ISO stands for International Organisation for Standardization. It is an Independent, non-government international organisation with a membership of 165 national standards bodies which develop standards to ensure the quality, safety and efficiency of products and services. With ISO Standards, the consumers can have confidence that the products are safe, reliable and of good quality. The standards also serve to safeguard consumers that the certified products confirm to the minimum standards set internationally.
A certificate is a provision by an independent body of written assurance (a certificate) that the product, service or system in question meets specific requirements.
Certification can be a useful tool to add credibility, by demonstrating that your product or service meets the expectations of your customers. It is done by third party and tested annually.
ISO’s committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) has produced a number of standards related to the certification process, which are used by certification bodies.
Note: Individuals cannot become ISO Certified, only businesses and organisations can.
The Hierarchy below is followed in order to get ISO Certification.
International Accreditation Forum (IAF)
IAF stands for International Accreditation Forum. IAF is the world most recognised association of global Accreditation bodies and that are responsible for conformity assessment in various fields of quality management systems. An ISO Certification issued by IAF member accreditation body carries more value and recognition in the world.
Most popular ISO Certifications
|Serial No.||Certificate Name||Field|
|1.||ISO 9001||Quality Management System|
|2.||ISO 14001||Environmental Management System|
|3.||ISO 10002||Complaint Management system|
|3.||ISO 22000||Food Safety Management|
|4.||ISO 13485||Medical Devices|
|5.||ISO 20121||Sustainable Events|
|6.||ISO 639||Language Codes|
|7.||ISO 45001||Occupational Health and Safety|
|8.||ISO 4217||Currency Codes|
|9.||ISO 37001||Anti-Bribery Management Systems|
|10.||ISO/IEC 17025||Testing and Calibration Laboratories|
|11.||ISO 26000||Social Responsibility|
|12.||ISO 8601||Date and Time Format|
|13.||ISO 31000||Risk Management|
|14.||ISO 3166||Country Codes|
|15.||ISO 50001||Energy Management System|
|16.||ISO/IEC 27001||Information Security Management|
|17.||ISO 28000||Security Management System|
Benefits of getting ISO Certification
ISO certification shows your stakeholders that you have a stable and growing business. Each standard has its own benefits.
To the Business:
- Increased efficiency and overall credibility of business
- Industry becomes more competitive by offering in globally accepted products and services
- Reduced costs
- Improved customer satisfaction and confidence in your product and increased profits by offering quality products
- Companies get benefitted from the knowledge and best practices from the leading experts around the world
- More engaged employees
- Reduced risks
- Reduced insurance premiums
- Helps with Government tenders
- Makes it easier for the countries to outsource
To the Customers:
- Improved product quality and services
- Delivery on time
- Fewer returned products and complaints
- Independent audit demonstrates commitment to quality
By maintaining your ISO certification you are proving your organisation’s commitment of achieving your objectives and increasing the credibility and customer confidence in your product or service.
Documents required for ISO Certification
In case of a Company:
- Certificate of incorporation
- Invoice Details
- Letter Head or visiting card
- PAN and Aadhaar of Directors
In case of Partnership firm:
- GST Certificate
- Invoice details
- MSME Certificate
- PAN and Aadhaar of Partners
In Case of Sole Proprietorship:
- GST Certificate
- MSME Certificate
- Invoice details
- PAN and Aadhaar of Proprieter
Cost for Certification
Cost for getting ISO Certification is not fixed and it varies from organisation to organisation. It depends on the following parameters, namely,
- Type of Certification Body Chosen
- Size of an organisation
- Number of employees
- Processes of an organisation
- Level of risk associated with the scope of services of the organisation
- The complexity of the management system
- The number of working shifts and many more.
It varies from organisation to organisation. The certification authority will notify the details of processing time for completion of ISO Certification after assessing the size of an organisation.
Process for ISO Certification
Step 1. Choosing the type of ISO Certification
The first step to certification is to choose a standard and then the Certifying Body. For example: If u are in manufacturing sector, u can go for 9001 for quality management, ISO 14000 for Environmental Management or ISO 45001 for Health and Safety Management.
