The importance of ISO certification can never be downplayed even in industries where the certification doesn’t count as a mandatory requirement for business operation.
With the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) having developed 27,000+ international standards applicable in more than 150 countries, it’s highly believable that ISO certification would be an essential requirement for standardized business operation.
In this post, you’ll get to learn about ISO certification, how to get ISO certified, categories of ISO standards and the top five bodies for ISO certification.
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Being ISO Certified –Here’s What It Means
By the term “ISO-certified”, it is meant that a particular company, business or organization meets up with ISO 9001-stipulated conditions for compliance with the appropriate quality management system. Therefore, a company with an ISO certification stands a high likelihood of meeting up with global standards as well as the expectations of its stakeholders.
ISO certification may not be regarded as parts of the prerequisites for getting a business off the ground or for operating the business. However, some sectors stipulate ISO certifications as parts of the requirements for business operation. In the automotive industry, for instance, manufacturing businesses are required to possess ISO certifications in order to sell their products.
Is ISO Certification Mandatory?
Generally, ISO certification may not be termed a mandatory requirement for setting an organization afloat. However, some industries make it a contractual or legal requirement that organizations should get ISO certified. If your organization falls under any of such industries as manufacturing, engineering, hospitality, health, and oil & gas, the organization may be required to get ISO certified.
In any of the listed industries, your organization will likely be required to comply with a particular ISO standard. Relatively, an ISO standard may be seen as a framework with well-defined rules and regulations for specific organizational operations.
ISO standards are intended to enhance organizations’ performance and generally, they may come under three categories namely transport, safety and healthcare, and environmental management.
Steps on Getting ISO Certified
Before we walk you through the steps for getting ISO certified, it’s worth noting that ISO certification is exclusively for organizations. Individuals do not “get certified” –or receive ISO certification –since ISO 9001 is never regarded as a personal standard.
The process for obtaining an ISO certification is pretty easy to go about. If you’re looking to secure an ISO certification for your organization, here are the steps you need to follow:
- Developing a QMS: Fully pronounced as ‘quality management system’, a QMS is needed in order to get ISO certified. Meanwhile, you’ll be required to have developed and implemented this system (QMS) in compliance with the latest ISO 9001 standard
- Conducting an audit on the QMS: Your fully developed and implemented QMS is expected to be audited by a CB (Certified Body). This audit is necessary for evaluating the system (QMS)’s performance with respect to the most recent ISO 9001 standard
- Obtaining your certification: A successful audit will qualify your organization for the needed ISO certification. But to ascertain that the organization still meets up with the expected standard (after years of certification), the organization will have to undergo re-certification every three-year period
Categories of ISO Standards
As mentioned earlier, ISO standards come under categories with the three commonest categories being safety and healthcare, transportation, and environmental management. There are notably ISO standards under each of these categories.
Safety and Healthcare
IWA 1:2005: This ISO standard is responsible for laying down rules for associations in the healthcare framework. Specifically, the standard performs a regulatory function over how these associations manage both natural and unnatural health-related disasters.
ISO 22000: The focus of this standard is on helping to improve food handling and food security. This is why the standard seeks to mitigate the safety issues confronting the global food chain.
ISO 9001:2000: This is a standard specifically targeted at the medical device industry where it is used in regulating the quality of management practices. In order to foster quality in the process of creation or development of medical devices, this standard lays down specific rules and recommendations.
ISO/PAS 30003:2008: This is an ISO standard targeted at industry-specific concerns. The standard addresses certain issues in marine technology and in transportation. Some of these issues include material care, ship recycling management, and (control of) hazardous materials.
ISO/TS 16949: This standard is concerned with the automotive industry where it is used in auditing the entire territories in the industry’s supply network. The standard broadly addresses an array of intra-industry activities such as training, monitoring, upgrade and investigation. With the aims of fostering suppliers’ proficiency and helping them reduce costs, this standard focuses on supplier-targeted courses.
ISO 14004:2004: This is a standard with special focus on environmental management system (EMS) maintenance and execution across industries. With respect to its goal of promoting the arrangement for EMS execution, the standard supplies the needed data in detail.
ISO 14001:2004: While this is the standard which lays down the basis for EMS, it’s worth noting that EMS refers to a body of methods and rules aimed at advancing ecological awareness, providing the assurance of consistency and assessing cost-effective approaches.
In What Ways Is an ISO Certification Beneficial?
An ISO certification is beneficial in several ways thereby adding value to the organization holding it. The ISO certification avails the organization the chance to identify its stakeholders and their expectations. In the long run, it proves a lot easy for the organization to set out objectives that will align with the expectations or needs of the stakeholders.
