Getting Started in ISO 9001 - Small steel brokerage company


Oriole Adams

Greetings, all....

Our consultant told me about this site, and I've just spent several hours being intrigued by all the information. I hope y'all can put up with a novice like me. :D

I work for a small steel brokerage....very small, four people total. Our largest customer has now made it a requirement that all suppliers are ISO certified.

My boss, I must confess, is the ultimate cheapskate. Seriously, he pulls paper out of hallway wastebaskets to use in our copier in order to save money. So he's going the ISO route kicking and screaming. We had a meeting with a consultant today - boss' eyes glazed over in three minutes and he excused himself. I talked with her for two hours, and went through the basics of the ISO 9002 Standard.

Now, about four years ago, I worked at another steel company that was going through its QS9000 audit. In fact, that company had failed twice already, and I was there during two more audits. At the time, I worked closely with our consultant, and had a hand in preparing the manuals. So I have a little bit of background in the procedure.

The consultant we talked to today told me she thought I could write the policy and procedure manuals. However, she also said she could write them (for $2000, which made boss' head spin like Linda Blair). So.....with such a small operation, and no design work involved, could a layperson write the necessary manuals? What would be the next step? Have the consultant review them and make recommendations for changes? What would be the next step? Choosing an auditor? What's the difference between and auditor and a understanding is the auditor inspects, interviews, etc (well, "audits", I guess) and approves or disapproves. Then the registrar issues the certification. Is that right.....?

I'm trying to get a feel for is this possible with a minimal amount of $$ expenditure. I mean, in a way, we have no choice, if we want to keep our largest customer. But on the other hand, my boss is a "cake and eat it, too" kind of guy, and for some reason, it's now up to me to find the least expensive way to accomplish all this.

Thanks for listening, and thanks for any input. :bigwave:


Fully vaccinated are you?
I'm gonna tell you to 'Join' the Cove Premium Files Access or purchase the ISO Implementation File Set. They have about all the basics you will need. With one of those and visits here to ask questions, you can do it.

Auditors audit and registrars hire auditors to do registration audits. You will need a registrar. There's a forum here to ask about or to discuss specific registrars. There are a few weirdos using numbers as letters of the alphabet to represent their registrar (to prevent mentioning their registrars name directly for some strange reason {fear?}) but the 'code is pretty evident. In the packages I mentioned above there are documents with questions to ask registrars - how to compare them, spreadsheets to input costs to compare them cost wise, etc.

Got questions? Ask away! Yup - the Cove is the place (hopefully the regulars here will back me up here...) :thedeal:

Jim Biz


Oriole: the way I see it.... :thedeal:

a) One should always listen to the great & mighty Cheech Wizard.
(How's that for back-up Marc ?? :biglaugh:

b) There is little reason that you can't write your own system - and membership access to the files here is one of - if not the - most cost effective helpful set of materials for someone in your situation I can think of latley. (I did ours from scratch - before I stumbled across this site - they have greatly improved since - I got information from the folks here.)

c) Many of us believe that there are no dumb questions
(unless you ask-- how can we offer advise or debate the issues :confused: )

D) If we have beaten the topic surrouding your question to death in another thread..... someone here will be glad to let ya know where the discussion can be found.
(until you get the hang of searching the site on your own.)

E) Please feel free to not just ask questions but offer you own opinions - frankly - you wil find we all still can learn from the discussion interchange. :frust:

F) In case you missed the thread about who we are --or didnt read the attitude depression bs section - we've all been in similar situations as yourself - my boss did the ISO dance after our only customer gave us a "Date to be registered by") - and he also does the little nice things like reminding us it costs 1.2 cents for every photo-copy we run.

Let the questions begin

Al Dyer


I agree witk Marc, the premium access file is a good place to get the info you need. It is a limited file structure designed to help people such as you and me. Tell your cheapskate boss that for about $250 you can get just about any the training you guys need.


Fully vaccinated are you?
Who Recommended The Cove?

Originally posted by Oriole Adams

Our consultant told me about this site...
I just have to ask.... Who recommended this backwoods site to you where the most popular thread is about Roadkill, Insects, Rodents, Snails and other 'Life' (Dead or Alive) - How to Skin (snow tires was my personal favourite), Prepare, Season and Serve ? :thedeal: We can get pretty strange here... :smokin:

Come on now. You gotta tell us! Give credit where credit is due! :D


Super Moderator
I can't believe it...somebody is actually listening to the consultant:eek:

As stated above, there is no reason why you cannot write everything yourself....Join the Cove premium Files like Marc recommended, and come here often for all the freebies you can get.



Just something to think about


I strongly recommend that you convince “Mr. Recyclable Scrap Paper” that the “Premium” package is a good investment.

