The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) was founded in 1928 as the International Federation of the National Standardizing Associations (ISA). ISO is a non-governmental independently functioning organization, of which nearly 164 nation-states are its members. ISO is known to be the world’s largest developer of “voluntary” international standards, facilities and guidelines. The organization has instated nearly 22,782 standards that now govern industry standards for a variety of manufacturing industries in food production and safety, agricultural production and healthcare services.
How to get ISO Certification?
The ISO certification process involves two main components. Firstly, applicant will need to choose the appropriate ISO certification for the product or company that he/she wish to be certified. Secondly, he/she will need to apply for the appropriate ISO and get audited.
Types of ISO Certifications
To choose the appropriate ISO certification, there are two components involved. Firstly, one need to choose the ISO certification that is in fact applicable to the business plans. There are various types of ISO certifications such as:
- ISO 9001:2008 – Quality Management System
- ISO 27001 – Information Security Management System
- ISO 10002 – Compliant Management System
- ISO 26000 – Social Responsibility
- ISO 22008 – Food Safety Management
- SA 8000 – Social Accountability
- SO 13485 – Medical devices
- ISO 20121 – Sustainable events
Depending on the type of business or product and the minimum standards compliance that applicant wish to declare, can choose from the appropriate ISO certification. The next step is choosing an appropriate ISO certification body.
Choosing a ISO Certification body
An important point to note is that the ISO does not provide ISO certifications for businesses and products. The certification process itself is conducted by third-party services. However, applicant can choose the certification body on his/her own discretion depending on how credible and legitimate the certification body is.
A few things to consider while choosing an ISO certification body are:
- Conduct thorough evaluation of the various ISO certification bodies.
- Any legitimate ISO service provider must follow ISO’S Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) standards, which are the guidelines committee arbitrating and assessment conformity standards.
It is also necessary to check whether the certification body is accredited or not. While accreditation is not compulsory, it is necessary for the ISO certification to meet the minimum requirements of ISO accreditation agencies.
ISO Certification Process in India
The ISO certification process is comprised of a few main steps involving the filling of the application form, review of documents and detailed auditing procedures. Below, we will look at the general outline of how to apply for and register an ISO for business or product:
- Applying: After having selected an appropriate ISO certification for a product or business, applicant needs to fill in an application form towards the registrar that can be submitted in form of letter or email. The application will need to contain essential details, such as the scope of the certification, general details of the organization including its features and general information and sought certification standards.
- Review of Documents: After the submission of the application form, the auditor will review the various documents regarding quality control and various policies and procedures of the organization.
- Pre-assessment: The pre-assessment stage is where entrepreneur needs to or have a review conducted of the pre-existing quality control standards in his/her organization to identify any omissions or faults in the policies related to quality management.
- Action Plan: After the initial review by the auditor and identification of the faults in existing quality control standards of organization, he/she will need to review these comments and eliminate the existing deficiencies. This accounts for the action plan.
- First Audit: The first or initial audit stage involves a thorough inspection by the auditor regarding existing and revised quality controls and the findings of the non-conformities are categorized either as minor non-conformances or major non-conformances. Minor non-conformances constitute minor procedural faults or gaps in the system in compliance with ISO standards. Major non-conformances include the faults in the existing quality standards system that can lead to potential collapse of the system.
- Final Audit: By the final audit stage, all major non-conformities will need to be removed and if all the quality gaps have been addressed and rectified, the ISO auditor will prepare the final audit report and forward ISO certification application to ISO registrar.
- Get ISO Certificate: After all the non-conformities are addressed, the registrar will provide the ISO Certificate.
- Surveillance Audit: These are the periodic audits that will be conducted to ensure that the organisation is maintaining ISO quality standards or not.
After the successful submission of the application form and auditing processes, applicant will be granted the ISO certification. Subsequently, surveillance audits will be conducted periodically to ensure that the organization is maintaining the quality standards are declared through the ISO certification. For new organizations, ISO certifications are one of the important foundations towards a successful enterprise.
Features & Benefits of ISO Certification
ISO certification has several benefits that are necessary not only to endorse high-quality standards, but also to maintain basic compliance mechanism. Some of the key benefits are:
- ISO certification grants international credibility to a business.
- ISO standards play a huge role towards customer trust and satisfaction in business.
- ISO certification can grant access to government tenders.
- ISO certification goes a long way towards the setting up of efficient Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for a company.
- ISO certification assures that one’s products are up-to-date with international standards.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is ISO?
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a quality management tool that provides a sort of identity to company’s quality management system.
What is ISO 9001?
It is a type of certificate that depicts the quality of the product on international basis. It is a kind of certificate from the family of ISO 9000. The other two certificates that come under ISO 9000 are ISO 9001 & ISO 9004.
What is ISO audit?
ISO audit is a type of tool used to check the quality process system of an organization. When a company takes ISO certification, ISO audit needs to be done every year.
How much does an ISO certification cost?
ISO certification costs can vary from one organization to another. The ISO certification services provider will calculate the ISO certification cost for the organization depending on the number of employees, levels of risk, the intricacy of the management apparatus and number of shifts.
How long does it take to get an ISO certification?
Time to get an ISO certification depends on the type of organization and certification applied for. While for small organizations, it takes between 6 and 8 months, for medium sized organizations it can up to a year and for large organizations it can take up to 18 months.