In this blog we talk about the steps to get ISO certification.
1. Understand the Standard
The first step is to get a thorough understanding of the particular management system standard that you want to be certified to.
When you develop that understanding, you will start to know what's required by the standard and how you can demonstrate that you meet it.
2. Document and Develop Your Processes
The next step is to document and develop your processes and your management system, identifying how you meet the standard's requirements.
3. Implementing Your Management System
For your management system, you've:
- Designed it
- Developed it
- Identified the core processes
- Documented it.
You now need to implement it.
You need to spend the time communicating, consulting and training.
4. Spend Time Getting Objective Evidence
When you progressively implement your system, you need to do that over time.
You can't just design and develop the documents, type them up and then get certified the next day.
You need to allow time for build-up of objective evidence that you're going to need to demonstrate to the auditors that you have implemented the system and you've met the requirements of the standard.
5. Select a Certification Body (CB)
In the previous blog, there are some steps on how you can go about doing that and what a CB actually is.
6. Audit Process - Stage 1
Once you have selected a CB, then you going through, a two-stage audit process.
Stage one, sometimes called a pre-audit, is where the CB will send out some auditors to audit your management system against the requirements of the standard.
You can almost think of that as a gap analysis. You can't be certified at that point. But they will clearly identify any areas where your system needs further work to meet the standard.
We tend to recommend to our customers, allow quite a bit of time between stage one and the next stage, stage two.
7. Audit Process - Stage 2
Stage 2 is the certification audit.
At stage two, if you can demonstrate you meet the requirements, then you can be certified by that certification body.
It's worth pointing out that auditors need to see objective evidence.
In auditing you against the requirements in a particular standard, an interview is one of their key sources of evidence as is observing work taking place.
In observing workplace tasks and how they happen, records are of critical importance for auditors. They want to say records where they are required and not required everywhere in the standard, as well as associated documents is what external auditors are looking for in terms of evidence.
If you can demonstrate you conform with each and every requirement of a standard through objective evidence, you will be deemed to be certified by that CB and they will issue a certificate.
At that point, you can communicate that to our customers and the marketplace that we have been independently certified as meeting that particular standard.
9. Maintain System
From the stage two audit onwards, you're going to need to maintain our system.
Every CB comes back once a year to do what's called a surveillance audit to make sure that you are maintaining that system.
Our number one tip, is if you are implementing a management system, seeking to have it certified, it's really critical, and it is emphasized in the standard, to have top management involvement, commitment and get that on-board early.
That may involve a little bit of education of top management so they understand what it's about.
It will be critical to the success of your management system.