Having said that, (the fly in the ointment) will “Mr. Let’s Use Our Coffee Cups Over To Save On Water and Detergent” allow you the time to write your own procedures? Contrary to what others may think, it’s not an easy task. Researching, getting the parties together and releasing the actual working document requires “additional” resources. Are you employed there just to implement ISO? If not, $2K for “Guaranteed” procedures that you can work with, is really not bad.

“Mr. Forget About Any Wastepaper Baskets” will also expect you to perform all your functions without compromise. It appears that he is counting pennies and, to me, means that you are in a lean running operation. I’m doing here, what you are attempting to do there. As a co-worker, I don’t have the clout to get interested parties together because of one reason or another. (Familiarity breeds contempt kind of thing). You only have 4 employees so you might get lucky. It’s very time consuming to get just one procedure through the process. Even though I present them as working copies of procedures, everybody now becomes a procedure writer. They question my “draft” procedure as if I just dreamed it up. And, the Cove is my primary source for materials. Many times, I have handed out my reference materials at these meetings and they just gloss over them put them aside and want to start over.

In the meantime, I am expected to perform my ancillary duties such as OSHA, Environmental and Quality Control issues. When I moan about not having enough time, (and you will go it alone) I get “Well, you’ll just have to work 50-60 hours a week to get it done”. (Not in this life!) :)) So, I suggested that we have these meetings on a Saturday, or after working hours. That didn’t sit well because nobody else involved was willing to do the “extra” time. YOU need complete authority and dedicated or ample time to do this yourself. People tend to pay attention to a Consultant because of the appearance of “Authority” given by top management to complete the project.

Again, Premium Access is a good deal and I intend to renew if Marc stays the course and the Cove survives. (Let me know when I’m expired, Cheech.) Actually, there have been requests from upstairs to find out what my ISO “Buddies” have to say about this or that. At least they’re interested, if not convinced that my stuff is based on actual practices. Good luck with “Mr. Two Paperclips Per Week.” You have a tough road ahead no matter which way you go. I just wanted you to know that it's not made of yellow brick.:smokin:


I think Energy has worked for my boss!

He brags that he's never paid for a copier toner cartridge in 11 years; he takes the empty one back to the store and says it was like that when he bought it. None of us are allowed to return phone calls (other than to customers) if they're long-distance. So you're right about him worrying about the time it takes to compile and write the manuals (his oft-repeated mantra: "Time=$$"). And, as you observed, he'll expect me to do everything on my own time more or less, as I'll have to get all my regular work done while at the office. (By now you're probably wondering why do I stay at this place....only reason is I need the health insurance.)

All that said, I can't thank the wonderful folks in this Forum enough for the warm welcome, the encouragement, and the good advice. I shall be looking into the Premium File section shortly.

Oh, and it was our Consultant who recommended this site. She was really a sweetheart.....intelligent, warm, extremely knowledgable, great sense of humor. She was able to illustrate each point of the Standard with an easy-to-understand, real-life analogies. (Anyone in metro Detroit who's looking for a consultant, email me and I'll give you her info.) I felt bad for her, boss left the meeting after two minutes. After she left, he confessed "I'm glad you could talk to her; she drove me nuts." Between you and me and the cyberwalls, I know that the only thing he didn't like about her was that she was a woman. He barely tolerates me for the same reason.

Anyway, my thanks again to all of you, and I shall be a frequent visitor to the Cove!


Fully vaccinated are you?
Originally posted by Unregistered

Oh, and it was our Consultant who recommended this site. She was really a sweetheart.....intelligent, warm, extremely knowledgable, great sense of humor. She was able to illustrate each point of the Standard with an easy-to-understand, real-life analogies.
Tell us who she is! I'd be surprised if she will mind a big "Kudos". :thedeal:


Am there, doing that

Yes, there are good resources here. While I haven't purchased premium membership (which is no reflection of my opinion of the value of it- I just don't have clearance to do this) - I do believe most strongly in ....ta da....plagerism.

I've searched out examples of procedures and manuals and have built a Frankenstein out of bits and pieces. Our company is somewhat special and nothing I found online was a perfect fit for things that would work here, but I gleaned enough to be able to put things together. The problem is that it is a hell of alot more expensive than buying something pre-packaged!
:eek: I'm at this job fulltime and it still takes forever to accomplish anything. Since July I have written the manual, 4 procedures, and 2 work instructions. Other projects that you will find you need to do is put together ISO training sessions, decide on procedure templates, develop your database or spreadsheets for things like document distribution and document numbering. Lots of small things that take time. Your boss should seriously consider the consultant's offer.

Like energy, I can't get anyone together in a meeting to get anything done. Well fine. The 6 minimum procedures are the ones that I have to write anyway and so whatever I say is going to be the way it is. For those things anyway.

You can find lots of procedures and manuals online. Just use the search button and cruise.
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