The rewards when you achieve ISO Certification can be plentiful and include business improvements, competitive edge and access to bigger tenders, but it can also involve a significant investment of both time and money.
So how can you be sure you are ready for ISO Certification before taking the plunge and booking your external audits?
Do you Understand the Requirements?
Firstly, make sure you fully understand the requirements of the standard you are implementing and how they apply to your organisation.
As ISO Standards are designed to be applicable to all types and sizes of organisation, sometimes the language can appear a bit vague, so take time to look at how others in your industry have implemented the requirements.
Engage an ISO Consultant
An ISO Consultant can help you interpret the standard, provide template documentation and conduct full internal audits to make sure you are ready for certification.
Internal audits are a requirement of management system standards and, if carried out by a competent person, can identify weaknesses that might be picked up at an external audit, allowing you to manage them through your corrective action process.
An internal audit will look for objective evidence that you are complying with your own polices as well as the requirements of the standard.
Again, management review is a requirement of the standard and can be used to connect the stakeholders of your system with the leadership of the organisation.
This helps to give another perspective on the system and ensures that it is embedded within your organisation.
Get a PreAudit Assessment
If you still feel unconfident about the external audit, Resilify.io provide a PreAudit Assessment service, using qualified lead auditors to exactly mirror the experience of an external audit.
You will receive a PreAudit report with recommendations on how to improve your system, as well as how to best approach the audit for example.
Get 10% off a Resilify.io PreAudit by quoting this CertBodies.co.uk blog.
Fully Utilise the Stage 1 External Audit
The stage 1 external audit should be used to assess your readiness for the certification audit, and while it is not considered a pass or fail audit, the outcome may affect the date of your stage 2 assessment.
Most organisations will focus on resolving any non-conformances raised, and as these are generally the more serious issues that does make sense.
However, auditors will often raise Opportunities to Improve (OFIs), which are not mandatory but you should take seriously.
Stage 2 Success!
The stage 2 audit is slightly different in that the auditor will be seeking objective evidence, much like the Internal Audit, and therefore it is more likely that there will be discrepancies in processes and supporting evidence.
However, providing that the issue does not represent a complete breakdown of the system, auditors will usually only raise minor non conformities or opportunities to improve, which can be answered with a corrective action plan and closed out at the next audit – therefore do not delay your certification.
Choose the Right ISO Certification Body
As you can see there are many different ISO Certification bodies, each with slight different approaches and expertise.
So while they all deliver a similar service, you should carefully consider your options. We have tried to list as many certification bodies on our website as possible, however we can not capture them all.
If you are still unsure about the process or which ISO Certification Body to choose, contact our Cert Bodies team who will be happy to help.