Businesses actively implement and maintain ISO based management system to earn ISO certification. Many business owners or manager find it hard to choose the right certification body and often unable to decide on one. Certification of a management system is usually voluntary, or a commercial arrangement between two parties or a business requirement.
Let’s first understand some basics of ISO certification. ISO (International Organisation for Standardization) only develops ISO standards such ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 but it does not certify organisation with ISO certificates. ISO certified are issued by different companies that are certified by ISO. All independent ISO certification companies are required to meet the standards of ISO/CASCO – Committee of Conformity Assessment.
ISO defines Certification as a written assurance (a certificate) provided by an independent body that the product, service or system in question meets the specific requirements of the ISO standard.
The following factors will help your business decide the right ISO certification body:
Many organisations can provide you with a paper stating that you are business is ISO certified. It is necessary to understand that not all ISO certification bodies are accredited (i.e. licensed) to issue ISO certificates. ISO defines accreditation as the formal recognition by an independent body, generally known as an accreditation body that a certification body operates according to international standards. You need to check if the ISO certification body has accreditation or license to issue certificates that are recognised in your country. In Australia, all ISO certification need to obtain accreditation from JAS ANZ (The Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand)
Note: According to ISO, it is not compulsory that an accreditation body should accredit ISO certification bodies and it does not mean that the ISO certification body is not reputable. Obtaining an accreditation provides an independent confirmation and confidence on the ISO certification body.
Many businesses use their ISO certification as part of their marketing campaign and gain market reputation. Getting a certificate from a reputable ISO certification body would position yourself in the market as a reputable business. Look at the ISO certification bodies that your competitors, suppliers and clients have used. The most straightforward strategy is to use the same or similar reputable ISO certification body. It is recommended you consider national ISO certification bodies and internal certification bodies. If your business is operating across in multiple countries, you would probably want to choose a certification body that has an excellent reputation around the globe.
You need to engage with certification bodies that have proven experience with industry that your business operates. Let’s say your hospital is planning to obtain an ISO certification; you would need your auditor to have significant experience in healthcare auditing rather than manufacturing or IT service experience.
ISO certification is a value-driven service, and it is not only a process to obtain great looking ISO certificates but also a process to find more opportunities for improvement and gaps. You need your auditors and the certification body to provide with great value and business insight at every external audit. Highly recommended you ask the profile/CV/resume of the auditor before engaging the ISO certification body or booking the external audit, this way you will know the experience of the auditor.
Most businesses have integrated management systems (for example, integrated management system under ISO 9001, ISO 14001 & ISO 45001) and it is essential that the certification be capable of carrying integrated audit and issue certificates. Engaging an ISO certification body to conduct an integrated audit will significantly reduce the time and cost of the audit. You can have all your management systems audited together, and integrated audit takes less time than several separate audits.
For many small & medium businesses, the price is a crucial factor when it comes to deciding which ISO certification body. Across the market, there are numerous certification bodies and some of which are quite expensive among the others. It is usually a business decision and investment to spend money in obtaining ISO certificates. ISO certification bodies used various factors such as the size of the company, number of shifts, number of employees, business activity, locations and ISO system for certification to estimate the cost of providing the certification.
Some popular ISO certification bodies in Australia
- BSI Group Australia – https://www.bsigroup.com/en-AU/
- SAI Global Australia – https://www.saiglobal.com
- DNVGL – https://www.dnvgl.com
- Llyod Register Australia – http://www.lrqa.com.au
- Bureau Veritas – http://www.bureauveritas.com.au
- SGS Certification Services – http://www.sgs.com.au/en-gb/office-directory