How to get ISO Certification

Introduction to ISO

ISO is a non-governmental organization that brings together standards organizations from over 160 countries, with one body representing each member country. For instance, the United States is represented by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Member organizations work together to establish and promote worldwide standards for technology, scientific testing processes, working conditions, and societal challenges, among other things. After that, ISO and its members sell publications that detail the standards. The decision-making body for ISO is the General Assembly, which is made up of ISO members’ representatives and elected executives known as main officers. The organization’s headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland, where operations are overseen by a central secretariat. 

ISO certification

Why should my company get ISO certification?

First, you must determine whether ISO certification makes sense for your organization. There are many reasons to embrace ISO standards. ISO is known for its best practices and high quality, so it can provide a point of differentiation from competitors in the industry or a competitive advantage over a period of time. ISO certification also has the benefit of being recognized at both local and international levels, which can help you gain access to new markets as well as improve your business relationships. ISO standards are widely used for procurement, so having ISO certification can lend your company credibility when bidding on contracts with ISO-certified suppliers. ISO standards also help industries improve their environmental performance through efficient energy use and more responsible manufacturing processes.

The Prerequisites to get ISO certification

Before you approach a third-party certification body to get ISO certification, you must first create and document your manufacturing processes, as well as perform the necessary procedures to verify that your quality requirements are met. This will make the process to get ISO certification very easy. The four steps to becoming an ISO-certified company are outlined below.

Step 1. Create a management system

  • Determine what your core business procedures are.
  • Designate expert employees to be involved in documenting processes.
  • Examine, authorize, and transfer the documents to those who require access to the data.

Step 2. Put your system into action

  • Ascertain that procedures are carried out exactly as they are specified in your documentation.
  • Ascertain that all employees are properly trained for the tasks they are undertaking.
  • Create effective reporting systems that cover inspections, testing, corrective actions, preventive actions, management review meetings, goal monitoring, statistical methodologies, and other topics.
  • Wherever possible, use quantitative data to track the efficiency of your operations.
  • Examine the situation and take steps to improve in the areas that need it.

Step 3. Make sure your system is working properly.

  • Conduct the audit and check for compliance and effectiveness of the processes and system. Examine the situation, conduct interviews, and review sample records.
  • Identify and report the management system’s strengths and flaws.
  • As needed, take corrective or preventative action.

Step 4. Submit your system for registration.

  • For external registration, choose the appropriate auditing body such as IAS.
  • To confirm that your management system documentation conforms with the applicable standard, submit it for evaluation.
  • Prepare for an external auditor’s assessment to ensure that the system’s requirements are met and the management system is properly applied.

The Process to get ISO Certification: The Audit

ISO certification is a pretty straightforward process. Your organization must arrange for the audit team to come in and conduct an audit since ISO certification requires a series of checks and tests to be conducted at your organization’s facilities. Officials from the auditing firm will be dispatched to inspect documents, equipment, procedures, and facilities, among other things. They’re looking for non-conformities or areas where they can improve.

For basic ISO certification, all you have to do is register and fill out the online application form on the IAS website, which asks for all types of information about your firm. You will receive a confirmation email with instructions for scheduling an audit date after completing the form.

The quality management auditor will produce a final report to the head office once the audit is completed, and the head office will take input from the audited company. They will also check whether the audited company succeeded or failed its requirements, and if it failed, they must ensure that their procedures and facilities are appropriately improved so that they do not fail the audits in the future.

On average, it takes 4–6 months to complete the assessment and get your certification. 

How much does it cost to get ISO Certification?

The cost of creating and registering a formal management system varies based on the size and complexity of your company and its internal procedures. The first is the cost of development, which includes the time spent documenting and implementing the system. Second, there are costs connected with training staff on how to generate required papers as well as plan and conduct effective internal audits. The third expense is the registration fee, which comprises the audit and registration of the management system. The cost is determined by the number of locations, scope of work, number of shifts, and other factors. It will cost anywhere from $12,000 to $50,000 to implement a formal management system, plus the costs of registration audits, which typically range from $2,000 to $30,000 per year, depending on the maturity of your existing management system, the size and complexity of your organization, and the scope of registration. In the long run, however; the benefits of ISO certification far outweigh the costs.

ISO Certification: The Bottom Line

After reading this article, you might still be asking yourself: should I get ISO certification? 

The brief answer is yes. Why? Because obtaining an ISO quality management certification can pay off generously in terms of increased efficiency, production, and customer happiness for your company. However, the advantages of ISO extend far beyond your operations to include sales and marketing, strategic planning, and employee engagement. Consider how many times you’ve seen businesses boast their ISO certification in ads, on their website, or even on a banner outside their building. ISO certification will boost your marketing and help you generate sales because it is an internationally recognized quality management system. Many large organizations, in fact, demand that their suppliers be ISO certified. Certification is especially vital if you wish to sell in international markets.

Contact IAS today to learn more about ISO certification, or visit our ISO certification frequently asked questions page!