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A Guide to ISO Certification: 5 Things to Know

The current marketing ecosystem is distraught with shifting trends and disruptions that make it difficult for organizations to stay ahead of the curve. Hence, companies must input selective efforts to improve business practices and performance and convey brand value to customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. ISO certification is a valuable asset for organizations that helps establish their credibility and authority in the marketplace. ISO Certification has become a widely recognized and understood assurance mark globally. It standardizes your quality system and ensures the quality of your products/services.

The main incentive for businesses to opt for ISO certification can be categorized into:

  • Internal incentives: It includes practices to streamline, secure, and standardize internal processes. It encompasses measures to reinforce the organization’s efficiency, enhance product quality, and align to standards, among others.
  • External incentives: It presents opportunities for businesses to withstand competitive pressure, align to the ever-evolving modern trends and customers’ requirements, and expand market share, among others.

You can be on track with your ISO certification initiatives by outsourcing support from selected ISO consultants. You can visit https://aegis.qa/ to know more. Utilizing the services offered by a consultant will help you optimally in your certification journey to bring the desired results. While an organization and its leaders are keen to stay aligned to the journey, the lack of resources and competency proves to be a hurdle that can make the path bumpy. The benefits of using an experienced and reputable ISO Consultant are manifold.

Benefits of ISO consultancy

  • Your internal team is prone to envision the processes using subjective views, which can create unforeseen biases. Consultants, on the other hand, bring in their experiential knowledge to leverage best practices, eliminate errors, and use data-driven insights to highlight if you are missing the legal minimums.
  • The consultants enable you to adhere to the given timeline and to deliver within the time frame.
  • Consultants help you address gaps, ensure proper documentation, and enable a smooth certification journey.

Some of the popularly opted for ISO certification are:

  • ISO 9001: Quality Management
  • ISO 14001: Environmental Management
  • ISO 27001: Information security Management
  • ISO 31000: Risk management
  • SO 13485: Medical devices
  • ISO 22008: Food Safety Management
  • ISO 10002: Compliant Management System
  • ISO 26000: Social Responsibility
  • SA 8000: Social accountability
  • SO/IEC 17025: Testing and calibration laboratories
  • ISO 639: Language codes

Five Steps to ISO Certification

  • Pre-Assessment: It is crucial for organizations that are initiating their certification journey for the first time. It is performed on an as-needed basis. It provides a head-start to dive into the certification process. The certification body will perform an initial review to assess your company’s scope, policies, procedures, and processes. The pre-assessment will help reveal any potential weaknesses requiring remediation or attention that may pose problems later.  
  • Stage 1 Audit: In the first stage of the audit, the Certification Body will review your organization’s documentation to ensure its conformation with the ISO standard. It helps validate if the quality system and activities are ready for the stage 2 audit. If not, the stakeholders modify the procedures, policies, and documentation before moving on to the next stage.
  • Stage 2 Audit: The second stage audit helps check if the system conforms to the relevant ISO standard. The certification body will interview, inspect, and observe processes to determine if the organization is ready for certification. The exposure of any nonconformity requires the organization to remediate it before proceeding.
  • Surveillance Audit: On achieving ISO certification, the organization must input efforts to ensure the continual success of the certification. The certification body conducts annual surveillance audits to establish ongoing conformity with relevant ISO standards. Thus, it will ensure continual compliance.
  • Recertification: ISO certification has a validation of three years post the issue date. You need to apply for recertification and undergo the certification process again. To re-certify, you will not have to undergo a stage 1 audit. It initiates the stage 2 audit and includes surveillance audits, followed by certification.

How much does ISO Certification cost?

The complexity and size of your organization and internal processes determine the costs to develop and register a formal management system. Using external consultancy enables you to streamline processes and contribute to cost savings. It helps cover the critical requirements and eliminate the possibility of errors. ISO certification broadly covers the following costs:

  • Developmental cost: It includes the time invested in the documentation and implementation of the system. You need to get access to copies of the standard, and the team must invest time to understand and learn the requirements. The more efficiently you can approach the certification process, the better you can manage the costs.
  • Employee Training: You need to train employees to efficiently take on the tasks and performance activities for certification. They will thus be able to prepare necessary documents, plan, and conduct internal audits.
  • Other Costs: ISO certification also encompasses other costs for registration, external audit, and surveillance audits. It depends on the project scope, the number of locations, and several shifts, among other factors.

To Conclude:

Initiate your journey to ISO certification to build brand authority, credibility, and integrity. It will help convey brand value to customers and enable to establish trust in your services, thus providing you with a competitive edge in the market. It enables your organization to open avenues for growth and success.

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