So, you’ve decided you want to start working towards ISO certification – what now?
Once you reach this point, you’ll need to start by considering whether to follow a template system or engage professional assistance from an ISO consultant. While the latter is typically more expensive, there are numerous benefits that come with gaining expert guidance.
An ISO consultant can:
- Provide you with an outside, unbiased perspective, which can, in turn, help you identify areas of improvement that may have otherwise been overlooked;
- Deliver expert insights as to where your current management systems are at in terms of compliance;
- Ensure that you’re well-informed during each stage of the certification process, as well as answering any of your queries that come up along the way;
- Develop a strategic action plan with clear direction to address any discrepancies from the standard requirements;
- Guide you in streamlining, integrating and simplifying your business’ existing processes;
- Provide assistance in reducing duplication across all company documentation, all the while introducing systems to aid in the maintainability of this action;
- Assist you in transitioning to the cloud, which is ideal for:
- Automating processes;
- Straightforward system maintenance;
- Remote access;
- Real-time reporting.
However, not all ISO consultants are the same; thus, it’s important to carefully consider which expert will be best suited to your distinct business circumstances. During this process, there are various factors that are well worth taking into account, which we’ll be exploring in the following article.
Level of Knowledge & Expertise
Before committing to an ISO consultant, it’s important to ask:
Are you confident that you can rely on this industry professional’s knowledge and expertise throughout the certification process?
By looking into each consultant’s ‘track record’, you can compare their industry experience, qualifications, areas of expertise and the like. This will, ultimately, provide you with valuable reassurance of their capabilities, all the while assisting you in determining whether their service is suited to your business context and needs.
If you’re not sure where to begin, a great place to start is your potential ISO consultant’s website. Here, you’ll likely be able to access information regarding their prior experience in the form of testimonials, case studies, credentials and more. If such resources aren’t readily available, don’t hesitate to ask your consultant about any of their prior experience that may be relevant to you.
Build Rapport & Trust
Compliance doesn’t happen overnight; in fact, it usually takes organisations anywhere from three to six months to achieve ISO certification.
During this time, your ISO consultant will be working closely with you to improve your business’ existing systems. Thus, building rapport and trust with your ISO consultant is crucial in ensuring clear, honest communication throughout every stage of the certification process. This will, essentially, assist you in truly getting the most out of the experience, reaching your certification objectives and driving high-quality, maintainable results.
If you don’t have faith in your ISO consultant and trust in their advice, you’ll likely be hesitant to follow their guidance, which can leave you stagnant and at a financial loss. Taking the time to make certain that the industry professional you’re considering is someone who fits into your organisational culture and who, ultimately, you’d enjoy working with, is imperative.
Deadlines & Service Costs
Typically, pricing is a key factor that organisations take into account when comparing different ISO consultants. While it is, of course, important to ensure you commit to a consultant that is within your budget, the most affordable option isn’t always going to be the best suited to your business’ needs.
ISO compliance is a long-term investment and, when making a final decision, businesses will often benefit from taking the time to establish why certain quotes vary from others.
While some ISO consultants charge more than their competitors, this is often reflected in the service they provide. For instance, their quote will likely be derived from the quality of their service, their level of industry experience and the extent of their knowledge and expertise.
Beyond this, it’s likely that your business’ unique context will also play a role in determining costs. This means that factors such as timelines, your organisation’s size and the complexity of existing systems may be taken into account. For example, if an organisation is working towards achieving ISO certification for the first time, this can be a far more in-depth process than monitoring and refining systems that have achieved compliance in the past.
Find an ISO Consultant Near You
With extensive experience across various sectors, our experts have the specialist knowledge to assist those operating in a diverse range of contexts and industries. We specialise in a variety of ISO standards, including ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001 and ISO 27001. For more information, get in touch with our dedicated team of ISO consultants today.
Alternatively, find out which ISO consultant will be best suited to your business by completing our free questionnaire.