Can an individual get ISO certified?
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) publishes recommendations that help an organisation maintain standards in terms of efficiency, safety and quality of the products or services. ISO-certified companies reap many benefits such as reduced costs, better efficiency of processes, consistency in the quality of services or products and better credibility. Certification is an incredibly useful aid to building credibility as it demonstrates that the organisation’s product or services meet the expectations of the customers and the agreed-upon international specifications. Unfortunately, there are no ISO certifications for individuals and only companies can get ISO certified after successfully clearing a stringent certification audit. If you need a professional consultant to get ISO certified, you can count on Edara systems.
How to get ISO certification for individuals? Obtaining a main auditor
An individual cannot acquire ISO certification. However, an individual can become an ISO-certified personnel by attending the training programmes and clearing the exams. The most popular certification for individuals is the ISO 9001 certification as it helps people obtain the competencies and knowledge required to utilise ISO 9001 for creating and maintaining a Quality Management System (QMS) for a company in Australia for example. This certification is also referred to as ISO 9001 Australia or the QMS certification.
After clearing the examination, an individual can acquire the status of a lead auditor. A lead auditor is a professional responsible for conducting audit within an organisation’s management system through the application of widely accepted auditing techniques, principles, procedures and standards. They develop the audit plan, deliver the meeting and submit the final audit report at the end of the auditing process. Another responsibility of the lead auditor is to ensure that the company’s procedures and policies align with the standards outlined in the ISO. Therefore, lead auditors must not only be well-versed in the ISO recommendations but should also have in-depth knowledge about the ISO certification procedures.
ISO certification procedures; Two important preconditions
Before a company can acquire an ISO certification, there are two prerequisites. Firstly, the company should choose the type of ISO certification that aligns with its objectives. For example, any company that wishes to enhance the quality of its products or services can find ISO 9001 beneficial. Any company that wishes to focus on environmental sustainability would find ISO 14001 advantageous. Similarly, any company that wishes to secure its information and prevent misuse of data would find ISO 27001 helpful. The second prerequisite is to choose an appropriate certification body. The ISO 9001 process itself does not provide or conduct the certification audits. The certification procedure is carried out by an external body.
Phase 1; Make an application
The first step of the ISO certification procedure is to create an application. The application is a contract where the organisation and the registrar define the access rights, confidentiality, obligations, liability issues and mutual goals of both parties.
Phase 2; Lapse of quality evidences
The second step is a review of quality documents. The ISO auditor reviews all the quality-related manuals and documents highlighting the various procedures and policies being followed within a company. Reviewing the quality document aims to identify any possible gaps between the existing management systems and the ISO recommendations.
ISO certification for individuals; Action plan for shortages
After the ISO auditor has identified the deficiencies, a plan of action is created to address all these deficits. This action plan contains a list of all the required tasks, changes in policies and training programmes that would be required to bring about the desired changes. It also consists communication standards that can be utilised to make all employees understand the real-world applications of ISO standards.
In the next phase, an initial certification audit is conducted. During stage one of the internal certification audit, all possible nonconformities are identified within the system. These non-conformities are further categorised as minor and major. The applicant is given time to carefully assess these nonconformities, implement the recommendations in the plan of action and align itself to the desired quality standards by modifying its techniques and processes. If you are interested, you should read the ISO 27001 certification Australia article to get familiar with stages of ISO certification for individuals in Australia.
How to get ISO certification for individuals?
In the second stage of the initial certification audit, the ISO auditor conducts the final auditing. The audit’s goal is to ensure whether the recommended changes outlined in the plan of action have brought about the envisioned outcome. This is done by checking if all nonconformities have been eliminated as per the ISO quality standards. If the ISO auditor finds the modifications satisfactory, a final audit report is created and forwarded to the registrar. Only after successfully eliminating all nonconformities and modifying its processes or procedures to match those stipulated in the ISO recommendations can a company acquire its ISO certification.
The validity of ISO certification can only be maintained through satisfactory performances in annual surveillance audits. Surveillance audits are conducted to check that the standards stipulated in the ISO recommendations are maintained by the organisation. Failure to maintain the standards or the re-emergence of nonconformities can lead to the suspension of the ISO certification.
Benefits of ISO certification for companies
There are many advantages of ISO certification for companies, including increased efficiency, productivity and profit. Some people ask what is ISO 27001? and want to know more about ISMS and another ISO certifications. As the ISO provides framework for better internal management, there is less waste created, leading to consistency in the quality of services or products and measurable outcomes. As the certification is globally recognised, it leads to better brand recognition. Enhanced quality of services and products also leads to improved customer retention and acquisition.