Choosing a Certification Body
It is very important that you choose a certification body that is recognised and credible. While choosing a certification body, you should:
- Evaluate several certification bodies
- Check of the certification body uses the relevant CASCO Standards
- Check if its accredited
Accreditation is not compulsory and not accreditation does not necessarily mean it is not reputable but it does provide independent confirmation of competence.
Note: Accreditation is the formal recognition by an independent body, generally known as an accreditation body that a certification body operates according to international standards.
Step 2. Application for ISO Certificate
The company and Certification body should agree on a contract which includes liability issues, confidentiality and access rights. Complete business details including nature of the business, years of operations, address etc. need to be provided by the company.
Step 3. Quality documents review
The ISO Certification body will conduct an on-site visit to the company’s facility. The ISO auditor will review the company’s documents related to various procedures & policies. The review of existing work will help the ISO auditor in identifying the possible gaps against the requirements specified in the ISO standards. Along with the gaps, he will identify the resources to fill these gaps.
Step 4. Make Action plan
After the ISO auditor communicates the existing gaps, the company should prepare an action plan to eliminate these gaps. The certification body will prepare a training plan to be implemented by the company.
The company may need to give training to its employees to work efficiently while adapting to the new procedures.
Step 5. ISO Audit
The ISO audit is divided into two stages:
Stage 1: The ISO auditor will audit the changes made in the company and identify the possible non- conformities in its systems and procedures. Then he will categorize them is minor and major non-conformities. The company will then assess and correct the non-conformities through modification in techniques and processes used earlier.
Stage 2: After all the required changes are made, the ISO auditor will undertake the final auditing. He will check whether all the non-conformities have been eliminated or not as per the ISO standards. If the ISO Auditor is satisfied, they will prepare the final audit report and forward it to the certification body.
The audit is conducted on the basis of the documents provided. The central company of ISO verifies all the documents and then confirms whether the company is eligible for the ISO Certification or not.
Step 6. ISO Decision
After all the non-conformities are addressed and all the findings are put in the ISO audit report, the certification body will grant ISO Certification to the Company.
Step 7. Surveillance Audit
Getting the certification is often the easy part but maintaining the system and continually improving the system is sometimes the part that seems to lag for some companies. It is conducted to ensure that ISO quality standards are being maintained by the company.
It is done to every year to ensure continued adherence to the quality management system as per the ISO standards requirements.
Frequently asked questions
Is an ISO Certification required for a Start-up?
It is not mandatory. But for start-ups, it is a good idea to get ISO Certification as they are in the early stages of development. Also, some customers might seek the certification because it ensures higher standard products or services.
What is the validity of ISO certificate?
The Validity of the ISO Certificates are 3 years from the successful certification. The Validity is subjected to the Surveillance Audit Conducted by the Certification body every year.
How to check authenticity of ISO Certificate?
All Certificates come with Unique Identification Numbers. You can verify the certificates in the respected Certification Body websites. It can also be checked on the accreditation body’s website. If the status of the certificate cannot be verified on the accreditation board website under the certified organizations directory, that certificate is a fake. Contact the accreditation board and confirm if the certification body is accredited or not.
How do you know that your ISO Certification is up for renewal?
You can check when you are due for a re-certification by checking the expiry date on your ISO Certificate. If you can’t track down your certificate, then you can contact the certifier who issued your certificate.
What are the consequences of Non- renewal of ISO Certification?
The process of renewal would include a reassessment of the organizations documented quality management system including a review of the Management System, where necessary, to be conducted before the expiry of the three year term of validity. The biggest consequence of not renewing your ISO certification is clear; you will no longer be ISO certified. You will need to recall all your ISO certified products. ISO logos will have to be removed from your website, products and advertisements, and failure to do so could lead to court action. You risk losing your business’s credibility by not renewing certification.
Why is ISO 9001 the most commonly used?
ISO 9001 is known as the mother of all standards. If properly implemented, it shall cover some parts of all the standards.
Can I be certified with multiple ISO standards at a same time?
Yes, you can get ISO Certification under multiple ISO Standards. This way, you will get additional recognition in the market.
The ISO 9001 standard has been harmonized with other standards such as ISO 14001 and ISO 27001, which means they have similar requirements clauses. For example, both ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 require management reviews, internal audits, Document Control procedure, etc. With the appropriate analysis and planning, your organization could save time and money by combining these steps to avoid redundancy.
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