ISO gap analysis for ISO certification readiness, is it essential?

If you’re in the process of preparing for ISO certification, you’ve probably come across the requirement of performing an ISO gap analysis. And you may be wondering, is this really a necessary step?

In short, unless you’re a start-up without any systems in place, the answer is usually yes. Performing an ISO gap analysis is crucial for businesses to prepare for ISO certification by determining their current system’s status and identifying the gaps that need to be filled to meet the certification requirements.

Here’s what an ISO gap analysis entails and how it can set you on the right track when starting on the path to compliance.

How does an ISO gap analysis work?

An ISO gap analysis is an initial review of an organisation’s systems to determine how closely they align with the guidelines outlined in a specific ISO standard.

The process looks at existing practices and documented business information related to how the business provides its product or service, including policies, procedures, operational processes, software workflows, forms, manuals and records.

At the end of the gap analysis, companies should have a clear understanding of any non-conformities and what needs to be done to close these gaps. They can then develop a plan to improve systems and achieve ISO certification.

Typically, the ISO gap analysis process involves five steps:

  1. Review the ISO standard requirements: The first step is to identify the relevant ISO standard and review the requirements outlined in the standard.
  2. Assess current systems: The next step is to evaluate existing processes, procedures, and documentation to determine how closely they align with the ISO standard requirements.
  3. Identify gaps: Based on the assessment, the gaps between the current practices and the ISO standard requirements are identified.
  4. Develop an action plan to address the gaps: Once the gaps have been identified, a plan is developed to address each gap and bring the systems and processes in line with the ISO standard requirements.
  5. Implementation and ongoing monitoring: The final step is to implement the plan and continuously monitor progress to ensure that ISO compliance is maintained over time.

The benefits of preparing for ISO certification with an ISO gap analysis

Completing an ISO gap analysis can bring a range of benefits. Here are three reasons why it can be valuable:

1. Gain a high-level overview of what needs to be done to get compliant

An ISO gap analysis gives you a clear picture of how compliant current systems are and where improvements are necessary.

This is especially beneficial for companies who have never been certified to a standard, as they finish the assessment with a far better understanding of the requirements and what needs to be done to pass their ISO internal audit and successfully achieve compliance.

2. There’s no need to start from scratch when setting up systems

Instead of starting from scratch, it’s more practical and effective to build upon the existing framework of your business.

This helps you identify the areas where your current management systems align with ISO requirements and enables you to build on those strengths, rather than scrapping already compliant processes and starting all over again.

With this approach, it’s ensured that efforts and resources are focused only on the specific areas that require attention, which saves time and money.

3. Develop a clear plan for what needs to be done next

Completing an ISO gap analysis gives you a better idea of the investment of time, money and effort you need to get ISO certified.

A clear plan is also more likely to secure top management commitment because managers can make a well-informed decision on how to proceed.

Quick tips to get the most out of an ISO gap analysis

  • Instead of just “ticking the boxes” and implementing quick fixes, make sure to address gaps with maintainable changes.
  • Allow yourself enough time to make the necessary changes. Don’t leave your ISO gap analysis to the last minute, as rushing can lead to costly mistakes and oversights.
  • If you lack the time or experience to confidently complete an ISO gap analysis, it could be worth getting assistance from an auditor who can offer a fresh perspective and expertise.

Get started with your ISO gap analysis

At Integrated Compliance Solutions, we help companies get certified to a range of ISO standards, including ISO 9001, ISO 45001, ISO 14001 and ISO 27001.

Available Australia-wide with extensive experience in a diverse range of industries, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you achieve your compliance goals.

If you are planning to complete an ISO gap analysis, contact our team.

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