You have made the plans, built the quality system and conducted the audit. So how do you register your company as ISO 9001 conformant? And how can you be sure you're getting the most value for your investment? Here's how the process works to certifying Your Company for ISO 9001.
After your company's ISO 9001 audit, you will want to register your company to show that you've met the requirements. And to do this effectively, you will need to follow eight essential steps.
Finding a Registrar: You'll need to begin searching for an ISO registrar during the 2 to 3 months your company is still building its quality system. You can search the Registrar Accreditation Board to select the registrar right for you.
Selecting a Registrar: Select a registrar that has experience within the scope category of your specific industry, which you can also find on the RAB site. Keep in mind accreditation, scheduling issues, fees and comfort level when selecting the registrar right for you.
Creating an Application: A company and a registrar will agree on the application, contract. This defines the rights and obligations of both parties, and includes liability issues, confidentiality and access rights.
Conducting a Document Review: The registrar will require a copy of your quality manual and procedures to verify that all the requirements of the standard are addressed. Allow 2-4 weeks in advance for the registrar to fully review all of the necessary documents.
Determining Pre-assessment: Though optional, this 2-4 week initial review of the system identifies any significant omissions or weaknesses. It saves time and allows the registrar to assess any issues and resolve logistics before the actual assessment audit.
Issuing an Assessment: During the audit, or physical onsite inspection of procedures in action, the auditors will issue findings if they assess anything that doesn't meet requirements, or nonconformities. The length of this step will depend on the scope of the audit and the size your organization.
Completing ISO Registration: After all of the findings are put into the audit report and nonconformities are addressed, your company has the option to register as ISO 9001 conformant. You will receive a certificate and can also be listed in a register, which the company can use to publicize its registration and use in advertising.
Checking with Surveillances: To ensure that the system is maintained and that changes don't result in deficiencies in the system, registrars perform regular surveillances of the system. Over the three-year period of your certificate, auditors will perform one full and two partial checks of your system.
Considerations in Planning: The Document Review and Pre-assessment typically require 2-4 weeks each. However, the number of registrars and the number of days for each stage of the registration audit depends on the size and complexity of your organization. So set target dates accordingly to allow both you and the registrar time to fully prepare.
Quality Procedures Investment: Always keep in mind, registration should provide you with valuable feedback to improve your system. So make sure to seek the appropriate registrar, and take full advantage of the entire audit process. After all, it's your company, it's your registration, so make sure you get a strong return on your investment.