A beginner’s guide to ISO Certification – Information about which ISO standards to select, process of ISO certification, time required, cost, implementation requirements, consulting companies and certification bodies in a simple, layman’s language.
Are you in one of the below situations with respect to ISO implementation and ISO certification?
- You have recommended getting ISO certificate for your company to your management?
- Your organization is planning for implementing ISO certification
- You are thinking of getting ISO certified for your own company.
- Your customer has asked you to get ISO 9001/ISO 14001/ISO 45001 certificate as a part of supplier registration/qualification/approval programme
- The tender you are participating has a pre-qualification criteria which means unless you are an ISO certified company, you can not participate in the tender and submit your quotation.
Irrespective of the status you may be in, there are a series of questions you may have in your mind about the entire ISO certification process.
Given below are the questions any organization must answer before starting with their ISO certification process in the Philippines or anywhere in the world:
- Question 1: What is the process of getting ISO certification and what all does it involve.
- Question 2: What are the timelines for completion of the entire project and how much time does it take to complete the ISO certification project from start to finish.
- Question 3: What is the cost of ISO certification? How much money do I need to spend for getting ISO certificate? What are the total expenses I need to incur for various activities like ISO training, ISO consulting, ISO implementation and certification etc.?
- Question 4: Whom shall I contact for getting the certificate and any help or assistance if I need during the process?
- Question 5: There are so many ISO standards like ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO 22000, ISO 27001 etc. Which ISO standard shall I implement in my company and get certified?
For the benefits of organizations / industries / companies in the Philippines and mainly SMSE – Small & Medium Size Enterprises, we have decided to demystify the above questions in a simple to understand language. Find answers to all the questions below:
Question 1: What is the process of getting ISO certification and what all does it involve.
Answer: Getting ISO certification is a decision taken considering company’s strategy, business dynamics and competitive environment along with customer / stakeholders’ requirements. Once you decide to get certified, a robust plan and effective execution is required. Below are the steps to get ISO certification for your company in Philippines:
A foolproof, proven and effective 12 Steps approach for getting ISO certification (Process of achieving ISO certificate and steps for ISO certification):
- Form the core team – One project manager to lead the project and one representative from each functional area.
- Train the team on concepts of ISO standards like ISO 9001 etc. so a motivating and informed environment is created.
- Define Context of the organization, identify issues, challenges being faced by your organization internally and externally.
- Identify Interested parties, their needs and expectations from your organization and impact on your organization if you fail to fulfill those expectations
- Establish quality policy and quality objectives with a plan to achieve objectives.
- Identify & define processes. Focus on critical processes. Document the critical processes as SOPs or flow chart.
- Risk & opportunity identification covering processes, product/service, context, change management etc. Plan and monitor risk mitigation.
- Conduct gap analysis by taking each clause of the standard. Understand requirements from the clause and compare it with the actual situation in your Company. Highlight all the gaps and prepare a plan of action for completing all the gaps identified.
- Update Documented Information while working on the gaps by generating required and mandatory ISO documents and ISO records.
- Train Internal Auditors if required and conduct internal audit.
- Get a pre-assessment audit from an ISO consultant if required.
- Contact a certification body for audit. Get audited and achieve ISO certificate.
Question 2: What are the timelines for completion of the entire project and how much time does it take to complete the ISO certification project from start to finish and get ISO certificate?
Answer: Actual time taken to get ISO certificate depends on various factors like size of the organization, number of employees, scope of business activities, number of locations where the management system is to be implemented, complexity of business processes and maturity of existing processes. However typically organization in the Philippines and globally can get ISO certificate from 15 days to 6 months’ time. If you have implemented all the requirements, you can straight away go for a certification audit. Working at a normal pace of implementation, normally companies and organizations take around 3 to 4 months’ time for the entire ISO certification project including training, documentation, implementation and certification audit. Companies in Manila, Cebu and Philippines can get a free project plan and time estimates for their organization’s ISO certification initiative by sending an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Question 3: What is the cost of ISO certification? How much money do I need to spend for getting ISO certificate? What are the total expenses I need to incur for various activities like ISO training, ISO consulting, ISO implementation and certification etc.?
Answer: Cost for ISO consulting and ISO certification depends on amount of time the trainer, consultant or the trainer will spend in your organization. Total number of months your ISO implementation and certification project continues also has a contribution in the cost of the total project. Typically, you will be charged as per a fixed and pre-determined man-day rate. Current man-day rates in Manila – Philippines are around 30,000 – 40,000 Peso per man-day for consulting and certification services. A secondary research and discussion with many ISO certified companies in Philippines gives us some interesting facts about the cost of ISO certification in Philippines. Most of the mid size companies said that the typical investment and cost for an ISO certification project can be around 400,000 pesos – 600,000 peso. However, Sterling International Consulting offers much affordable consulting services for organizations in Philippines. Your total expenses for ISO certification will depend on various factors as below:
- Do you need to invite an external trainer for providing training to your employees or one of your internal employees can train other employees?
