How you achieve ISO 9001 if I am honest will depend on who you speak to. I’m not suggesting that anyone would cut corners but in our experience the approach can be slightly different depending upon who you speak to, therefore, what I will do is point you in the direction of how we here at Synergos Consultancy would get you successfully ISO 9001 certified by following 6 easy steps.
1. Choose your ISO 9001 Consultant
We wrote about this in a recent article click here. In summary, you are looking for a consultant that will not only have the relevant experience but, who can provide you with a clear path to certification; has a good track record; is driven to succeed and become part of your team, as well as having the right industry knowledge.
2. Start to develop your ISO 9001 quality management system
The ISO 9001 standard provides guidance on what you need to implement if you don’t already have the process in place. The following provides an overview
- Identify potential internal and external issues
- Document and demonstrate your understanding of your interested parties and comply to appropriate legislation/regulations
- Senior management are required to demonstrate their commitment to ISO 9001
- Develop your quality policy
- What risks, opportunities, objectives and planned changes have you recorded and how are these being monitored.
- Ensure the right resources are in place
- Demonstrate the control processes necessary to fulfil customer requirements
- Evidence how you manage external providers
- Collate and review customer feedback
- Conduct documented internal audit(s) and an ISO 9001 review of your quality management system.
Once your ISO 9001 system meets the requirements of the standard, you are ready to proceed to booking your approved certification body.
3. Register with a certification body
If you are looking for an approved UKAS certification body, I have to say they are simply hundreds to choose from, all ranging from size, price and location. Most certification bodies will have an auditor within your local area. So, how do you choose one? The important point to remember is that you appoint a certification body that meets your requirements for example, do their auditors have experience in your industry; do they have the right credentials to certify to ISO 9001; can they audit you in the timeframe required.
Before appointing a certification body, do your research. It’s a huge investment and picking the right one for your business will be worth the time spent to give you the results you need.
4. Complete Stage 1
You have made it. You have chosen your UKAS certification body and your ISO 9001 quality management system is now ready for assessment. Your auditor will spend a minimum of 1 day with you at your premises to review all the documentation that you have developed.
At the end of the day, you will be provided with an audit report of all findings, whether it’s perfect or you need areas to be improved, but I hope it’s all perfect. This is your opportunity to embrace all feedback and make any necessary changes in preparation for your final stage 2 assessment if applicable.
5. Complete Stage 2
At this stage, you will have completed any necessary changes identified during your stage 1 assessment by your UKAS certification body. There’s no going back at this stage. You have to be 100% ready for this in-depth audit of your ISO 9001 quality management system. Depending upon the size of your business will depend upon how many days your auditor will spend with you. If you carry out services away from your office, then your auditor will also need to witness these services, but this will have been arranged earlier on in the process, so there won’t be any surprises.
At the end of your audit, you are waiting for these most important words ‘you are being recommended for ISO 9001’. Time to celebrate. Well done!
6. Be prepared
Now all the hard work in getting you this far has paid off and the celebrations have carried on right into the weekend, it is time to re-group and prepare for your surveillance audit to be carried out by your UKAS auditor in a few months’ time. This will vary from 9 to 12 months depending on who you appoint. Preparing earlier rather than later is a much better approach. There is nothing worse than leaving the review of your ISO 9001 quality management system until the last minute to cause a headache and potential stress.
How can we help you?
If you’re in need of assistance with any aspect of ISO 9001 certification or any other ISO standard, here at Synergos we’d be delighted to discuss this with you. Whether you have questions about the path to certification or are looking for advice and support to maintain an existing standard call 01484 666160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to talk it over with you.