What is Certification to ISO Standard(s) and how to get it?
In short, this article will help you understand the value that achieving an ISO Management Systems Standard certification adds to your business. It will also provide you with a free guide in which we share the process we’ve used to help hundreds of businesses to systemise their operations, enabling them to achieve certification, save time and increase their profits.
Is this the first time you’ve read about ISO? Have you ever imagined that your business would need or want certification to an ISO Management Systems Standard? Have you ever really understood what it is, its value, and how to get it?
If you have ever tried to have a glance at it, you have probably felt overwhelmed with lots of confusing and technical information you found online, right?
Understanding what certification to an ISO Standard is, and how to get it, is challenging, but let’s take one thing at a time.
First of all, we have to understand that ISO is an independent International Organization for Standardization that develops relevant international standards for businesses.
Those standards are basically sets of requirements for businesses to comply with in order to achieve the intended certification, mostly regarding the business’ Management System and operational procedures.
In case you are not familiar with the “Management System” term, it is just a set of tools and documentation for strategic planning and implementation of policies, practices, guidelines, processes and procedures that are used in the development and execution of business plans and management.
If you want to know more about what a Management System is, you can read this blog.
Okay, but why get certified to an ISO Standard?
Being certified to an ISO Standard adds value to your business. Although the process of achieving the certification may seem overwhelming, having an ISO Certification can be quite rewarding as your business will benefit by:
There are many driving forces for a business to pursue certification to an ISO Standard. Some of the main reasons are:
If you want a certification you’ll need to conform with all requirements of your chosen ISO Management System Standard. If you don’t want to be certified, you still can get value by following the requirements, as they can help your business to improve processes, leadership, quality and management.
How to get your certification to an ISO Standard
We now understand what ISO is, what it means to be certified to an ISO Management System Standard, and the value it adds to your business. So let’s have a quick look at how to achieve the certification.
First off, you need to identify which certification(s) is the right one for your business needs. There are many different standards to be certified to, each of them for different purposes and outcomes.
If your need for an for an ISO Management Systems Standard Certification comes from a requirement from your industry, regulatory body, tender or client, it’s easy: Just confirm with them the specific standard you need to be certified to.
If you want a certification for any other reason, such as business improvement, you have to analyse the different standards available in order to identify the most suitable and beneficial for your business, based on your objectives and goals.
Identifying the ISO Standard(s) your business needs
There are more than 21,000 ISO Standards available, each of them addressing different aspects or challenges that affect companies and organisations. Some of the most popular and recognised Management System Standards are: ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, ISO 27001:2022 and ISO 45001:2018.
Let’s focus on those standards for now, and get to know briefly what each one stands for:
Let’s briefly have a look at each of these standards:
It looks like a lot of information, but don’t worry, we’re here to help. Consultancy experts like us are qualified and experienced in helping businesses to develop their Management Systems and get ready for certification.
Getting certified to an ISO Standard
Once you determine which Management System Standard(s) your business needs, you can start the process to achieve certification. Breaking that down, there are two main parts in the whole process:
Here is where you have to follow the ISO Standard requirements in order to prepare and implement all the necessary documentation for your business management system, and operations running according to it.
We call this process the “Certification Readiness Process” – for more information about this you can have a look at the Certification Readiness Process.
At this point, you have two alternatives. You can do this process by yourself, assigning people within your team or hiring someone to prepare your documentation and manage it. Or you can engage an external consultant, like us, to help you during this process by managing the entire process from start to finish; and ongoing.
Going through this preparation is not an easy path due to the overload of information. Also, the lack of experience could make you focus time and effort on things that don’t contribute significantly to the overall preparation. But, if you decide to engage with an expert consultant, chances are that you will achieve the certification in the first attempt, saving you time and money, and making this process easier and less stressful for your business.
The second part is conducted by an Accredited Conformity Assessment Body (CAB), which is the organisation accredited to issue internationally recognised ISO certifications.
This process consists of two audits. The first is where the auditor will check your documentation and its conformance with the requirements of the standard(s). The second audit is where the auditor verifies the application of the business system to your daily operations. If everything is conforming and according to the requirements, you will achieve the certification.
If you have an external consultant helping you through the process, this person can be with you during the audits to guarantee all the issues and non-conformances raised by the auditor are noted and addressed.
Certification to ISO Management System Standard(s) are issued for 3 years, needing surveillance audits once a year to check if your processes and systems are still running according to plan.
To know more about what is required once you are certified, check out this article.
Now that you know what certification to an ISO Management Systems Standard is, its benefits and how to achieve it, let’s talk about how you can get started on your certification readiness process today!
At ISO Certification Experts, we are specialists in assisting companies in achieving this type of certification. Our team of management consultants are experts in developing management systems efficiently, and are passionate about helping businesses improve and achieve their certifications.
About the author
Andressa (alias Andy) is the General Manager of ISO Certification Experts and ICExperts Academy, heading our Marketing department and coordinating the internal improvement initiatives and projects. With an MBA in Project Management, and over 10 years of experience in customer service and project management across many industries, she brings valuable knowledge to the business and our operations. Alongside her professional expertise, Andressa holds a genuine passion for sustainability and the environment.
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