- Do you have a competent in-house team that can take ownership and leadership of preparation of the system or you need to get an external ISO consultant to help you with documentation and implementation?
- Are you hiring the consultant for a complete turnkey project or only for a few modules?
- Which certification body you are selecting for your final certification audit.
Organizations in Philippines can get a free ISO certification cost estimate by calling +63 9778151204 to avail our cost effective, discounted and low cost ISO certification services.
Question 4: Whom shall I contact for getting the certificate in the Philippines and any help or assistance if I need during the process of ISO certification in Philippines? What are various ISO consulting companies and ISO certification bodies in Manila I can contact?
Answer: Organizations need to start by contacting an experienced and competent ISO consultant in the Philippines. There are various options available including several freelance consultant, some small-mid sized consulting companies and a few established consulting companies that operate across the Philippines. Some of the well-known ISO consulting companies’ organizations wanting to get ISO certified in the Philippines can contact are as below:
- MS Sterling Management Consultancy Services
- Global International Consulting
- Apex Business Management Services
- Effivity Technologies
- Lakshy Management Consultant
Once you finalize a consulting company like Sterling, their experts will take the complete ownership of the project and provide you with all the support and assistance you need for successful planning, execution and monitoring of your ISO certification project resulting in a successful ISO certification. There are various certification bodies which are accredited by UKAS, JAS ANZ, IAS, ANAB, PAB that operate in Philippines to conduct audit for various standards like ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO 27001 etc. Your ISO consultant in Philippines will help you select the most appropriate certification body and guide through the entire certification process successfully and smoothly.
Question 5: There are so many ISO standards like ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001, ISO 22000, ISO 27001 etc. Which ISO standard shall I implement in my company and get certified?
Answer: You are correct. There are more than 89 ISO management System standards covering virtually every activity, application, domain and industry. It is very important to select the most appropriate ISO standard for your company to ensure your organization gets the best benefit from its application and certification. Decision to select an ISO standard for implementation and certification depends on various parameters as below:
- Nature of your business / activities
- Need of your customers / stakeholders including regulatory authorities
- Major problem faced / issues encountered.
- Status of the competition and their ISO certification status
Normally, it is advisable that any organization wanting to initiate a journey of ISO certification shall start with ISO 9001 Quality Management System first as ISO 9001 QMS provides a solid foundation for standardization and process-based operations for any organization. A strong ISO 9001 QMS will also ensure implementation of other ISO standards comparatively easier, quick and swift. So, the most recommended route as suggested by the best of ISO consultants and expert ISO auditors is to get started with ISO 9001. This means that irrespective of your nature of your business and operations, you should start with ISO 9001 first.
If your organization is into manufacturing, construction, mining, automobile, ship building etc., you can also consider ISO 14001 environment management system and ISO 45001 occupational health & safety management systems. Many organizations go for an integrated management system comprising ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and ISO 45001. This is the best way to drive in efficiencies and ensure optimum utilization of the resources with tangible savings of time, money and resources in implementation of multiple standards.
If your organization is into food business or into food supply chain including food manufacturing, food processing, distributing, food logistics, food retailing or restaurant business, your must go for ISO 22000 and HACCP standards along with ISO 9001. Organizations into IT, software, BPO, KPO field or other companies managing sensitive data / information must go for ISO 27001, ISO 22301, ISO 20000 standards for implementation apart from ISO 9001 standard.
Follow the below logic to determine which ISO standards you should get certified with:
- Start with ISO 9001 Quality Management System as a base standard to establish a strong foundation for process-based operations.
- See if you impact environment negatively or occupational health & safety of employees are impacted negatively. If the answer is yes, consider ISO 14001 & ISO 45001.
- If Information security is important, consider ISO 27001.
- If food safety is important, consider HACCP or ISO 22000
- If you are a laboratory, consider ISO 17025
- If you are third party inspection body, consider ISO 17020.
This means that the choice of ISO standards you should implement and get certified really depends on the nature of your business operations and your business strategy but the above information will help you in selecting the most appropriate and beneficial ISO standard for your company. ISO consultants in Philippines will help you select the best ISO standard for your company through their 24 hours customer care no +63 9778151204