Should An ISO 9001 Consultant be Expert in an Industry?

#1
Should the ISO 9001 consultant be expert in an industry?

This question is as old as ISO 9k itself or even older i think...

My opinion is that consultant dont have to be an EXPERT, but he definately must KNOW the industry, main problems, main processes of the enterprise he consults.
 
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Marc

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#2
Yes and No

With respect to ISO 9001, QS-9000, ISO 14001, etc., I used to believe this - and in fact insisted on auditors having direct experience in the field. I was a strict resume checker in the early years of ISO.

But after about 10 years of doing the dance, I have to say it depends upon the person. I've now done a number of industries I have had absolutely no work experience in at all. Just a year ago I did an insurance company - as an example. Neither the auditors, nor the RAB witness auditor, had any industry experience at all either. Everything worked out fine. See http://Elsmar.com/pdf_files/FWSC/

I don't think this is typically the case, but often is. The key is being able to understand ISO as basic business practices and being able to look at a business and be able to equate the requirements of the standard(s) with what the company does and how they operate. With experience comes some ability to do this.

That said, I surely don't think direct experience within an industry is a bad idea. However - direct industry experience does not a good consultant make!!! (with respect to ISO 9001, QS-9000, ISO 14001, etc.). :thedeal:
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#3
Bravo Marc.....

I advertise myself as a Business Management Consultant that "specializes" in 14K, OSHA, EPA, DOT, OHSAS, etc.

The key words I think are "Business Management". That's why I did an MBA instead of a MS in Safety. I wanted to be a more rounded person offering services, and to do so I needed to expand my marketability.

A good knowledge of the system can allow you to go into any environment and be of assistance. In cases of new environments, many times a person with no previous experience will ask the questions that are never asked, and offer solutions that were never thought of before because of a fresh, unhindered by experience prejudices, approach.
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
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#4
Business Standards Compliance

This is in large part why I call my 'company' Cayman Business Systems' and state that that I specialize in business standards compliance.

Of course, I personally think I'm pretty good at what I do (not to mention I'm relatively inexpensive).
 
#5
I believe the consultant must be an expert…in something! I specialize in ISO 9K, 14K, QS…etc. If I need to know how my area relates to the processes of the client. Marc, I take it your insurance experience was ISO related (you mentioned RAB). Your success was based on your expertise in ISO, not the insurance industry. If you were consulting on rate determination, you might have had a much more difficult time. (although I am confident you would have exceeded your customer’s expectations because you are, as we all know unmatched in abilities).;)

Consultants need to know either the process, or the subject matter, perhaps both.

Dave B (the other Dave)
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
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#8
Originally posted by db

I believe the consultant must be an expert…in something! I specialize in ISO 9K, 14K, QS…etc. If I need to know how my area relates to the processes of the client. Marc, I take it your insurance experience was ISO related (you mentioned RAB). Your success was based on your expertise in ISO, not the insurance industry. If you were consulting on rate determination, you might have had a much more difficult time. (although I am confident you would have exceeded your customer’s expectations because you are, as we all know unmatched in abilities). ;)

Consultants need to know either the process, or the subject matter, perhaps both.

Dave B (the other Dave)
I understand where you're coming from, but you're looking at 2 aspects. Consulting with respect to ISO vs. with respect to specific, individual processes. ISO wise I don't care what your processes are - you can explain them to me but typically that's easy stuff.

Yes - I consult with respect to compliance to business standards. I wouldn't begin to 'consult' with respect to specific, individual processes that I don't have direct experience in.

You are correct - I would not be the appropriate person to hire as a consultant to address problems with specifics such as 'rate determination' in the insurance industry. :thedeal:

Bottom line is I agree with you. :agree:
 

Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
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#9
Originally posted by SteelMaiden

Is that better or worse than being reffered to as "The ISO Pimp"?
Surely you've noticed my :thedeal: 'trademark' which I use to end most of my posts...

Doesn't bother me. Pimp. Prostitute. Who cares - as long as you give a customer (client) value and the customer is happy. :thedeal:
 
N

Neelanshu Varma

#10
If we keep the audit objective as "compliance" then it really doesn't matter whether the auditor is knowledgeable about the industry or not. However if we look at audit an an oppurtunity to identify improvements in the system then an industry expert adds lot more value compared to an outsider.

Cheers
Neelanshu:)
 
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