In its simplest form, a gap analysis is exactly what it says it is – an overall picture of where a business is at and what is missing or needs to change. In terms of ISO Certifications, it is an important tool. How do you get the most from a gap analysis?
A gap analysis is a strategic planning tool that will give you a clear picture of where you are, where you want to be and how you are going to get there.
When is a gap analysis undertaken?
Mainly done at the start of a Certification journey, a gap analysis is used to measure what you already have compared to the specific set of requirements in the standard you are seeking for your business or organisation.
Every ISO has a set of specific requirements that need to be met – and maintained – for Certification to be successful. If the systems you have in place don’t meet these requirements, you need to know what the gaps are and more importantly, how they can be changed.
What’s involved in a gap analysis?
The process is a detailed and important one:
Your assessor will:
- Complete an initial review of your operational activities.
- Document where your systems do comply and where they don’t.
- Discuss what needs to happen to fill these gaps by improving what you are doing.
- Identifies areas within a business where resource needs allocating to complete any corrective actions.
From this, you will receive a detailed report that shows exactly where the strong points are in your compliance standards, also where there are weaknesses or gaps. There will be suggestions as to the best way of moving forward for your organisation, although the final decision rests with you.
Common questions about the pre-audit stage
A gap analysis is nothing to be feared but you will have questions including how long will it take and how difficult or arduous is the process? You might also be wondering what’s (really) involved, the resources that it will consume and, the biggest question of all, how much will it cost?
The answers to all these questions will depend on the size of a business, its sector, its complexities and the different sets of risks it faces in its day-to-day functions.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t understand the journey that is ahead for your business when it comes to ISO – or any other Certification process.
A gap analysis is an important tool. Without it, the journey to accreditation will be a blind one – how do you what is missing or areas for improvement and what are the chances of successful Certification? From this gap analysis, you’ll have a robust plan of action that shows a clear path to success.