Here at UKRAS we like to ensure that ISO Certification is easy to understand and in line with that philosophy, here are the most frequently asked questions that we are asked by prospective clients. If your question does not appear here, please contact us through ukras.co.uk and we will endeavour to answer.
An ISO standard is a documented agreement containing technical specifications or other precise criteria to be used consistently as rules, guidelines, or definitions of characteristics to ensure that materials, products, processes and services are fit for their purpose. It is a living agreement that can have a profound influence on things that deserve to be taken seriously – such as the safety, reliability and efficiency of machinery and tools, means of transport & so on.
ISO’s work makes a positive difference to the world we live in. ISO standards add value to all types of business operations. They contribute to making the development, manufacturing and supply of products and services more efficient, safer and cleaner. They make trade between countries easier and fairer. ISO standards also serve to safeguard consumers and users of products and services in general – as well as making their lives simpler.
At its simplest, “conformity assessment” means checking that products, materials, services, systems or people measure up to the specifications of a relevant standard. For example, a customer may want to check that the product he or she ordered from a supplier meets the purpose for which it is required. One of the most efficient ways to do this is when the specifications of the product have been defined in an International Standard. That way, both supplier and customer are on the same wavelength, even if they are based in different countries, because they are both using the same references.
ISO Certification costs vary dependent on the size of an organisation and the level to which the company is already run with regards to processes and procedures. If you decide to implement more than one standard at the same time, there are some preferential fees available. We are a fixed fee organisation, which means once we have met you to discuss your requirements and sent you a formal quotation, this fee is then set. We will not charge you any extra then what is specified, so that you know from the outset your costs and the payment method.
We aim for a 6-8 week delivery period, but again this can vary from organisation to organisation. We will never delay the process, however we understand that things can happen that may mean you require a small delay. We will accommodate this where possible; however for those who are looking to achieve the certifications as soon as possible, we will endeavour to ensure you obtain your certification within our standard timescales.
After the quotation has been accepted and the deposit payment has been received we offer all of our clients a letter that you can send to your potential clients or include with tenders, to confirm that you have entered the process and that you will be fully certified within 6-8 weeks.
Our main ethos is to keep the process for you, the customer, as simple as possible. We undertake an initial assessment of the company, to see where the company currently stands with regards to the chosen ISO system. From this we make a series of recommendations on what needs to be done to become compliant.
We will then draw up a plan for implementing the recommendations, complete as many of them for you as possible, write your manual and mandatory standard operating procedures (as required by the standard) and then 6-8 weeks after the first initial assessment visit come back to present the manual with your ISO certification.
You will be certified from this point forward. The systems are focused on continual improvement, therefore we will visit you on a regular basis to ensure that you are on track with the recommendations and ready for re-certification year on year.
It is important to understand that ISO certification and ISO accredited certification are two different things. ISO accreditation or ISO accredited certification is when a company has achieved an ISO and / or a BS standard by a certification body that is accredited by QABCB or equivalent. Every country has its own version of QABCB and although they are not akin to government, they act as the governing body for certification companies.
An audit is the process by which a company shows evidence of working to the required system and this is a compulsory element of the ISO / BS systems. A qualified auditor will attend your premises in order to assess your management system against the ISO/BS Standard that you are certified to, and will request to see evidence resulting from the companies processes and procedures to ensure the system is being used and maintained on a regular basis.
The auditor will typically compose a report, analysing your management system and the use of, against the clauses of the standard. Certiva Limited will also provide you with recommendations for improvement that will have been agreed with you to assist you to drive the system forward to enable continuous improvement, thus getting the most out of the standard/s.
Auditing is a required element of the ISO/BS Standards. It is the proof that the system you have implemented is fit for purpose and continually improving. It is the regular check that you are managing the system/s consistently.
The guidance that you will receive at the internal review stage will help you to effectively manage your management systems and remain compliant to the relevant standard/s. The auditor will help you to identify which aspects of the management system require improvement; this will provide you with the ability to develop and enhance the management system through a set of focused action points in a step by step approach.
There are over 16,500 different management standards, therefore finding the ones that are right for your business can sometimes be confusing. The best place to start is ISO 9001 quality management, as this is the core standard that most of the other well-known standards are based on. It’s focused on customer service and ensuring your customer receives the service they want, at a time that’s relevant for a cost that’s fair.
A non-conformance is when something within the business doesn’t go according to plan, which may result in a customer complaint or a delay in the normal process. These are to be viewed as ‘opportunities for improvement’ and are recorded so that trends can be identified and action can be taken.
Yes, it can. This usually happens when an organisation becomes dissatisfied with the service provided by a certification or the fee it charges. Perhaps the quality of the audits or auditors is not as would be expected, additional ‘extra’ fees are being added to invoices, or the certificate does not display a valid accreditation mark? For companies wishing to enter international markets or win an important client, an accreditation mark, such as UKRAS, can play a crucial role.