ISO management system certification is a stressful and time consuming process that most successful companies must follow. However daunting the process might be, there is no doubt that it will make the company function better and may play a role in its overall success. Since it is important to get ISO certification and follow quality management rules, why make the process even harder? Here are some tips and steps to follow, if you want to your certification implementation to be easy and almost stress-free.
Making the right choice
The first step for any organisation is making sure that the standards that have been chosen to follow are the right fit for the specific needs of the company. ISO rules might be strict, but there are various programs and quality management systems that help you get certified. Work with what you have and improve, instead of completely rebuilding your company’s philosophy. It will make the process of certification easier to you, your employers and anyone engaged in the implementation stage. It is also useful to find a handbook which breaks down both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards in an accessible and understandable way. Such handbooks were issued by the International Organisation for Standardisation, so it shouldn’t be that hard to find.
Implementing an ISO management system shouldn’t be focused solely on the management. Instead, it should be a company-wide target developed by senior management. Ongoing effort from everyone working for the company will ensure creating correct habits from the early stages and will be, in turn, the starting point for good implementation process overall. Every employee should be aware of the reasons why ISO certification is so important and what benefits will it bring for the company. Training courses for everybody invested in the process are a helpful tool as well.
There are many Certification Bodies that control your certification process. Their visits are usually once a year and the whole process takes three years, so be prepared and choose a right Certification Body for your needs. Remember that the ISO standards are generic, so you really have some freedom while developing your own management system. Conducting regular audits and checking if the Quality Management System implementation is functioning as planned will make the whole process a lot easier. There are two mandatory audits with a person from the Certification Body. The first one is there to highlight the problems, the second one to assess if they were tackled and everything functions right. Don’t neglect them. Don’t treat the certification as a mandatory chore – make the most of it as it is you who really benefits from good management system.