Your guide to implementing multiple ISO accreditations

According to the recently published International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) annual survey results, there was an 18% increase in the number of valid ISO certificates during 2020.

If you’ve heard of the benefits of ISO compliance in action, which may range from more cost savings to improved productivity and reduced rework, you could be thinking – where do I go from here?

A viable next step could be getting certified with one ISO standard or several ISO standards at once via an integrated management system.

Why integrated management systems? In fact, there’s plenty to gain from getting certified to several ISO standards at the same time- all of which have significant content in common and complement each other to help your company improve compliance with robust processes.

How to implement multiple ISO accreditations

The key to implementing multiple ISO accreditations seamlessly is integrating the standards so they’re combined into one robust and lean system.

First of all, you need to determine which standards to integrate together and if you should focus on for example: quality managementenvironmental managementoccupational health and safety or information security and in what combination. Each business has different needs and goals – the selection will depend on your and your customer’s requirements.

For example, you could integrate your compliance to ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety) and ISO 14001 (environmental) to establish a streamlined HSE management system.

If you’re going to take a staged approach, such as staggering implementation over time, it’s usually best to use ISO 9001 as the foundation. Once your quality systems are established, you can then start building other standards into them.

After ISO 9001, one of the most widely implemented standards is ISO 45001. It was first introduced in 2018 as the new standard for OHS and between 2019-20 there was a 392% increase in ISO 45001 certifications.

ISO 27001 is another standard companies often integrate, particularly because it’s increasingly becoming a requirement for government tenders.

Save time and money by integrating ISO accreditations

ISO certification can feel like a sizeable investment. So, why would you want to integrate two, three or more standards?

1. Save time and money

One of the main reasons businesses integrate their management systems is because it’s more cost and time effective to have more than one standard implemented at the same time.

Also, if you’ve already achieved compliance with a standard and decide to integrate it with one or more other standards, getting certified can be up to 50% quicker. For example if you’re currently ISO 9001 compliant, it makes implementing ISO 45001 or ISO 14001 much faster than if either was introduced separately from scratch.

Compared to developing management systems independently, integrating two or more can also be 33-50% cheaper. Thus you get the best of both worlds – faster compliance at a lower price – without compromising on system effectiveness and quality.

2. Maintaining compliance is easier

After the introduction of Annex SL, which is a high-level structure with ten distinct clauses, up to 50% of each ISO standard has the same requirements. Integrating systems ensures you avoid unnecessary repetition where ISO standard guidelines overlap.

The advantage of this is that there’s no duplication of documentation, so employees have less busy work to complete and information is easier to keep updated.

If systems are set up using cloud-based software, there’s also the added benefit of automation of repetitive tasks, real-time insights, seamless document control and improved agility and flexibility. Moving to the cloud also makes pinpointing areas of non-compliance and updating systems as required quick and easy, as there are no clunky, confusing or time-consuming processes slowing you down.

See our article sharing eight steps for successfully implementing cloud-based systems to find out more.

3. Become a business people want to work with

ISO standards are reputable and trusted. Through compliance other businesses can see that you’re committed to prioritising areas such as quality, environmental management and health and safety, depending on what you’re compliant with.

Compliance gives your business greater credibility, which can contribute to you becoming a company people want to work with. If you’re applying for a tender for instance, it can help give you a winning edge.

Any businesses you work with can also be assured that in order to maintain your compliance with numerous standards, you are also periodically completing audits. This provides peace of mind that all aspects of your compliance will remain at the high standard they require and value.

Contact us about implementing multiple ISO accreditations

If you’re ready to start working towards introducing and integrating numerous ISO standards, get in touch with our team of consultants today. We provide expert guidance every step of the way and take the difficulty out of achieving your certification objectives.

Alternatively, ask about our legislative updatesISO gap analysis and ISO internal auditing services.

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