The transformational process that leads to ISO certification can be intimidating for many business founders or enterprise leaders. That’s the reason why the vast majority of them engage consultants to support this strengthening process.
But, how do you choose the right ISO consultant?
In many ways, the answer is similar to how you would choose a good accountant, architect, or indeed, a good sports coach. You should begin by asking the following questions.
1. Are you the consultant’s first project?
You might not be the very first enterprise to seek the ISO consultant’s services, but if the individual or firm has limited experience in this complex field, your business may stand to suffer.
Having a proven track record is vital, as it increases the likelihood of success.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking a prospective ISO consultant for his or her credentials and track record. If the individual has the necessary competence, he or she would be able to provide a list of clients that would recommend their service.
The best consultants are also eager to include international clients in their portfolios. Having worked with foreign enterprises to attain the necessary process improvement is a clear sign that the consultant has the necessary skills and experience to get the job done professionally and on time.
2. What happens if the consultant is unavailable?
If you’ve ever engaged a single accountant or lawyer, you’ve probably had several instances when projects stall. There could be plenty of reasons for this, from the individual getting ill to having to handle large volumes of work at the same time.
If the ISO consultant is working alone, his or her limitations are likely to impact the efficiency of the process. Illness, being called out to other projects, or taking a vacation can all lead to delays in attaining the improvements that your enterprise seeks.
By hiring a team of consultants instead of just one person, you’ll reduce the risks of project downtime and help ensure business continuity.
Moreover, you’ll also be working on your business and its processes with the viewpoints and experiences of several professionals, not just one person’s.
3. What could go wrong?
It’s an undeniable fact that every project comes with the risk of failure. Ignoring the matter will certainly not resolve it and might even cause disruption later on. Your ISO consultant should be able to identify potential risks and explain what could go wrong with such an endeavour.
Should the consultant shrug off any concerns of failure, there’s a red flag right there.
Similarly, be wary of a 100% success rate or any guarantee that is not backed by facts or a long list of referrals.
Don’t hesitate to enquire about a consultant’s failures in order to understand whether lessons were learnt. An arrogant consultant would blame external influences on such failures, whilst a genuine individual would share how such failures were not repeated.
4. What does the process of ISO certification involve?
There are two ways to answer this question correctly, but one answer can help you identify the ISO consultant that wants to help your enterprise. A pedantic individual would likely focus on the necessary paperwork that needs to be filled in to eventually attain ISO certification.
Ticking the right boxes, however, will not lead to real and lasting quality improvements in your enterprise. An ISO consultant that truly has your interests at heart will instead focus on designing pragmatic and effective processes that can be implemented by your team to reach and maintain a higher quality standard.
You can find out more about the ISO certification process and the benefits to your enterprise by getting in touch with STEP today. Our experienced team is ready to support you by providing efficient and effective consultancy that results in process improvements as well as the appropriate international certification.