Monday, 18 October 2010

The Value of ISO Implementation

The Value of ISO Implementation

During these uncertain economic times, organizations realise they must improve their performance in order to position themselves more effectively to take advantage of the inevitable recovery. Organizations understand the potential for new opportunities to gain a better market share as the recovery phase adds momentum, and that ISO implementation could provide the edge needed to gain that market share.

Beginning the ISO Implementation Journey

A consultant will often provide a quicker start to your ISO implementation project, in the long run; you will save time but at the expense of cost. Or, you could do it yourself; many organizations have, and succeeded. If you study the standard and you have more time than budget, the DIY approach could be a foregone conclusion!

Begin by reading through each requirement of ISO 9001:2008 and ask yourself ‘what evidence do I have that shows we are actually doing this?’ List the organization’s processes using post-it notes and arrange each one in sequence and then link each process to a set of documentable outputs. Align the quality policy, objectives and the quality manual to achieve those outputs.

Begin auditing the outputs of these processes as soon as you have sufficient documentary evidence to demonstrate conformance. This can take several months to generate or it can be as soon as a month after the initial implementation phase.

Should I do a Gap Analysis?

Yes. By performing and documenting an initial Gap Analysis between the organization’s existing systems and the requirements of ISO 9001:2008, the true scope of effort needed to achieve certification will be revealed.

The Gap Analysis will help to highlight:

- the required processes that are not currently in place
- non-compliant processes that must be redesigned
- processes that comply but need to be documented
- documented processes that comply

Experience of performing an initial Gap Analysis for ISO implementation has revealed a common stumbling block to compliance; companies mostly lack a provable and effective corrective and preventive action process or program. This is a key tenet of the quality management system and promotes much of system’s future improvements.

A common key problem is that personnel, which includes management, have not received adequate training - thus making implementation much more difficult. ISO implementation can be a struggle if people do not fully understand the principles.

Pre-assessment audit

If you choose to use ISO consultants we recommend you take advantage of your chosen registration company’s pre-assessment audit (this is often free). Have their auditor come in for a day and assess various aspects of your system. He will appreciate the depth of evidence at this early stage and allow for it when making an assessment. Ask him to have them look at two, three or more processes - his feedback is often useful in streamlining top management’s overall approach to ISO implementation.


Learn more about ISO implementation with their free project plan.

Devise a system that benefits your company by mapping the processes to give an overview of how each process interacts; from there, you can now produce detailed procedures to control the inputs and outputs of each process. Try not to make every organizational nuance fit the standard; keep it simple!

To learn more about ISO implementation please visit ISO 9001 Checklist: