With a significant investment of time and resources, you want your journey to ISO accreditation to be smooth and successful. In many cases, this means working with an independent, expert consultant. It’s an important relationship. So how do you choose an ISO consultant?
If you are searching for an ISO consultant for the first time, you’ll be bewildered by the number of different companies and experts, all of whom promise or even guarantee a smooth journey to ISO certification. Making the right choice of consultant needn’t be difficult.
1. Asking the question: why are you hiring an ISO consultant?
Technically, you don’t need a consultant to bring your ISO journey to a successful conclusion and so rather than needing a consultant, you probably want to hire one to offer support, advice and ideas, as well having the in-depth knowledge of both the process and the ISO in question.
ISOs are suitable for all companies, big and small but for the smaller company, an ISO consultant can be the valuable extra team member that secures the all-important ISO certification.
2. Experience & relevance
There are 21,584 standards across 162 member countries and 788 technical bodies. No ISO consultant can be an expert in them all so looking for a consultancy that has the experience in working with your chosen ISO is essential. For example, ISO 22301 business continuity management shows that your business is responsive and agile in the face of different threats to business operations and so you’ll need a consultant who has in-depth knowledge of this ISO and can apply this to your business.
3 The relationship
You will be working closely with an ISO consultancy and their team over several months. ISO certification will play a pivotal role in future growth and so you want to get it right. There will be bumps in the road and so you need to be confident that your chosen consultant is engaged, available and committed to seeing the process through with you.
This is all about establishing a rapport. Do you feel you can communicate with them and that they really do understand your business?
4 Understanding their approach
The journey to ISO certification doesn’t always have to follow the same path. You need a consultant who has different methods and ideas so that you get the most from the process. ISOs are not about ‘inventing’ policies or changing how you do everything within your organisation but adapting and growing what you have. You need a consultant that has different tools and approaches for doing this.
Rarely limitless, you’ll need to consider budget too when it comes to hiring a consultant. Big money doesn’t always mean the best service just as cheap doesn’t always mean a great service either. You need an hourly, half and full day rate, as well as a ballpark figure of what the final invoice will be. You’ll want to know what is and isn’t included, such as travel costs to site and so on.
A detailed proposal, as well as a contract, will show you what you are getting and at what cost.
6 Case studies
Acting like reviews, case studies are a means by which you can see what other clients have thought of the service they have received, an important tool in confirming you have made the right choice of ISO consultant.