The Process of Obtaining an ISO Certification

Last updated Feb 23, 2017

obtaining iso certification process

ISO certification is the next thing business owners and managers think about once they have built the required quality systems and conducted the audit. However, not all business owners know the proper steps for obtaining an ISO certification. Those who know the ISO certification process may not know if they are getting the most value from their investments. There are eight essential steps for obtaining an ISO certification.

1. Find an ISO 9001 Registrar
Begin your ISO registration process by looking for an ISO registrar. This should preferably be done during the two or three months when your company is building its quality systems. Consider searching the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board for the right registrar for your company. The registrar you choose should meet the requirements of ISO accreditation bodies.

2. Select an ISO Registrar
Choose a registrar with experience in your specific industry. There are various factors to consider when choosing a registrar including scheduling issues, comfort levels, and fees. The qualifications of the registrar you choose are an essential consideration. Registrars are required to be accredited in specific industries in order for them to certify companies in their respective sectors. Some registrars are accredited in several industries while others are accredited in only one industry.

One of the best ways to evaluate the qualifications of a registrar is to call them. Once you have evaluated the registrar’s qualifications consider the costs that come with their services including cost of surveillance, expenses, and fees. In addition, consider the overall experience you get with the registrar. Consider their interpersonal skills, office support, ability to effectively answer questions, and flexibility of the registrar in adjusting dates.

3. Create an ISO Application
Draft an agreement with your registrar. This is an essential step in the ISO registration process because it determines the rights and obligations of all relevant parties and includes access rights, confidentiality, and liability issues.

4. Conduct a Quality Document Review
One of the things that your registrar will require is a quality manual and procedures to verify that all requirements have been addressed. ISO certification can be a time consuming process. Therefore, provide your registrar with a two to four weeks allowance to allow him to fully review your company’s documents.

5. Determine Pre-assessment Needs
The two to four weeks allocated to initial review help to identify significant omissions and weaknesses. They help the company save time and allow the registrar to identify issues before the actual assessment audit.

6. Issue an ISO Assessment
During this stage, the auditors will conduct an onsite inspection and issue reports and recommendations in case they find non-comformities and areas that do not meet ISO standards.

7. Complete ISO 9001 Registration
The company can register as ISO 9001 conformant once all the findings have been put into the audit report and all non-conformities addressed.

8. Check with Surveillance Audits
Regular surveillance is required to ensure that required systems are maintained and that deficiencies are addressed. Auditors usually conduct one full and two partial audits during the three-year period of the certification.

A company’s ISO certification process begins once it has done its ISO 9001 audit. The main function of the certification is to show that the company has met all ISO standards.

Are you looking for assistance with obtaining an ISO Certification or updating your ISO Standards? Contact Ledge today for a consultation.


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Adam Marsh

Adam Marsh

President, Ledge Inc.

Adam is a Penn State engineer that has served as a Data Analyst and Engineer at St. Onge Company for 5 years, prior to establishing Ledge Inc. While maintaining a focus on simple solutions, Ledge Inc. has provided quality system implementation, process design, database development, quality tools, quality training, and data analysis to over 35 companies in South Central Pennsylvania and throughout the country. Adam currently serves as the sitting Chair for American Society for Quality Harrisburg Section 503 and as a member of the board for The Manufacturers’ Associations of South Central PA.



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