ISO certification implies a company’s commitment to incorporate quality and reliable and efficient business practices. If an organization is certified, an independent third party has audited its working processes, and the business performance meets the appropriate quality standards. ISO certification ensures that they have all the standardization and quality assurance requirements. Certified companies get a seal of approval that indicates their consistency with the international best practices.
Organizations can gain various advantages for their commitment to ISO standards. It enables them to streamline their work processes to achieve productivity, optimize resource usage, meet customer satisfaction, and exceed their expectations. It also allows them to gain entry into the international marketing landscape and gear their business towards growth and innovation. Companies that have obtained ISO certification can achieve a competitive advantage to increase their market share. They emphasize quality and customer satisfaction above all.
The ISO Certification Process
An organization can choose to conduct a pre-assessment audit before the certification process. The pre-assessment audit will help to determine the extent to which the organization’s management system(s) is aligned with the ISO standard requirements. This stage does not generate any formal report.
Organizations need to go through a two-stage audit in the first year of the ISO certification process.
- Stage 1 Audit helps to review the current management system arrangements and address the gap to meet the chosen standard’s requirements. The auditor will conduct necessary activities to gather about an organization’s processes, documents, operations, and scope of QMS.
- Stage 2 Audit recommends the organization for certification. The auditor checks their implementation of the QMS and looks for evidence to validate that the company follows the documentation (policies, procedures, etc.). A comprehensive report has been generated that details all areas of conformity or non-conformity. If no significant nonconformity is reported, then the certification status is maintained.
Year 2 and Year 3
The third-party assessor conducts surveillance audits in the next two years to verify the QMS’s ongoing implementation and maintenance. It helps ensure ongoing compliance with the ISO standard(s). The surveillance audit frequency is determined depending on the organization’s size and scope and other factors. However, generally, it is performed annually.
How long is the ISO certification valid?
Once an organization is granted ISO certification, its validity lasts for three years. The certifying authority or registrar should also conduct periodic checks within three years to determine that the quality management system is maintained efficiently. The process of recertifying includes a reassessment of the organizational documented QMS before the expiry of the three-year terms of validity.
ISO certification cost depends on various factors:
- Size and scope of the organization
- Industry sector
- Business complexity
- Annual revenue
- Number of employees
- Gaps between the organization’s current quality systems and the one that the standard specifies
- Cost of certification auditors
- Employees cost to develop the documentation and conduct internal audits and system review meetings.
- ISO consultant cost
- Surveillance audits
- Ongoing maintenance costs
Obtaining ISO certification can efficiently deliver high-quality products to meet industry regulations and customer expectations. When customers are assured of quality and reliability, it helps bring new business opportunities to open up avenues for growth and revenue. ISO certification enables companies to establish a resourceful working environment, empower employees, and instill a sense of security and efficiency. Hence, companies must opt for obtaining this certification.