Choosing and using an ISO consultant
After deciding to implement an ISO management system in your organisation, the next big decision that business owners need to take is regarding the selection of the ISO consultant. Indeed, this is a pertinent decision, as it is directly correlated to the success of a management system. However, with the market filled with different ISO consultancy services, how can one make this decision? In this article, we will talk about how you can choose an ISO consultant and what are their services that you can utilise.
Who is an ISO consultant?
The implementation of an ISO standard into your organisation is a tedious process. You need to examine all the clauses listed in the standard, to find the parts that are relevant to your organisation.
Then, you need to modify your processes in accordance to these recommendations and align your documents, so that you achieve compliance. To a novice or someone who is reading the standard for the first time, this process becomes extremely overwhelming.
An ISO consultant is a professional that simplifies this process by helping you understand the exact areas of your organisation that are not compliant with your chosen standard.
How to choose an ISO consultant
Selecting “the right type of” ISO consultant is vital to the success of your management system. This is because, selecting someone who is not “the right fit” for your organisation can create a management system that is basic.
You may still achieve certification, it will not be beneficial for your organisation, because it defeats the entire purpose of implementing an ISO management system. The very nature of ISO management system is to be efficient, so that it is constantly helping you identify opportunities that lead your business into the future.
If your management system is rudimentary, it will not inculcate benefits such as better cost savings, larger profits, bigger business opportunities, mitigation of risks and smoother processes. That is why you should spend an adequate amount of time in the selection phase.
Begin your selection process by focusing on the following criterions:
ISO Consultant Experience
If your ISO consultant has just passed their training program, they may not have adequate amount of real-world experience. Hence, your certification process may be filled with unnecessary obstacles, as they may not have the “eye” to look for hidden non-conformances.
Specialisation in specific ISO standards
Generally, ISO consultancy services have consultants that have experience and specialisation in specific ISO standards. The most popular ones are ISO 14001, that deals with management of environmental issues, ISO 45001, that deals with management of occupational hazards and ISO 9001, that deals with management of quality issues.
For example, the ISOCouncil only focuses on providing ISO 9001, 45001, 14001 and 27001 services. This ISO consulting services company is currently one of the most trusted ISO 9001 consultants in Australia.
Every industry has its own set of norms. Hiring an ISO consultant that specialises in your industry directly impacts the efficiency of your operations, as it would mean that the best practises of your industry have been adequately incorporated.
ISO consultancy service Cost
Cost should not be the only criterion for selecting an ISO consultancy service, however, we understand that as a small business, you may have limited funds. A general rule of thumb is that ISO consultancy services charge approximately 15,000 USD per annum for medium size organisations. This includes the certification process and the consequent surveillance audits.
How to use an ISO consultant
The purpose of an ISO consultant is to facilitate and simplify the entire certification process. Therefore, begin by asking the consultant which certificate would be the most beneficial for your organisation.
After understanding the intricacies of the standard that you have selected, ask the consultant to visit your organisation, so that they can observe your processes as they operate.
Conduct a gap analysis and implement management system
To highlight the deficiencies in your current management system, the consultant will most likely conduct a gap analysis. You must provide adequate support at this time by being honest and transparent so that the process actually uncovers hidden deficiencies.
Ask the consultant to not only focus on the processes but to also suggest any training programmes to fulfil skill gaps that they might have discovered. It is also beneficial to show the consultant how you control your documents so that they can recommend how you must align them to achieve compliance.
Guidance about practises, records and audit
As your management system is implemented, your consultant will suggest you how to incorporate the best practises that are prevalent in your industry. Make sure that you clarify any doubts and ask for guidance in each step.
Similarly, even before the internal audit of a management system is done, ask for guidance about record collection. Utilise their advice during the internal audit to address as well as mitigate inefficiencies, and implement corrective actions to enhance the effectiveness of the processes.
Acquire your certificate with help of the best ISO consultant
Majority of the consultancy services also help you select an accredited certification body to acquire your certificate and even help you with the formulation of the application. So, to select your ISO consultant, focus on their experience, specialisation and industry-specific knowledge. Similarly, to maximise their efforts, remain transparent and honest, so that they can further enhance the efficiency of your management system.
If you are looking for ISO consulting services, especially in Australia, The ISOCouncil can be the best option for you. Experience, expertise and ethical commitment are the most important features of The ISOCouncil. For more information, you can visit the isocouncil.com.au website.
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