After having been directly involved with numerous ISO certification exercises we have developed a concise guide of do’s and don’ts to help you prepare for the rigorous, yet rewarding experience of getting an ISO certification. Our advice stems from years of experience in the certification sector and research of international best practices.
Before we begin, it is important to remember that the following constitutes general advice. Very much depends on the specific ISO certification you are working towards and the scale of involvement of staff and internal processes.
What you should do to prepare for ISO Certification
If you are unsure of the unique benefits of obtaining ISO Certification or are unclear on which ones are most appropriate for your organisation, you should first get in touch with STEP. Our team of professionals can help guide you through the process and provide advice and direction.
Once you are satisfied with where you are heading, it’s time to prepare for the process.
Before certification can be awarded, your organisation must undergo thorough checks and implementation. Your consultant should be able to provide you with a Project Plan for the entire process.
This Project Plan should include the following information:
- Fees – The consultant should estimate the overall costs of the exercise and, together with you, establish a payment plan that covers both consultancy and certification. In some cases, additional costs may apply, such as any capital investment to comply with ISO 14001: Environmental Management Systems.
- Team – Typically, staff involvement is limited at the start of the implementation period but increases as the organisation nears certification.
- Timetable – It is important to look throughout the entire term of the process to determine potential delays as a result of vacation leave, external factors or other influences.
We highly recommend that you involve your team as early on as possible. By being clear on the objectives being sought and the benefits that these will bring, you will have a much higher probability of getting everyone’s support. It is also important to inform key individuals who will be directly involved with the implementation what their responsibilities will be and how much of their time is required.
It is important that you communicate with your consultant and inform him or her about any upcoming large projects or shutdowns. You should also keep in mind that your team might be especially busy during particular months, such as tax month.
ISO Certification is an arduous effort that requires everyone involved to collaborate. Being led by an experienced consultant does make all the difference, however, it helps if the team is also resilient and flexible.
What you should not do as part of your preparations
We would certainly not recommend that you perform management by crises. Do not leave planning up to the last minute, as this will inevitably lead to delays, increased budgets, and staff frustration. Remember, one of the benefits of getting ISO certified is having a systematic approach, so you might as well start immediately.