Certification process for small consultancy practice far away from main cities

C

cormorant

#1
Hi All,

We are a small engineering consultancy that is planning to become ISO 9001:2008 certified next year. Currently we are hoping to:
  • Purchase one of the available templates as a starting point,
  • Prepare Quality manual & procedures
  • Implement documented system
  • Perform internal audits
  • Pre-assessment by certification body
  • CPA of audit findings
  • Final certification
I would like to know if this a realistic way of tackling the process and what's the best way to choose a certification body. We have quotes from a few so far but they all seem to include preliminary audits which I don't think we'll need and on top of that annual visits for at least $1,725 each year.

Are these a necessary aspect of maintaining certification? And are these costs typical of certifiers? I must admit that we are in Alice Springs which is at least 1500km from other main cities in Australia so we are hoping to do as much by email and telephone when dealing with interstate organisations.

Thanks in advance and if there is another thread which already features a relevant response please let me know.

Cheers
 
Elsmar Forum Sponsor
#2
Re: Certification process

Hi Cormorant, and welcome to the Cove. :bigwave:

Whether this is a realistic plan or not is hard for me to say: It depends a lot on how much knowledge you start out with, the complexity of your processes, the company size and your type of activities. I have no idea about prices down under either, but skipping the preliminary audits may not be such a hot idea: They often provide information that helps you avoid unnecessary surprises in the certification audit.

Another aspect is how your current system works (It may not be official, or even written down, but we all have some guidelines telling us how to run our businesses). Is it running smoothly?

/Claes
 
C

cormorant

#4
Re: Certification process

Thanks for the response Claes. :)

Our knowledge is fairly basic to begin with but then so are most of our processes - there are only 6 employees - and the way we deal with our projects (feasibility studies for renewable energy projects, renewable energy system design and project management) is pretty consistent across the board. The organisation has only been in existence since 2007 and so far things are going smoothly.

I understand that skipping the preliminary audit might not be ideal, but since external auditing includes a pre-assessment stage 1 and then a stage 2 audit I thought that would be enough.

Has anyone worked with any of the QMS templates available? I've had difficulty finding reviews of these.

Cheers
 

Stijloor

Leader
Super Moderator
#5
Re: Certification process

<snip>Has anyone worked with any of the QMS templates available? I've had difficulty finding reviews of these.

Cheers
Here at The Cove Forums, we have all the support information you need. :agree1:
Just find the Post Attachment List, type in a keyword and voila!

I would stay away from canned stuff.
You spend more time (and money) modifying to make it work for you than it's worth.

Stijloor.
 
Last edited:
#6
Re: Certification process

I understand that skipping the preliminary audit might not be ideal, but since external auditing includes a pre-assessment stage 1 and then a stage 2 audit I thought that would be enough.
I would suggest a preliminary assessment if you have never experienced a Certification Body audit or don't have an external QMS consultant to help you. As a matter of clarification, a 'Stage 1' audit is NOT a 'pre-assessment'. The purpose of the stage 1 is to plan and prepare for the stage 2. The stage 1 has, therefore, a different focus to the pre-assessment, which an be used as a brief version of the 'stage 2'.

In practice, a small company like yours will probably have a stage 2 of about the same duration as a pre-assessment. Certification Bodies rarely schedule less than 1 day, so you'll have to answer the question of whether you'd get sufficient value from a pre-assessment. I'd recommend you find a good consultant, have them do the pre-assessment and give you some preparatory tips as they do it. You can't expect the 'tips' from a CB auditor!
 
Last edited:
J

JaneB

#7
Re: Certification process

In practice, a small company like yours will probably have a stage 2 of about the same duration as a pre-assessment. Certification Bodies rarely schedule less than 1 day, so you'll have to answer the question of whether you'd get sufficient value from a pre-assessment. I'd recommend you find a good consultant, have them do the pre-assessment and give you some preparatory tips as they do it. You can't expect the 'tips' from a CB auditor!
Very sound advice from Andy, as often. I agree with him. You'll get better value from the pre-assessment from a good (please note, good!) consultant - who can advise you on ways to meet shortfalls. Auditors aren't permitted to advise you, only to say whether you do/do not meet requirements.

Woops - I only just realised you're in the same part of the world so sorry, the previous email might sound as though I'm touting for biz, which I'm not. The advice still stands.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Q

qualitytrec

#8
I agree with Andy and Jane, especially if this is your first time going through registration with a company. A good auditor/consultant will help find things you may well be blind to due to your familiarity with your company and learning application of the standard to your managment system.
I agree with Stijloor in that the canned software is, in every case I have seen, more work than it is worth.
As far as the fees they seem in line to me.

Mark
 

qusys

Trusted Information Resource
#9
I would like to suggest to deal with the ISO 9001 certification as a project for the Company.
So it could be helpfull to assign a Project manager to track timelines, cost ad result.
For example this could be the Quality representative.
As preliminary try to follow an extensive training on QMS standards as well as quality audit: in this way the assigned resource will be able to deploy the training and information across all company.
After following this formative path, he /she will be able to perform a gap assessment of the organization towards the standards.
Then each gap shall be fullfilled, working for examle in team , by organizing a steering committee towards ISO 9001 certification.
The secret is the involvement and partecipation of all employees, management shall sponsor and support the achievement putting this as a quality objectives, in function of Company business plan.
 

harry

Trusted Information Resource
#10
What some engineering consultants over here did was to work through the local branch of their engineering institute - get a group of consultants interested in setting up a system and then engage an ISO Consultant. It is cheaper but they get less individual attention.
 
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