Basically, there will be four major steps in your ISO certification process.
- Write documentation.
You’ll need a written quality manual, certain written procedures, and probably some forms. Some records will have to be kept. Your documentation will have to meet the requirements of the ISO quality standard. It will also have to fit your company’s quality goals. Your quality documentation says what you do, how you do it, and provides proof that you do it. You must be able to demonstrate that you are continuously improving your quality system as well as your product or service, and your customers’ satisfaction.
All of your people will require some training. The amount of training is dependent on each individual’s responsibilities.
- Practice and live with your quality system for a few months.
Undoubtedly you will find that some changes need to be made. Keep records in accordance with your quality system. After a few months your quality system and your people should be ready for the registration audit.
- Get audited.
The number of auditors needed, and the time involved to conduct a registration audit will vary according to the size and complexity of your company. During an ISO audit, the auditor(s) will examine your records and will talk with your people. It is very important that your staff is properly trained and that your records are in order. Auditors write up problems as “nonconformances”. Nonconformances can be “major” or “minor”. Auditors can also write up “observations”.
A major nonconformance will cause you not to get certified to the ISO standard. Minor nonconformances may or may not prevent your certification, it all depends on the number and severity of your nonconformances. Auditors have a fair amount of discretion in what they write up, and whether or not you will get certified on your first try.
Observations will not cause you to lose your certification, they are usually suggestions by the auditor for how you might be able to make improvements to your Management system.