- Do I need certification or is compliance sufficient?
ISO certification and compliance can often be confused. It is important for you as a business owner to understand what you need as more often than not, compliance is sufficient for most purposes. Do your research to find out whether certification or compliance is the right fit for your organisation.
- Should I get certification?
ISO certification or compliance can be confusing to many organisations. The question about whether or not to get certification is a common one and should be justified on the return of investment you are likely to make as it can be a costly expense to establish and maintain. Here are four questions to ask yourself to help you understand whether or not certification is right for your organisation.
- Should I get ISO certification – a lighthearted approach?
There are several reasons why a business owner or organisation may consider getting ISO certification or opt for compliance as an alternative. Here we take a lighthearted approach to ascertain which of these choices may benefit your organisation in the long term.
- How does the certification process work?
While the certification process may appear complicated at first, it is basically a set of 10 steps starting with a gap assessment and ending with a triennial or recertification audit every three years. Knowing the process in its entirety will help plan for both budgetary and time constraints which may impact your organisations certification.
- How close I am getting to ISO certification?
A gap assessment done by a qualified consultant can take the guesswork out of ISO certification and compliance. For a minimal fee you can have a clear idea about how compliant your business is to meet ISO standards. There are a number of gap assessments available, so do your homework and choose the one to best suit your organisation and circumstances.
- How long will the process take?
While the timeframe can vary for each organisation and their individual circumstances, in general you need to allow at least 3 to 6 months, giving your organisation a chance to benefit from the systems you have created. On top of that you will need to maintain at least 2 to 3 months of records to show the maturity of your system to meet the audit requirements. Again this timeframe is dependent on whether you engage a consultant or plan to take the DIY route.
- How much does the certification cost?
The cost of certification will depend on a number of circumstances, including whether or not the system can be set up internally or requires the help of a third party consultant. The price can also be affected by the size of your company, level of risk, staff involvement and the current system already in place. There is also the additional expense of engaging a third-party certification body to conduct an audit. While these can add up considerably, there are ways to reduce the overall cost using the variety of options available to you.
- How much will setting up an ISO compliant management system cost?
Setting up an entire management system for an organisation is a project which requires a significant investment of both time and money. However there are varying budget options available ranging from the low budget through to the high budget option which will determine the overall system cost. Choose from one of three options depending on your time, level of interest, skill and budget.
- Why can’t I do it myself (DIY)?
You most certainly can take the DIY route if you choose to do so. It is perfectly possible and in some cases more desirable, to set up your own business management system should you have the right criteria in place. If you are looking to DIY, then you should seek professional advice at the start by way of a gap assessment to ensure you are on the right track. We also recommend that you have someone do a health check of your completed system before attempting the pre-certification audit.
- Who can certify my organisation?
An organisation can only be certified by an accredited certification body, of which there are over 35 third-party organisations in Australia. All accredited organisations must adhere to strict guidelines laid down by the national accreditation body. Failure to use a non-accredited body may lead to noncompliance of ISO certifications, wasting both time and money.
- Do I only have to do ISO certification once?
When it comes to ISO certification and compliance, there is definitely more than meets the eye. The short answer is ISO certification involves ongoing maintenance as well as external input by way of maintenance audits on at least an annual basis. There are also triennial or recertification audits which need to occur. Continuous improvement is essential in getting the best value out of an ISO system.
- The puppy analogy and the key to success in getting ISO certification.
Would you believe us if we told you that new puppies and ISO certification projects have a lot in common? Both projects require research and considerable expense while at the same time creating disruption as well as an adjustment and settling in period. There is also the ongoing expense and discipline which needs to be taken into consideration. Failure to commit to either project will waste both money and time and fail to reap any rewards which might have arisen from the completed project.
- Where can I get ongoing support?
ICS are able to offer you complete and ongoing support throughout the entire compliance or certification process. We are committed to providing assistance and answering any questions you may have at any time during the process. We are also happy to provide you with free ISO systems advice; contact us for more details.
- What is the best way to become an ISO consultant?
While knowledge of ISO systems is useful from an employee perspective, unfortunately it is not a sufficient building block on which to base a career as an ISO consultant. You will need to undertake a training course in your field of choice followed up with sufficient work experience as an auditor or consultant in order to be taken seriously by clients or consulting companies. Consider your options carefully and pay attention to growth areas in your particular field of interest.