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How Difficult Is it to Become ISO Certified? (Part 2)

Posted By Doug Strock, Monday, July 18, 2016

(Originally Posted on February 26, 2015)

Welcome to the second and final part of a series on ISO 9001:2008 Certification. Now that you are beyond the initial idea that ISO is too difficult, costly and time-consuming, you are seriously considering pursuing certification. So what is the next step?

There are some critical decisions you must make early on such as:

  1. Why am I pursuing ISO (or any other standard) certification?
  2. Which Registrar should I use?iso-certification

If you are pursuing ISO strictly as a marketing tool, thinking it will increase your business just because you have that logo on your site, that path will lead to disappointment and frustration. If you are pursuing ISO because you feel it will help you run a better, more efficient business and deliver better service to your customers, now you are on the right path.

Your choice of Registrar is important because it will impact the training available to you, how thorough your initial, surveillance and recertification audits are, and how much faith customers place in your certification. Do your research carefully considering the items mentioned above, speak with others who are ISO certified and get their opinions based on their experiences.

The “magic” of being ISO certified to any of the ISO standards as they apply to quality management is bringing an attitude of innovation, efficiency and standardization to your work environment. If you are like many small businesses, you do your best to keep up with the daily workload, and occasionally, some employees have strokes of sheer genius and find much better ways of performing a given task. They may even mention it to a co-worker or a supervisor (who will then take credit for it), but typically that is where it ends. One person performs that task much better than everyone else doing the same task, and a small measure of efficiency increases. That employee moves on, does not document that great idea, and departs with it. The supervisor doesn’t quite remember the details of how it was done, and now everyone else doing that task is struggling to reinvent that same wheel. With ISO, that improvement is documented and incorporated into the process for that task, and everyone benefits. It truly is a mindset that changes a company’s behavior and makes it a better company if done right.

Many times, customers or vendors will ask you to make exceptions to your standards. When you are ISO 9001:2008 Certified, you can firmly tell them that you are required to adhere to your standards because of your certification, and it would violate that to give them an exception. This happened recently when a potential new vendor asked me to reduce the size of the sample file we require for skill assessment. The result was the vendor completed the skill assessment in its entirety.

The update to ISO 9001:2008; ISO 9001:2015 is currently on track for a September 2015 release.

Tags:  certification 

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