Starting The ISO Certification Process
In a global marketplace, checks and balances need to be established. Otherwise, it would be an uphill task trying to sustain quality and consistency across nations and industries. Global standards help to keep a level playing ground, and ISO is one of the organizations that enforce such standards.
What Is ISO?
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an organization that develops international standards. The organization is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and it comprises members from 164 nations who come up with publications that guide all kinds of businesses and organizations in attaining the highest standards of quality in their products, services, and processes.
ISO certification is a seal of approval from ISO that proves that your organization complies with the internationally recognized ISO standards. Therefore, ISO certification is a tool that organizations can use to demonstrate their ability to consistently provide services and products that meet regulatory and customer requirements.
Getting ISO Certification In 6 Steps
While acquiring ISO certification will require an investment of money, time, and effort, it will allow your organization to benefit from enhanced controls and processes while offering you extra credibility with your customers. The following are the four essential steps to becoming an ISO certified company:
1. Pick the Suitable ISO Standards
Today, there are over 22,700 ISO standards for different industries. Out of the many ISO standards, four of them stand out, which are:
- ISO 9001: This is the standard that governs quality management systems. It’s the only standard in the 9000 series that requires ISO certification.
- ISO 14001: This is the standard that outlines the criteria and framework for an environmental management system.
- ISO 27001: This is the standard that focuses on cybersecurity. It enables organizations to demonstrate their commitment to protecting their customer data and preventing cyber threats.
- ISO 45001: This is the standard that focuses on health and safety. It’s put in place to safeguard both the physical and mental health of employees.
It’s good to note that the above four ISO standards have similarities within their management systems. Due to the similarities between them, taking one of these certifications can get you certified for two or more standards at the same time.
All things considered, the first step towards ISO certification involves identifying the ISO standards that are most applicable to your organization and industry. This is to say that the ISO certification required for an auto repair shop is different from that of a plumbing services provider.
2. Choose the Right ISO Certification Provider
Do you need an ISO certification to qualify for a lucrative tender? It may be tempting to jump at the first ISO certification provider that promises a quick turnaround, but it’s prudent to think about quality first.
While there are many certification bodies, not all are made equal. Therefore, the next important step towards ISO certification involves choosing the right ISO certification provider. The following are some helpful tips on how to choose a quality ISO certification provider:
- Check out whether they are accredited.
- Embark on research to verify their reputation.
- Ensure that they are experienced in your industry.
- Ask for case studies to evaluate their success record.
- Ensure that they have the ability to offer the level of support you require.
When choosing an ISO certification provider, don’t put more emphasis on a faster or cheaper option. Instead, emphasize more on the quality of their service.
3. Get Stakeholders Aboard
If the deadline to tender is just around the corner, the last thing you need is stakeholders frustrate your efforts to get things in order. So, after selecting a supportive and responsive ISO certification provider, you need to keep all the other stakeholders in the loop.
Part of getting key stakeholders on board involves conducting company-wide training to ensure that everyone understands the changes that are being implemented and the benefits of ISO certification to look forward to. This kind of awareness will help to strengthen stakeholders’ engagement and ensure that the process of implementing your management system will be flawless.
4. Schedule a Stage 1 Audit
The stage 1 audit is an assessment where auditors evaluate current business processes and give recommendations to help improve those processes. In other words, it is an evaluation that focuses on finding out opportunities so that organizations can put an action plan together. The stage 1 audit report highlights any gaps in your current procedures as well as the necessary actions you need to take.
5. Developing a Management System
With the recommendations outlined in the stage 1 audit report, the next step is to develop a management system. This step involves outlining your business processes and indicating how you’ll meet ISO certification requirements. Then, submit the documentation to the ISO certification body.
6. Stage 2 Audit
After submitting the documents, an auditor will perform another audit in order to establish whether your company has met the recommendations highlighted in the initial audit. If everything is in order, your application for ISO certification will be approved. If not, the auditor will advise you on the next steps to take.
Are you ready to start the ISO certification process? Don’t hesitate to talk to experts so you can learn everything you need to know about ISO certification and ISO compliance.