"If I have a quality or environmental system that meets the ISO rules, what's the big deal about being certified?"

I get asked this a lot. Being “compliant” means that you are aware of and believe you comply with the requirements of the specific ISO standard in question. Being “certified” means that not only do you think you meet the rules but you’re willing to prove it by having an outside “certifying body” come in and audit you to verify that you really do meet the requirements.

Sunday, 28 September 2008 17:20

Do I need a consultant if we’re just starting a QMS?

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When putting a quality management system in place for the first time, you need guidance through the concepts, terms and requirements. How you achieve that depends on the size and previous experience within your company – books, classes, or consultant are all viable options.

A consultant can provide valuable training and guidance for those charged with maintenance of your system. However, it is a mistake to assume that a consultant will “do it all for us”. It is, after all, your company’s system – not the consultant’s – and at the end of the day you are responsible for its maintenance.

As an alternative to hiring a consultant, make training the start of your implementation and learn together as a management team -- that way everyone is on the same page when making strategic decisions later. After all, ISO requires top management to provide evidence of their commitment by being involved in key strategic activities to direct your QMS, and requires that all employees are aware of, and understand their contribution to the management system.

Monday, 05 October 2009 17:17

Collecting and analyzing data

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Collecting and analyzing data doesn't make us money - I don't have time.  Survival is a big deal in this economy. But wouldn’t you want to stop money from invisibly hemorrhaging out of the company? Many small company owners have a hard time seeing the return on investment in data collection. But those who collect even simple information about how their company is doing, and find where they are losing time or money, can stop those invisible leaks in profitability and productivity.

While ISO uses the term “certifying body” (because they certify the management systems of companies), many organizations in the USA use the term “registrar” (because they maintain a register of certified companies).  Same concept, just different words.

Choosing a relationship with a certifying body is an important decision. 

First - Always look for an accredited organization – this means that, like you, they are audited and monitored, and meet the stringent requirements of both the ISO requirements  for certifying, and the requirement of their accrediting body.  This ensures that you are being certified by an organization worth trusting.

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