How to choose an ISO certification consultant?

Selection of an ISO consultant is very critical as the quality of developed systems and the approach to implementing and maintaining those systems truly depend on the quality of the consultancy provider. So price alone should never be the criteria, rather balance it with the following factors

  • competency of the consultant(s): academic & professional qualifications, memberships & certifications, # of years in consultancy work, experience in a particular standard, sector experience.
  • time and human resource allocation: development and implementation of management of systems in the context of an organization are time taking, so make sure they commit sufficient time (days).
  • methodology e.g. a system that is a copy/paste or developed in an isolation or in consultation with a single person can never be effective as most probably it will not be owned in letter & spirit by the process owner; it is therefore, important to do one-on-one consultation while developing the systems.
  • independence: choose the certification body yourself and not upon recommendation of certification as this will have a check on the ‘quality’ of work done by the consultant
  • check the market reputation e.g. google reviews, testimonials of their previous clients

Increase in audit time of all management systems:

  • complicated logistics involving more than one building or location where work is carried out
  • staff speaking in more than one language, hence requiring an interpreter
  • very large site for the number of personnel e.g. a forest
  • high degree of regulation
  • highly complex processes

Decrease in audit time of management systems:

  • the is no design function or the client is not design responsible
  • a relatively small site for the number of personnel e.g. office complex only
  • maturity of the management systems
  • prior knowledge of the client management systems e.g. already certified to another standard by the same certification body
  • client preparedness for certification e.g. already certified

Note: if the audit is conducted in accordance with IAF MD 11 this justification is invalid as reduction will be calculated from the level of integration.

  • high level of automation (not applicable for OH&SMS)
  • staff includes a number of people who work “off location” e.g. salespersons, drivers, service personnel, etc. and it is possible to substantially audit compliance of their activities with the system through review of records (not applicable for OH&SMS).

The reduction of audit time of management systems shall not exceed 30% of the times established initially as per IAF MD 5.

  • enhanced corporate image and reputation.
  • the context of the organization is determined to define as to who might be affected by your work and what they expect from you; this enables you to clearly state objectives and identify new business opportunities.
  • put your customers first, making sure you consistently meet their needs and enhance their satisfaction; this in turn will lead to repeat customers.
  • work in a more efficient and effective way as all your processes will be aligned and understood by everyone in the organization; this increases productivity and brings internal costs down.
  • meet the necessary statutory and regulatory requirements.
  • expand into new markets, as some sectors and clients require ISO 9001 for registration and/or participation in the tendering process.
  • identify and address the risks and opportunities pertaining to your business.
  • better communication and awareness among staff through process mapping, defined hierarchy, and job descriptions; this improves the working atmosphere, reduces the pressure of work and hence more involvement of staff.
  • through monitoring, measurement, analysis, and evaluation, you’ll have data on your hands that will help you in facts-based decision-making.
  • continual improvement is inherent in this standard.