If your organisation lacks knowledge of implementing any of the ISO standards including ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management Systems) and ISO 45001 (Occupational Health & Safety Systems), it may be advisable and more productive to employ the use of a Consultant.
Choosing a Consultancy may seem a daunting task as there are many out there with varying degrees of knowledge and skills. Hopefully the answers to the following questions will help you get there.
What’s the price tag?
Price will always be a key factor within most organisations.
There are a number of Consultancies who offer both consultation and certification with no independent assessment of the company’s Management System.
These are usually very competitively priced as their clients do not have to incur further costs from a Certification Body (CB’s) e.g. BSI, Lloyds, SGS, TUV and many others.
Independent CB’s are normally UKAS Accredited (United Kingdom Accreditation Services). UKAS being a government recognised body who in short, provide accreditation and assurance of the competence, impartiality and integrity of conformity assessment bodies. UKAS accredited certification reduces the need for suppliers to be assessed by each of their customers.
QuServe Quality Consultancy Ltd totally recommends this route when choosing independent consultation and eventual certification.
Knowledge, experience and qualifications
A consultant who has a good understanding of the processes of your business will help you build a more effective system in less time. The ones starting with zero knowledge will have a steeper learning curve and it will most likely be on your time.
Industry knowledge can also be gained from previous consulting or auditing experience.
Quserve advise that you seek consultancies who offer consultants with Lead Auditor qualifications.
This provides assurance that the consultant has a thorough understanding of the system/s you require. You would not use a Gas Fitter who is not Gas Safe registered.
How long has the consultant been doing this?
A consultant with ten years or more experience is likely to be very familiar with how to implement ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 standards, knowing all the steps involved in the certification process.
This means the shortest possible route in implementing and fewer costly mistakes.
A consultant who has worked in your industry can provide value-added knowledge that can also impact on the costs and time taken as they know the pitfalls and how to avoid them.
What is consultant’s track record?
How many successful implementations of ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001does the consultant have under his/her belt? Which other organisations has he/she consulted for? What do his/her former clients say about him/her? It’s worth taking a little of your time to check references.
Nowadays the client requires fully integrated systems (IMS) which are a combination of 2 or more of the standards.
QuServe Quality Consultancy Ltd can offer many successful and satisfactory testimonials spanning in excess of 15 years.
What is the consultant’s plan?
In order to deliver a system that can be independently certified by a UKAS Accredited CB, the consultancy should have a plan and a sequence of steps to follow.
The ISO standards use PDCA methodology (Plan, Do, Check, Act)
This employs the ‘process approach’ and risk-based thinking.
The process approach enables an organisation to plan its processes and their interactions.
The PDCA cycle enables an organisation to ensure that its processes are adequately resourced and managed, and that opportunities for improvement are determined and acted on.
Risk-based thinking enables an organisation to determine the factors that could cause its processes and its management system to deviate from the planned results, putting preventive controls in place to minimise negative effects and to make maximum use of opportunities as they arise.
The final choice
The discussion above suggests that the ideal consultant has:
- Many years implementation experience
- Work experience or a professional background in your industry.
- Good references, and reasonable rates.
- Satisfactory educational qualifications.
Let’s not rule out good people skills. It’s obviously more productive to work with someone who can get along with your internal team at all levels in the organisation, whilst delivering the desired results.