An Overview of ISO Certification
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international non- governmental body based in Geneva, Switzerland providing guidelines to companies in terms of product health, quality and performance. There are different varieties of ISO certification like:
- ISO 9001-Quality Management
- ISO 14001-Environmental management
- ISO 27001-Information Security Management system (ISMS)
- ISO 50001-Demonstrates best energy management practices
- ISO 22000-Food Safety Management
- ISO 20000-Demonstrates perfection and most excellent practices in the IT and enhancement in the delivery of IT services.
ISO 9000 is seen in term of prestige and quality of product and services and to meet customer satisfaction and administrative provisions.
Among other certifications that fall under ISO certifications, ISO 9001:2015 is particularly acknowledged as an international standard for the quality management system (QMS). Since ISO 9001:2015 is globally accepted and recognized, all kinds of large, medium and small enterprises can implement it to enhance quality, efficiency and profits that also comes with benefits of diminishing of cost and reducing waste.
The Advantages of an ISO Certifications for a Company
The main reasons a business or company of any size or industry needs an ISO Certification that it is mandatory by law or contract. The secondary reason is to adhere to the standards comes with benefits that are:
- Build customer confidence that your products are reliable and secure and meeting regulation terms, at a lower cost.
- Reduce costs across all aspects of your business and obtain market access across the globe.
- ISO standards give specifications to assure products and services operate the way you anticipate them to.
- It assists in improving customer satisfaction. In a world where the customer’s opinion is more prominent, this is a crucial business requirement.
- ISO provides international guidelines that incorporate all aspects of product safety, including product recall methods, food safety, child-related products, cross-border trade and consumer product safety direction for suppliers.
- Exhibition of management commitment towards quality of services and products and decreasing number of defects that result in fewer complaints, hence reducing compensation costs.
- Provides consistent outcomes which are measured and monitored.
- ISO certification a crucial requirement before carrying on business with a new vendor and eligibility to enter the international markets.
- ISO certification helps business entity winning public and private contracts.
Understanding ISO Standards
The ISO has over 22000 standards that are related to services, goods and processes, in which most common among these are ISO 9000 family of standards, which are standard for ensuring that products and services are continuously being improved and are of high quality.
Recent Version of ISO 9001:2015 primarily deals with eight business principles :
- Process approach
- Mutually beneficial supplier relationships
- Factual approach to decision making
- Continuous improvement
- System approach to management
- Involvement of people
- Customer focus
The Requirements for ISO 9001:2015
ISO 9001:2015 has 10 clauses in which requirements for QMS is mention in the 4th clause, where the organization demonstrates compliance and requires to fulfil the conditions for third-party certification.
Description related to various clauses of ISO 9001:2015 requirements are mention below:
Clause 1, 2 and 3: Introduction, reference and definitions
These three clauses are broadly introductory contain information related to references for ISO term and definition as well as the organization’s vision and mission statements.
Clause 4: Context of The Organization
This clause deals with knowing the organization and its context, learning about the demands and expectations of involved parties, determining the extent of the quality management system, and quality management system and its methods.
Clause 5: Leadership
This clause should outline management commitment to ensure the establishment of the quality policy, customer satisfaction, different roles, responsibilities, and authorities relevant to QMS all over the organization.
Clause 6: Planning
This clause outline actions that address risks and opportunities for the implementation of Quality Management System (QMS) as well as quality objectives of improvement and planning to achieve to them.
Clause 7: Support
This clause focuses on allocation and management of resources needed for implementation, preservation, establishment, and continual enhancement of the quality management system in the organization which required environment for the operation of processes, monitoring and measuring resources, human resource, and infrastructure.
The organization shall require documented information for QMS and maintains the documents to demonstrate compliance.
Clause 8: Operation
This clause concerned with operational planning and control products or services of the organization, and it includes requirements related to:
- Design and advancement of products and services.
- Administration of externally rendered products, processes, and services.
- Production and service provision.
- Assets belonging to clients or external providers.
- Control of nonconforming outputs.
- Identification and traceability of products and services.
Clause 9: Performance Evaluation
This clause provides everything needed for analyzing the performance of QMS that involves assessing customer satisfaction, performing an internal audit, monitoring, estimation, analysis, evaluation, and review of ongoing QMS itself.
Clause 10: Improvement
The last clause covers everything essential for continuous improvement of QMS. It comprises identifying non-conformity and when non-conformity identified taking corrective action.
Pre-Requisite to ISO Certification Process in India
Choosing the Type of ISO Certification
The first step in the process of ISO certification is choosing the right type of certification according to your business requirements among various types of ISO certification that are mention in the overview part of this article.
Choosing an ISO Certification Body
The second step is choosing the right certification body since ISO itself does not provide certification, rather certification is done by a third-party organization.
Things to keep in mind while choosing the ISO registrar:
- Check if the registrar agencies certified by ISO and follow CASCO standards. CASCO is the ISO committee that operates on matters relating to compliance assessment.
- Check whether registrar agency accredited by IAF or not. IAF stands for international accreditation forum. An IAF accreditation is not mandatory, but it adds more credibility to third party agencies.
Process for ISO Certification in India
Complete ISO Application Form
An online ISO form has to fill with corresponding documents and complete information that includes information related to the year of commencement, address of company, and nature of the business.
Steps Involved in Online ISO Certification.
Visit the ISO online registration portal.
Submit a scanned copy of your passport size photos.
Submit the scanned copies of your Aadhar card and purchase bill.
E-mail the scanned documents to the ISO certification body.
Select the type of certificate from the list that appears.
File the documents with the registrar.
ISO certificate is audited by the certifying authority and issued via E-mail.
Consultation on Registration Type
There are many kinds of ISO certifications, hence it is recommended to consult an expert to select the accreditation standards that fit.
All of the documents that submitted along with the application is verified then filed with concerned ISO registrar. Once the submission is confirmed, online payment needs to be made via one of the payment modes. Documents needed for ISO registration process :
- Company Profile
- Company Letterhead
- Company Visiting Card
- Company Pan Card
- Company Address Proof
- Copy of Sales & Purchase Bill
Pre-Audit (not mandatory): This is a gap analysis phase against the standard. It helps companies to identify what they need to do to prepare for a certification audit.
Certification audits are conducted in 2 stages:
- Stage 1 Audit is a preparation evaluation audit to demonstrate that the organization is prepared for certification.
- Stage 2 Audit is an evaluation of implementation, along with the effectiveness, and performance evaluation of the management system of the organization. This is the phase where certification is given. A certificate is valid for 3 years and is awarded based on the results of stage 2 audit.
Surveillance audits are conducted to check that the management system maintains fulfilment against requirements of the standard and are also conducted to observe the continual improvement of the management system. They are conducted from time to time.
Completing the ISO Certification
When all of the non-conformity get addressed and if the audit is successful, the ISO certificate will be granted by the registrar to the company.
The Cost Associated in the ISO Certification Process
The cost involved in getting ISO certification varies from organization to organization. The ISO certification agency will decide the varying cost for each organization based on these parameters such as:
- Level of risk correlated with the range of services of the organization.
- The number of employees and processes.
- The complexity of the management system and the number of working shifts etc.
The Time Involved in the ISO Certification Process
The time involved in completing the process also differs from organization to organization. The time required to finish the process of ISO certification based on size is estimated:
- Large organizations: 12–15 months
- Medium organizations: 8–12 months
- Small organizations: 6–8 months