In the Beginning there was 9001….
… and the auditors saw that it was good. From the success of this one standard, an entire family of other ISOs were born and brought into the world of quality. And even before the Holy Grail of ISO 9001, standards have been keeping our industries safely in check - we consider BS5750, if you remember that, a prologue to our story. The many-headed Hydra of ISOs might seem monstrous to you, but we know each one intimately, we’ve tamed the creature so you don’t have to, and we can help you tackle each one in a way that brings added value to your business. Whether you’re after the foundation of your business management system (ISO 9001), a way to prove your green credentials and sustainable kudos (ISO 14001) or something niche that doesn’t even begin with ISO (we’re looking at you IATF 16949 / AS 9100) - we’ve an expert standing by. We can even advise you on choosing the appropriate certification body and liase with them on your behalf.
But how do we actually do this?
We’ve been in this game a long time now and have developed a proven system of tackling the requirements of ISO certification with you. We begin with our Gap & Synergy Assessment with Action Plan (GSAAP for those acronym lovers) which shows us how close you already are to the standard requirements. We find, usually, that there are many more synergies than you’d expect - you’re running a successful business after all, aren’t you? To avoid reinventing the wheel and duplicating processes, we take as many of these synergies as we can and incorporate them into your QMS. Of course there will be some gaps, but we’ll plug these with systems and processes which make sense to you, are efficient and reflect the ways you actually work. Having a gap analysis with us comes with 2 major benefits - firstly, our day rates can work out cheaper than having this done with the certification bodies, and secondly, by doing the GSAAP we are able to gain a real insight into what makes you tick. This gives us a head-start when creating the QMS and gives you the opportunity to get to know your consultant and confirm you enjoy working with us before embarking on the good ship certification.
At this point you’re able to take the GSAAP and run, but of course we’d like to think you’d want to keep working with us to help you with the documentation (Stage 1) and implementation (Stage 2). So let’s talk about those stages further.
There’s no getting away from the need for documentation, but there are ways of minimising it. We’re in 2023 now, after all, and modern technology has done wonders for streamlining and optimising once clunky processes. There is, quite literally, an App for that. We help share the load by reviewing what you create, or create things for your review - business manuals, process maps, policies and procedures, etc. Once this is all done, there’s a desktop audit by the certification body to check all your documentation complies with the rigours of your chosen standard - and yes, we can be involved in this as your advocate, interpreter, translator or referee. Stage 1 is all about ‘saying what you do’ as a business. But you can’t just say what you do, you also need to….
… do what you say. Stage 2 is all about those documents coming off the page and becoming a ‘real’ entity in your business. The burden of proof is on you to show that your system, as you’ve set out in Stage 1, is working as you say it should be. It takes time to gather this body of evidence, anywhere from 2-3 months, and this evidence can take various forms. Our role during Stage 2 is to provide training, internal audits and management reviews to ensure your business is ready for the Stage 2 external audit. This audit is an entirely different beast, the auditors aren’t just looking at your documents, they want to interview your people, check their understanding of processes and that the evidence you’ve gathered is a true reflection of your business. Think Sherlock swooping in with his magnifying glass and his keen eye for detail. It’s entirely normal for a few “non-conformities” to arise, especially at this stage, but we’ll be there to help you deal with them and make sure you get that recommendation for certification. At this point celebration is allowed, but don’t forget that you’ve now made a commitment to the contents of your QMS and it needs feeding and nurturing ready for the first surveillance visit in a years time.
And again, at this point you’re able to take your new ISO Certificate, pat yourselves on the back for a job well done and send us on our merry way, happiness all round. However, we recommend you stick with us for this first year. Why? So we can help establish quarterly health checks to keep things ticking over. No one wants to be thrown into a full blown panic 11 months down the line as the surveillance visit looms and you realise things have gotten a little wobbly. With us on board that little while longer, you can be sure that the gears are turning and the processes are followed so when the auditor returns, you’re armed and, if not dangerous, at least prepared.
- Analysing your gaps & synergies.
- Creating an action plan.
- Helping you to decide what to do next.
- Certification (and celebration).
- Internal audits.
- Compliance tracking.
- Performance monitoring.
- Management review meetings.
- Large network of managed consultants.
- We’re an SME, too, we know what it’s like!
- Industry-specific, technical know-how, business intelligence.
- Scalable project management services.
- Toolbox like a Tardis.
- ISO 9001 Certified
Speak with a QFactorial expert