Largely, the ability to prioritize customers (or stakeholders)’ needs paves the way for an organization to easily satisfy the customers. Since ISO certifications allow organizations the opportunity to identify stakeholders and their expectations, it’s reckonable that organizations with such certifications stand a high chance of acquiring new customers and retaining the existing ones.
Specifically, an organization holding an ISO certification is believed to have fulfilled regulatory and statutory conditions which qualify the organization to operate on the international scene. With such a certification, the organization can easily accrue international recognition or acceptance to itself.
ISO certifications also enhance efficiency and productivity by stimulating organizations to sensitize stakeholders about organizational processes.
Top 5 Bodies You Can Look to for ISO Certification
Kayzed Consultants is an ISO consultancy body with considerable global coverage of 10+ countries including Lebanon, Iran, Bahrain, India, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, European countries and African countries.
At Kayzed Consultants, the offerings include certification services and ISO consulting training. The consultancy body not only provides clients with recommendations on system management but also, it offers them professional advice on how to achieve certification goals.
While businesses strive to expand their profitability, Kayzed Consultants offers the consultancy services that can aid the achievement of improved systems and customer outcomes. Kayzed Consultants is further committed to how organizations can achieve overall improvement through proper education on systems improvement. It is believed that by educating clients effectively about systems improvement, it will prove a lot easy for the clients to achieve organizational goals such as profit expansion and cost reduction.
Glenview Group, Inc is a specialist in the design of training programs and ISO consulting services for clients with differing technical, linguistic and literacy backgrounds. The group was established with the overriding goal of serving as the solution platform for organizations and outfits looking to set up business management systems or improve their existing systems.
The group prioritizes providing its clients with a direct approach with respect to evaluating an organization’s various aspects such as environmental health, overall effectiveness, safety, and the performance of suppliers. Glenview Group helps its clients in establishing the procedures and process that will facilitate the necessary organizational evaluation.
The clientele of Glenview Group is considerably large as it comprises internal auditors, organizational managers and various other individuals looking to receive adequate ISO training. Glenview Group offers training in international business management practices and its training covers many areas some of which include ISO 45001/OHSAS 18001, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001. Interestingly, the group is believed to have built a comprehensive range of interactive training programs and consulting strategies that meet the needs of its clientele.
DEKRA Certification South Africa
This firm bills itself as an Accredited Certification Body with autonomous, experienced and knowledgeable auditors. These auditors are well grounded in the auditing of ISO management systems and as such, they can ascertain if their clients’ organizations meet up with given ISO standards.
Under the auspices of DAkkS, which is a German accreditation body, DEKRA Certification South Africa handles companies’ certification projects in such areas as ISO 45001:2018 (Occupational Health and Safety Systems), ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental Management Systems), HACCP (Food Management Systems), and 9001:2015 (Quality Management Systems).
This London-based ISO consultancy firm provides clients with comprehensive services in the areas of consulting and certification. While ISO Consultancy boasts several consultancy specialists, the firm rides on their expertise in helping clients obtain ISO certifications in time.
Along with a customized support program, ISO Consultancy offers simplified procedures with respect to ISO certification. Meanwhile, ISO Consultancy is a boutique ISO Quality Management Systems Consultancy outfit that incorporates dedication and all-round support into its service delivery. This is why clients of ISO Consultancy are certain to receive adequate support at every stage of their ISO certifications.
CertPro is an ISO certification body with focus on US clients. It employs the most suitable cost-effective approaches in carrying out projects for companies in different industries.
CertPro prides on its constant delivery of quality projects as well as its status as a leading provider of clients’ ISO certification needs in the United States. Over the years, the US-targeted certification body has handled various certifications including ISO 45001, ISO 9001, ISO 50000, HACCP, ISO 22000 and ISO 14001.
Over its years of operation, CertPro has rendered its ISO certification services to small, medium and large-scale organizations across different industries. The certification body also provides clients with online and onsite consulting.
FAQs about ISO Certification
Are ISO Certifications Free?
An ISO certification comes at a cost and that’s because money is necessary for the development, publishing and distribution of ISO standards. In order to promote the development and distribution of such standards, beneficiaries (users of the standards) are charged certain fees.
Can Individuals Get ISO Certified?
The three-step ISO certification guide we provided earlier in this post solely applies to organizations. Although they cannot get certified, individuals have the privilege of undergoing necessary training and then become Certified Bodies (CB) or Registrars. Interestingly, being a CB or Registrar means you can be hired by an organization in order to help them execute their certification audit.
With an ISO certification at its disposal, an organization, company or business is able to prove that it operates in compliance with internationally recognized standards in terms of safety, quality, effectiveness, etc.
Rather than consider it an ordinary business formality, an ISO certification may be regarded as a globally recognized template for the execution of appropriate business practices that protect the interests of all stakeholders.