If your business has a well-established ISO management system or has implemented a new management system against ISO standard, you are probably looking for the opportunity to earn ISO certification. ISO certification is a process where an external certification body will review and audit your management system and its conformance to the requirements of the standards and business. As a result of the ISO certification audit process, the certification company will issue an ISO certificate. Being an ISO certified company is an achievement and recognition that your business operates on an international standard and provides high-quality products and services.
In recent times, most tender applications / pre-qualification applications require businesses to present adequate documentation to show evidence that the business has an established business management system (e.g. quality management system or health & safety management system). This process becomes a way lot easier if you have an ISO 9001:2015 certificate or else managers will face a herculean task of preparing and submitting the documentation as a response to the questions asked. ISO certificate significantly promotes your reputation, gain customer loyalty, increases business, enable to provide excellent product & services.
Step #1: Finding an ISO certification body
Start the process of finding an ISO certification body at least six months in advance before planning to get your system certified. Search the JAS ANZ (The Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand) register for an accredited ISO certification company.
Click this link http://www.jas-anz.org/accredited-bodies/all to check if your ISO certification body is accredited to JAS ANZ.
Step #2: Selecting an ISO certification body
There are numerous certification bodies across Australia; you need to select the right ISO certification body that suits your business requirement. Carefully consider factors such as accreditation, reputation, specialisation, industry experience, integrated audit and price.
Step #3: Creating and submitting an application for certification
After selecting the certification, you will need to complete an application which will collect information regarding your business, products & services, scope the management system, ISO standard that you seek certification, the number of employees and office location(s). The ISO certification body and your company will also need to sign a contract which is an important step in the registration process. The contract will define the rights and obligations of both parties, liability issues, confidentiality and access rights. Please be aware the registration process with certification body may take 2 to 3 weeks.
Step #4: Stage I – Documentation Review
The stage I of the certification process is the documentation review step. In this documentation review, the auditor from the certification body will either request you a copy of your documents or review the documents in-person to identify your readiness for stage II audit. The principal objective of the stage I audit is to see if documentation presented has addressed the requirement of the standard. Usually stage I audit takes one day to complete the review, and after completion, you will receive a report on the findings with recommendations.
Step #4: Stage II – Certification Audit
Between stage I and stage II audit, you can sufficient time to address the gaps identified in the documentation review and implement the action plan. Before the stage II audit, the system should be implemented and have generated sufficient evidence to prove the system has been maintained and controlled. Auditor(s) from the ISO certification body will visit your office or project site and conduct the audit which includes physical onsite inspection, interview with stakeholders, examination of procedures in action, review of documents and records. The length of stage II audit differs, and it depends on the scope of the audit and the size of your organisation. Following the certification audit, the auditor will prepare and submit an external audit report that lists non-conformance (if any) and areas of improvements.
Based on the findings of the stage II audit, the auditor will recommend your business for ISO certification.
Note: If the auditor findings significant major non-conformance in the system, then the auditor will ask not recommend you for certification and provide you with time (usually 60 days) to fill the gaps and schedule another audit.
Step #5: Surveillance Audit
The following two years after successfully earning ISO certification, the company will come and partially audit your business processes again. The main objective of this audit is to check if your system is maintained and all non-conformance identified are addressed appropriately. You will receive a surveillance audit report following the audit.
Step #6: Re-certification Audit
On the third year of your certification, the certification body will conduct a complete audit to re-certify the system. The re-certification audit is similar to the certification process. If you pass the re-certification audit, then you will issue an ISO certification for another three years.