5 stages to becoming ISO certified in Australia
ISO certification ensures a business’ products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality.
In recent years, businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to differentiate against competitors. Becoming ISO certified opens up business opportunities to create a positive business image in the eyes of stakeholders and the community. Businesses use ISO certifications as strategic tools to minimise waste, increase productivity in the workplace and reduce the number of errors or workplace incidents.
The certification process contains five stages:
- Stage one: gap analysis
- Stage two: certification documentation
- Stage three: developing a management system
- Stage four: implementation
- Stage five: auditing and ongoing improvements
After the initial consultation, QMS will outline the components involved in the certification process.
Initial consultation and choosing a certification
There are several ISO certifications available for Australian businesses. QMS provides auditing for various ISO certifications, including Safety Management, Quality Management, Environmental Management and Food Safety Management.
ISO certification can radically change a business. Your business may go from running minimum audits to having a management system with regular safety audits and pre-work checklists to ensure maximum safety in the workplace.
During the initial consultation, we’ll discuss your business has previously done in the area of certification and what you wish to achieve from the certification process. This information will help determine which certification is best suited for your business needs.
Visit our certification page for an up-to-date list of all the latest available certifications. We also offer a range of training days that are ideal for managers, internal auditors, system managers and employees who have a responsibility to comply with standards or manage compliance. This training introduces you to the standard and walks you through the different components that make up the standard.
Although there are multiple ISO standards, the process for achieving certification is quite similar. Read on for an overview of the ISO certification process.
Stage one: gap analysis
The gap analysis involves a review of your business against the desired ISO standard. It identifies the areas your business is lacking in and requires improvement to become eligible for certification.
Once the gap analysis is finalised, QMS will review the analysis with your management team. The gap analysis will be used as a basis to prepare the compliance documentation.
Stage two: prepare your documentation to become accredited
Preparing ISO documentation is a key component of the process, as this is what organisations will scrutinise during the review process. The documentation needs to outline compliance objectives and the procedures the business will follow to ensure compliance with that specific ISO certification.
For example, the ISO 9001 standard ensures a business provides ongoing quality management. Without the appropriate documentation, the systems will not be successful and you won’t be successfully certified.
Once complete, a JASANZ Accredited Conformity Assessment Body, such as QMS will review the documentation as part of the audit. This documentation will serve as proof your business is able to be ISO certified.
Stage three: developing a management system
We’ll work with your business to develop an effective management system.
Depending on the certification and business requirements, you may choose to develop a new management system to ensure long-term compliance.
The next stage after developing a management system compliant of ISO certification involves implementing the system into your business.
Stage four: implementation
The implementation stage is often the lengthiest. In this phase, the ISO requirements become part of the organisation itself. This stage will often require comprehensive employee training to ensure the management system is implemented effectively.
A compliance consultant can assist with the implementation requirements to help speed up the process of implementation by:
- Training employees
- Facilitating business risk
- Assessing business planning activities
- Developing a risk-based internal audit schedule
- Providing the initial and ongoing internal audit(s)
- Facilitating the management review meetings
QMS will complete an audit of your management system when your business has implemented the necessary procedures.
Stage five: auditing and ongoing improvements
Auditing is an ongoing process. It’s conducted both internally and externally from the business to ensure processes remain compliant with ISO certification.
QMS can provide multiple audits a year to ensure compliance. The benefits of ongoing audits include:
- The ability to identify new opportunities for more efficient processes
- Identify new challenges as they arise
- Quickly respond to new changes made to the certification
Business owners need to provide internal training to ensure staff and stakeholders are proficient in the process and can fulfil the objectives identified in the documentation stage.
Depending on the certification you choose, ISO certification can help your business increase efficiency, effectiveness, safety and customer loyalty.