This article explains what a business needs to do to achieve an ISO certification to improve its management approach and performance.

ISO certifications are benchmark achievements for companies that help their business management system to ensure quality, environmental risks management, workplace safety, information security, and many other aspects! Each ISO standard has a purpose and helps to improve a particular area of business management. For instance, ISO 9001 ensures implementation of quality management practices, ISO 14001 results in strong environmental management, whereas ISO 27001 helps in assuring information security.

Whichever ISO standard an organisation achieves and whatever purpose it serves, the certification enhances their business’s credibility and builds its reputation in the industry. However, achieving any of the ISO certifications is not simple or a cakewalk for an organization’s management. They need to meet a lot of requirements before becoming eligible for a certification.

Here are the key prerequisites for ISO certification that every organisation needs to consider.

Deciding on which Certification

Of course, the first step is to choose which particular ISO certification is needed for your business. It depends purely on your organisation’s goals and priorities. If you aim for quality assurance and higher customer satisfaction, choose the ISO 9001 quality management standard. If environmental risks management is one of the must-haves in your business strategy, then you need the ISO 14001 standard. Therefore, choose your certification or certifications accordingly.

Contacting a Certification Body

You need a reliable and accredited certification body that can give your organisation the desired certification, as ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) itself does not provide it. ISO defines the standards along with certification guidelines. A recognized certification body or a registrar is hence required. To choose one, you should check a number of bodies and see if they are accredited.

Getting the Application Contract Ready

As an applicant of ISO certification, you need to agree with the registrar on a contract. The agreement usually should define the obligations or responsibilities of both parties in the process of certification such as access rights and maintenance of privacy.

Preparation of Documentation

Next, you should prepare documents and manuals of your management system related to the ISO standard that you are aiming to achieve. The external certification auditors are going to review your procedures and policies which are being adopted by your organisation to comply with the standard. Reviewing the documentation of existing procedures and policies helps the auditors to discover any shortfalls against the standard’s compliance.

Getting an Action Plan

When the auditors have pointed out the gaps in your existing management system, you need to decide on a proper action plan that can help to resolve the gaps. In the plan, map out the tasks that should be performed to improve a management system, incorporating all the desired changes. Secondly, you need to plan to train your employees to help them understand the new procedures or changes. Also, training helps to make your employees aware of the benefits of the ISO standard and keep them accountable for achieving the compliance with the standard.

Initial Certification Audit

Professional auditors from the registrar or certification body are going to conduct a certification audit in two stages. You need to prepare for that. In stage 1, they review your management system to find out nonconformities with the standard. The applicant then needs to decide modifications required to eliminate the nonconformities. In stage 2, they are going to review whether all needed actions are executed to make the management system perfectly compliant. They should be convinced or satisfied with the two stages after which they prepare a compliance audit report. That report is forwarded by them to the registrar who then gives the certificate.

Having an ISO certification or certifications helps organisations to make their business management system more competent at specific functions starting with quality assurance, information security, occupational safety, and risk management. With increasing competition in the business world, certifications by ISO have become crucial tools for improvement. They can make your products or services more sustainable in the market, enhance brand credibility, and help to explore new potential avenues of your business.

Author's Bio: 

Damon Anderson is the owner of an ISO certification agency that assists various enterprises to get their business management system certified with any ISO standard. He is a blogger during his leisure time and writes mainly about ways to achieve certification, maintain it, and improve its compliance.

Contact Details:
Business Name: Compliancehelp
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