Tentatively approaching a Certification Body - Any tips?

A

apinop

#1
So we are in the process of setting up our QMS (and your advice on a previous post of mine has been incredibly helpful to get us unstuck).

In principle we do not require certification by an accredited body, but we may go for it nonetheless. For one thing, the industry regulator can then use the certificate as proof of compliance as regards the QMS, and for another, many in our industry are ISO-9001 certified so that may give us a slight advantage.

However, we will only do it if the costs and any possible overhead can be kept at reasonable levels.

I was going to pick up the phone and start ringing the accredited bodies in this country, but it occurred to me to perhaps ask here before for any tips on how it might be best to approach this, considering that we may or may not go ahead with the accredited certification at this time (the main factor being cost vs. potential benefit).

The advice by Sidney Vianna in an old post [1] appears very relevant, and I'm also reading through some of the other threads, such as [2] and [3].

I have a feeling that the majority of CB customers will come to them as established companies, rather than right off the bat as in our case, so I expect not every CB may be experienced or comfortable with this scenario. Have any of you been in a similar situation, either as a customer or an auditor?

[1] https://elsmar.com/Forums/showpost.php?p=533135&postcount=3
[2] https://elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=46069
[3] https://elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=18976
 
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normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#2
I've nothing to offer in direct response to your question, but it's helpful to work with a CB that is willing to let you interview the auditor prior to signing on with them.

Not all CBs can/will do this, but I prefer (to use a metaphor) to meet for coffee before committing to a blind date ;-)
 
R

randomname

#3
I line Normzone's idea. Remember that the CB is a supplier to your organization, and should be assessed and monitored as such.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#4
There is definitely an advantage if you know your auditor before hand. We where able to work with a group of like minded auditors over the years. We followed them from CB to CB. I have spent countless hours with the auditors over the years. Talked to the CB for maybe an hour total.
 
A

apinop

#5
I guess there is a consensus that it's the individual auditor that counts (mostly), and that it is with them, rather than their CB, that a relationship will be built.

Any particular traits to look out for in a good auditor (as opposed to a CB¹)? And conversely, any sure signs of a psychopath?


¹ I found this PDF helpful in that regard: elsmar.com/pdf_files/Registrar_C.pdf
 

normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#6
Re auditors, it's very helpful if you can find one with some experience in your field or something similar. If you drill oil wells and the auditor comes from food service or vice versa, it will be a challenge.

As for psychopaths, just the usual advice for interviewing somebody. We all have our interview personae we use - I try to get the person to relax and let down their guard and let you see what they are genuinely like. If they are unwilling to step out of character after a while, they are generally going to be tightly wound, which may translate into difficult to deal with in the long run. Your mileage may vary.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#7
Take Sidney's advice, and if you interview me I may tell ya what you don't want to hear. Also the auditor you get 1st may not be the one you end up with in the long run, things change as do auditors
 
A

apinop

#8
If you drill oil wells and the auditor comes from food service or vice versa, it will be a challenge.
Yes indeed. This is in fact a major concern for one of my partners, as he can't see how an auditor can determine whether we are "doing it right" in a very technical field that employs less than a thousand people worldwide. I am not so bothered as, except for the very fine details, I believe that a capable consultant should be perfectly able to follow through and ask the right questions.

With that said, I'll consider asking our industry regulator (who will audit us) for the name of their own auditors. That way at least there will be some common ground between all of us.
 

normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#10
Take Sidney's advice, and if you interview me I may tell ya what you don't want to hear. Also the auditor you get 1st may not be the one you end up with in the long run, things change as do auditors
Well put, and in general if your QA guy does not periodically tell you something you don't like hearing then you're not getting your money's worth.


" If you drill oil wells and the auditor comes from food service or vice versa, it will be a challenge."

Yeah, I may have better phrased that as " MAY be a challenge". A good auditor will be able to set aside their own experiences in other fields while applying those lessons to your field.

There are generally equivalencies between the most complex and simplex operations - customers have fantasies, and your organization turns those into deliverables that you can charge money for. Everything in between is meeting customer requirements and being able to prove that you do so, and doing what is appropriate to sustain the relationship. :agree:
 
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