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4 essential steps to ISO certification

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International standards are an important strategic tool that can help your company tackle some of its more pressing challenges.

While obtaining your ISO certification requires an investment of time, money and effort, it will allow your company to benefit from improved processes and controls while providing you with additional credibility with customers.

How much does it cost?

The costs for developing and registering a formal management system vary depending on the size and complexity of your organization and your internal processes.

  • First—There are developmental costs, namely the time spent documenting and implementing the system.
  • Second—There are costs associated with training employees to prepare the necessary documents and to plan and conduct effective internal audits.
  • Third—There is the cost of registration, which includes conducting the audit and registering the management system. The cost depends on the number of locations, the scope of work, the number of shifts and so on.

You can reduce some of these costs by using an external consultant, especially since this reduces the risk of starting down the wrong path or missing critical requirements of the standard.

As a general guideline, it usually takes eight to 18 months from inception to registration, with the average being 12 months.

Depending on the maturity of your existing management system, the size and complexity of your organization and the scope of registration, it will cost between $12,000 and $50,000 to implement a formal management system, plus the costs of the registration audits, which usually run between $2,000 and $30,000 per year.

How do I get certified?

Before you can get certified, you will first have to develop and document your production processes, implementing the correct procedures to ensure you can maintain your quality standards.

Here are the four essential steps to becoming an ISO-certified business.

1. Develop your management system

  • Identify your core or business processes.
  • Document processes with the involvement of employees.
  • Review, approve and distribute the documents to those who need access to the information.

2. Implement your system

  • Ensure procedures are being performed as they are described in your documentation.
  • Ensure employees are trained properly for the tasks they are performing.
  • Create effective reporting systems to cover inspection, testing, corrective actions, preventive actions, management review meetings, monitoring of objectives, statistical techniques and so on.
  • Monitor the effectiveness of your processes through the use of measurable data, where possible.
  • Review and take action to improve in the areas required.

3. Verify that your system is effective

  • Conduct the audit and review the processes and system for compliance and effectiveness. Observe, interview people and look at sample records.
  • Identify and report strengths and weaknesses of the management system.
  • Take corrective or preventive action as required.

4. Register your system

  • Select the appropriate auditing body for external registration.
  • Submit your management system documentation for review to ensure it complies with the applicable standard.
  • Prepare for review by an external auditor to confirm that the system’s requirements are being satisfied and that the management system is implemented effectively.

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