Selecting The Right ISO Certification Body
Mar 21,2022 / Haroon Juma / ISO Standard
Attaining an ISO certification is an important decision that will incur extensive effort and resources. Of equal importance is to assure the certification’s credibility to internal and external stakeholders which should be a primary consideration in the selection of the certification body. Informed stakeholders understand the rigor and detail certain ISO bodies will take before awarding any ISO certification, hence the body certifying will provide real credibility to the business.
A certification body is an independent third party accountable for the certification process. Organizations use certification bodies to acquire independent recognition. Independent recognition is increasingly predominant in a globalized world where potential clients are unable to overtake prospective suppliers or service providers across the globe. Certification guarantees that an organization complies with a set of requirements i.e. the ISO standard.
Many firms struggle to choose the right certification body as it is the most challenging undertaking. To obtain ISO certification, the organization must disclose a great deal of specific information about internal and external matters to the certifying authority. In addition, it is essential to trust and rely on the certification body.
Choosing the right certification body is the most important task since this is a long-term process that requires periodic renewal of certification and audits. As a result, there are certain criteria that can be used for the appropriate choice of body, including the following:
1. Accreditation: any organization can easily provide you with a piece of paper stating that you are ISO certified. It is essential to understand that not all certifying organizations are accredited or authorized to do so. You must ensure that the ISO certification body you choose is authorized by the statutory authorities to issue certifications.
2. Specialization: when choosing an ISO certification body, you must ensure that they have solid experience certifying organizations in the industry you operate. Most certification bodies that have been in the industry for several years have extensive knowledge of how a certain type of organization is supposed to operate.
This can help you avoid having to explain the processes to your third-party auditor during your audits. The certification body must possess certain skills which are required to deliver to an organization in terms of undertaking the proper auditing, training the employees, organizing a session to make them aware of the updates in the market, regular reporting, etc.
Cost: the cost of ISO certification should be considered, but it should be weighed against the benefits provided by your chosen certifying body. Be diligent in looking for variety of rates around you and perform a simple cost-benefit analysis to determine if the services they offer are worth the price they offer. Importantly, audits are conducted on a three-year cycle.
- Certification audit
- Surveillance audits – these are annual audits. The cycle of the audits is based on the size of your organization.
- Recertification audits – these audits are conducted every three years and are more thorough than the surveillance audits.
3. Flexibility: it’s possible that an organization will seek certification from international bodies, or that an organization will operate beyond international borders. In this case, both the parties must be able to adjust, and the certifying body must work without constraints. A certifying organization that can change the scheduling and give services in a timely manner should also be considered.
4. Consistency: when selecting a certification body, make sure it is consistent and fits the correct incompatibilities. The certification body moves in lockstep with an organization’s goals and objectives and recognizes to meet the needs and expectations. The certification body will supervise all modifications that are required and must be implemented.
5. Language: the two-way communication strategy should be used to avoid any gaps in communication and to ensure clarity in the process. A certification body shares even the tiniest of details with an organization to support the certification. Good communication helps to form a strong long-term relationship.
6. 360-degree Approach: before finalizing the certification body it is important to see what process they follow and how they handle uncertainty. Whether they come up with the solutions or training methods, they should be able to offer suggestions on how to deal with any uncertainties.
It’s also crucial to keep track of everything and documentation accessible for future reference. A certification body considers a variety of factors, and an organization must ensure that it follows the 360-degree approach taking into consideration both internal and external regulations and policy structures.
7. Deadlines: when it comes to certification, on-time work is essential and no delays should be tolerated. Always double-check that a certification body submits and completes their work on schedule to avoid delays. Obtaining certification on time is always an advantage.
8. Brand & Reputation: certain certification bodies have a well-known mark that may be attractive when considering the use of the certification mark on printed materials and the website. However, certain certification bodies operate in specific niche areas or have a unique reputation in an industry. When selecting a certification body, it may be beneficial to obtain feedback from customers, suppliers, and competitors on their experiences with certification bodies.
Choosing a certification body may go well beyond simple price comparisons. Your organization must preferably think beyond conformity. As a result, be diligent and choose the certification body that meets the needs of your business.
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