ISO Certification Process

The ISO certification process can be quite tricky to comprehend, especially since there are several different types of ISO certifications. However, there are ways to make it easier to understand. This blog will provide you with more information on the ISO certification process, how to apply for it, and how to prepare your company. Also, this blog will answer some common questions on the ISO certification process.

What is ISO?

Before getting into the ISO certification process, we must first learn more about the organization that created these international standards. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was created in 1947 and is a global federation of national standards institutes from over 154 countries. ISO creates international standards for products, services, and processes. The ISO certification process ensures that companies worldwide produce goods and services that meet the same high-quality levels. ISO has created more than 22,000 international standards that impact over 800,000 companies worldwide.

ISO Certification Process

ISO Certification Process – Step 1

The first step in the ISO certification process is to identify the areas of your business that need improvement and create a plan of action to address these areas. Once you have created your plan, you will need to gather evidence that supports your claim that the areas in question have been improved. This evidence can be in the form of reports, certificates, or testimonies from customers or other stakeholders. The following activities will be performed during this stage of the ISO certification process:

  • Gap Analysis – This stage of the ISO certification process involves identifying and analyzing any gaps in your business. This will allow you to better understand where the organization currently is as compared to where they need to be. It also helps them determine which areas of their business need improvement and provides a strategic plan on how they can achieve those improvements.
  • Document Preparation – During this stage of the ISO certification process, you will be gathering any pieces of evidence that support your claim in Step 1. This evidence may come in the form of customer testimonies, certificates, or reports from third parties. You should also determine what documents will need to be prepared for a successful application and a smooth ISO certification process.
  • Employee Training – One of the most important aspects of the ISO certification process is employee training. Employees must be aware of the standards that have been set and understand how they should be implemented in the workplace. They must also be familiar with the audit process and understand how to cooperate with auditors.

ISO Certification Process – Step 2

The next step in the ISO certification process is to conduct an internal audit of your system to make sure it adheres to the ISO standard requirements. At this point in the ISO certification process, an assessment will be conducted to verify that the business has met the required criteria and is ready for certification. This assessment will include an evaluation of management systems, resources, and processes. You will create an audit program that follows these six steps as part of the ISO certification process:

  •  Prepare and document your company’s management system
  •  Identify areas to be audited
  •  Select the team who will conduct the internal audits
  •  Create an audit schedule
  •  Conduct the audits
  •  Evaluate and document the findings

After completing the internal audit program, the next phase in the ISO certification process is to hire a certification body. After you have gathered your evidence, you will need to complete an application for certification and send it to the ISO certification body. The certification body will review your application and if everything is in order, they will schedule an audit of your business. The ISO certification process entails having the auditor visit your company to verify that you have met all of the requirements for certification.

ISO Certification Process – Step 3

The third step in the ISO certification process is to undergo an audit by an accredited certification body. The audit is a comprehensive examination of your company’s policies, procedures, and processes. The audit includes an assessment of your business’s management system to determine if it meets the requirements set out in the international standard you are pursuing certification for.

This audit will determine whether or not the company meets the requirements for certification. The following activities will take place during this stage:

  • Stage 1 Preliminary Audit – The first stage of the audit will determine your company’s readiness for the Stage 2 Certification Audit. The auditor will conduct employee interviews, perform a site evaluation, and review documentation as per the ISO certification process.
  • Stage 2 Certification Audit – The Stage 2 Certification Audit is the final phase of the ISO certification process and is conducted to verify that your company has met all of the requirements for certification. The auditor will review your management system and make sure any non-conformities found in the Stage 1 audit have been resolved.

After the Stage 2 Certification Audit is complete, the auditor will issue a draft report to your company’s management team. The audit report details the areas of the business that have been assessed as well as any non-conformities or suggestions for improvement. You should use this stage of the ISO certification process to identify and document all required corrective actions.

Once all non-conformities have been resolved, the certification body will provide your organization with ISO certification against the specific ISO standard.

Tips for a Successful ISO Certification Process

The ISO certification process can seem daunting, but with careful planning and execution, you can make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. Here are a few tips to help you on your way:

  •  Make sure your management system is in order – One of the most important aspects of the ISO certification process is having a well-organized and structured management system. Make sure your management system is up to date and compliant with the international standard you are pursuing certification against.
  •  Plan and schedule your audits – Creating an audit schedule is an important part of the ISO certification process. Make sure you plan and schedule your internal audits well in advance and allow enough time for any corrective actions that need to be taken.
  •  Let the right people lead the process – Ensure that all of your personnel who will be involved in the ISO certification process are well versed and understand what is required of them. Equally as important, they must have the authority to make decisions and lead their teams through the various stages of the ISO certification process.
  •  Stay on top of things – You should treat the ISO certification process as it were a living, breathing thing, and it must be cared for and monitored throughout the entire process. It will require time and effort to see the process through but in the end, it will be worth it as your organization gets closer to receiving that all-important ISO certification.

Benefits of the ISO Certification Process

When a company undergoes the ISO certification process, it is demonstrating to the world that it takes its quality management system seriously and is committed to continual improvement. The benefits of ISO certification are vast and can be extremely beneficial to your business. Some of the benefits include:

  • Improved communication and coordination within the company.
  • Improved customer service
  • Increased efficiency and productivity.
  • Reduced costs and waste.
  • Better risk management.

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