How can you obtain your ISO certification?

When you choose for an ISO certification, you choose for a tool to improve your organization, to discover your weaknesses and to continuously improve processes and procedures. It is important that management departments inform and motivate their employees. The decision to apply for an ISO certification and the associated motives should be clear to everyone in the organization. This is the only way to create support and involve all employees. Obtaining an ISO certification is something your entire organization should be involved in!

An ISO certification can add value to your organization in many different ways;

  • due to growth, additional structure is required within the organization. Your organization may decide to use an ISO standard and/or certification to achieve this;
  • clients demand an ISO certification. Clients especially do this to guarantee high quality of the service/ product and to ensure that an external party annually conducts an independent audit;
  • participation in a European tender. This process becomes significantly easier when you have submitted the certificate. With this, you cover many questions that are posed in connection to the tender.

What steps do I take to obtain an ISO certification?

Implementation

After you have decided to go ahead with the certification, you can start to implement the ISO standard. You can involve a third party for this, who can then partially or wholly take care of the implementation process. You can also do it yourself by appointing a quality manager from within your organization.

As soon as the implementation process is complete and the management system has been in place for a minimum of 3 months, you can start with the certification process and the planning of the certification audit. If you would like to assess whether your management system is ready for certification in advance, then we advise you to perform a pre-audit.

Pre-audit

Is your organization ready for an ISO certification?

With a pre-audit/ baseline assessment you can easily determine the status of the certification process. Prior to the (re)certification audit, the pre-audit provides insight in the process and potentially required improvements to successfully obtain the (re)certification audit. The pre-audit can be applied to all standards, both individual standards and integrated standards.

During the pre-audit, our auditor will assess whether your management system (manuals and procedures) complies with the applicable standard. The findings of this assessment will provide an excellent overview of the status of your certification process. The pre-audit will be conducted on-site. The auditor will discuss the findings with you in a conclusive meeting and you will subsequently receive a practical report which will form the basis for your improvement trajectory.

What are the benefits of the pre-audit?

  • Interim assessment in which the status of the certification is determined;
  • Discuss/determine the scope of the certification;
  • Optimal preparation of the (re-)certification;
  • Prevent unnecessary additional costs.

Audit Execution

The number of planned audit days depends on the size of your organization and may vary from 1 -5 days on-site inspection. If you have multiple offices, the auditor will have to visit all offices when conducting the first audit. The audit consists of two parts:

  • phase 1 audit, document check
  • phase 2 audit, the focus will be on the implementation and operation of the management system. The auditor will assess the processes of the various departments and with that, obtain a good overview of the organization, the application and operation.

Where can I pay attention to during my preparation?

During the audit, it is important that:

  • The manual and the processes have been written in accordance with the standard
  • The management review is available
  • The internal audit planning has been created
  • A minimum of one internal audit has been conducted prior to the first certification
  • A risk analysis has been drawn up for and by the organization
  • Continuous improvements are visible
  • Client satisfaction rates are monitored
  • Competences and education of employees are visibly monitored

Furthermore, it is important that all involved employees are informed about the audit and the management is present and involved when the audit takes place.

Based on the results of the study of the phase 2 audit, a decision will be made regarding the certification of your management system. In the case of a positive certification decision, you will be presented with the certificate. Your ISO certificate will be valid for three years. After these three years, a re-certification audit will take place in which your quality system will be assessed more elaborately.

 

Tip:

View the audit as an assessment moment during which you allow an independent party to assess your processes in order to improve and develop your organization. Definitely do NOT view it as a threat or punishment!!

In order for the process to run smoothly we advise you to have all the required documents available or digitally stored in a central location. This will ensure an efficient audit.

As a quality manager it is important that your knowledge remains up-to-date through training, congresses, and updates on standards.