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July 13, 2020

Know all about ISO Certification in India

by Rubina Dsouza in Compliance Law

Know all about ISO Certification in India

What is the ISO?

ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. It is an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 164 national standards bodies. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant International Standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

What is an ISO certification?

ISO Certification is a seal of approval that a company runs to one of the internationally recognised ISO management systems. The certification can be used to tender for business as a proof of a company’s credibility but also to install confidence in the potential client that you will keep your promises.

What is the importance of obtaining an ISO certification?

ISO certification is a statement to the stakeholders, employees and senior management that the business wishes to operate to a set framework in order to achieve its company objectives. By setting the task of maintaining an external certification the business increases its credibility and customer confidence in the brand / service or product.

An ISO certificate may help in the following ways:-

  1. Implementation of ISO 9001 standard reduces business losses.
  2. It helps in attracting investors (both local & overseas) by meeting International level Market value.
  3. ISO 9001 certificate highly influences the social & corporate image of an organization and increases the trustworthiness among the customers and business partners.
  4. Aids while applying for different government & private tenders.
  5. Prevents possible nonconformities and defects by setting up preventive actions.
  6. Saving time and money by identifying and solving recurring problems
  7. Improves system and process efficiency

What ISO standards are generally required?

1.With over 16,500 different management standards, finding the standards that are right for your business can sometimes be confusing.

2. Generally, the best place to start is ISO 9001 quality management, as this is the core standard that most of the other well-known standards are based on. It focuses on customer service and ensuring your customer receives the service they want, at a time that’s relevant for a cost that’s fair.

3. Based on your company’s activities there may be additional standards that might complement the business:-

i. waste and recycling company may benefit from the ISO 14001 environmental management as this is a fundamental element for their industry

ii. a manufacturing business might benefit from the ISO 45001 health and safety as they use lots of heavy machinery which could have risks associated.

Who provides ISO certification?

ISO itself does not provide certification to the companies. Certification is done by the external bodies. It is very important to choose recognized and credible certification body.

While choosing the ISO registrar, the following should be kept in mind:

1.Accreditation:

Accreditation to ISO/IEC 17021 is the minimum standard you should consider when selecting a Certification Body (CB), without it your certificate cannot be considered valid in the marketplace.

2. Reputation

Consider your CB’s reputation in the industry when you are selecting your quotes. Referrals from other companies you trust or published customer satisfaction testimonials are a great way to understand the company’s reputation in the industry.

3. Specialization

Preference can be given to a CB that specializes in, or has experience with, auditing your niche of services or goods.

4. Compatibility

It is important to look for CB’s and auditors whose values align with your organization. As per ISO standards, recertification is required every 3 years and you will have to work with your chosen CB over an extended period of time. Research each CB on their company policies and ensure their key business model aligns with what you consider the highest value to meet your needs.

5. Cost

The cost of an ISO Certification should also be considered with weighted to the benefits offered by the CB. Ensure you are quoted for both the 3 year certification period costs as well as the initial charges and ask about the services that are included or excluded from the quoted costs.

What is the process of obtaining ISO certification in India?

1.The applicant and the registrar should agree on a contract. This contract usually defines rights and obligations of both parties and includes liability issues, confidentiality, and access rights.

2. The ISO auditor will view all the quality manuals & documents related to various policies & procedures being followed in the organization to identify the possible gaps against the requirements stipulated in the ISO standards.

3. After the ISO auditor communicates the existing gaps in your organization, an action plan should be prepared to eliminate these gaps. Training should be given to employees in order to work efficiently while adapting to new procedures.

4. The initial certification audit is divided into two categories:

i. In the 1st Stage, the ISO auditor will audit the changes made in the organization. They will then try to identify the possible non-conformities in the systems and procedures to the desired quality management system. The applicant must carefully assess all these non-conformities and get it aligned as per the desired quality standards through modification in the techniques and processes used by the organization.

ii. In the 2nd Stage, after all the required changes are done in the organization, the ISO auditor does the final auditing. The auditor will check whether all the non-conformities have been eliminated or not as per ISO quality standards. If the ISO auditor is satisfied, they will prepare the final ISO audit report and forward it to the registrar.

5. After all non-conformities are addressed and all the findings are put in the ISO audit report, the registrar will grant the ISO certification.

6. Surveillance audit is also conducted to ensure that ISO quality standards are being maintained by the organization.

What is the cost of ISO certification in India?

The cost of ISO certification as a whole cannot be ascertained and published as standard numbers of figures. This is due to the reason that there are many variables and possibilities. Each project of ISO certification generally involves high skills, competence and a higher degree of tailoring or customization. Cost of implementing such a system, and certification of the same largely depends on the following:

  1. The type of business
  2. Size of the organization
  3. Number of business locations
  4. Existing policies
  5. Number of ISO standards on which the certifications are sought
  6. Choice of the Certification Body
  7. Degree of competence of existing employees
  8. Competence of the Consultancy organization or the Consultant
  9. Type of ISO certification sought

How much time is involved in the ISO certification process?

Time taken in completing the whole process of ISO certification also varies from organization to organization. Generally, the time required to complete the process of ISO certification is approximately:

  1. Small organizations: 6-8 months
  2. Medium organizations: 8-12 months
  3. Large organization: 12-15 months

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