid.
Sarah Campbell, Executive Director at AMSRO, sees this as part of an industry-wide trend. “Clients demand faster turn-around on projects to meet reduced deadlines and spend.
“The online sector is convenient and cost effective, and subsequently the fastest growing area of market and social research. Online now represents 40 percent of all research carried out in Australia,” Sarah says.
Arvid explains online research can present much bigger challenges in terms of quality management. “It’s a challenging area to control because we don’t physically see the person providing the answer, and that can make it easier for them to get around validation security measures.”
Online data collection has additional complexity for Nielsen. In 2010, they outsourced online data collection to a global business provider, presenting new issues for quality control.
“Anthea asked the right questions about how we manage that contract and our visibility over the way they recruit and keep their panellists, and whether they’re actually executing the processes as agreed. We need to understand their business as much as we understand our own,” says Arvid.
Anthea also gave Sapna’s team access to some of the latest academic research on control data for online panels, as well as identifying that Nielsen’s commitment to continual improvement was a unique differentiator in the market, and could be better communicated to its clients.
“We would definitely recommend working with NCS; it’s been a very positive experience so far. They’ve provided the added value we were looking for,” says Arvid.
For more information on how NCS International can assist you with your certification, call 1300 856 554 or Request a Quote Online.