While the timeframe can vary for each organisation and their individual circumstances, in general you need to allow at least 3 to 6 months, giving your organisation a chance to benefit from the systems you have created. On top of that you will need to maintain at least 2 to 3 months of records to show the maturity of your system to meet the audit requirements. Again this timeframe is dependent on whether you engage a consultant or plan to take the DIY route.
How long will the process take?
The answer is, it depends. However, if you are seeking external certification, you should note that auditors look for 2 to 3 months of records as evidence of the maturity of your business system. Therefore, as a bare minimum, once your system is set up (which takes several weeks), you need to add at least two months onto that timeframe and preferably more to comfortably meet the audit requirements.
In general, we advise small businesses to set aside 3 to 6 months in order to give themselves the chance to really benefit from the process of setting up a business system which they will then carry with them through years of future growth. By investing time, money and effort to create a system which adds value to your business, you will more than reap the rewards of the money and time invested.
If you attempt to rush the process, or take shortcuts to meet the tender requirements, you may end up creating a rod for your own back which then has to be carried and maintained and is ultimately a drain on time and money instead of being the support that you envisaged.
Finally, if you intend to set an ISO system up yourself, you should set aside half a day a week for 6-12 months for your chosen person to work on the system. More if you are setting up multiple standards. If you engage a consultant, you should allow half a day a week for the first 3 months for your chosen person to work with the consultant and then some time to work the system and create records, which become evidence that the system is live and integrated into the organisation.
If you would like any more information on this or other ISO related subjects, please give us a call on 1300 132 745 or contact us via our website for free, no obligation assistance.