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How to Get an ISO Certification

ISO Certification, what is it? How do you get it? In today's market most manufacturers know the value of ISO certification and the negative implications of failing to meet these international quality standards. What many do not know though is how to get one, or really just how important it is to be ISO certified.

ISO certification is a must for any manufacturing company to compete, bid and win business in a tough global economy. So, why isn't everyone ISO certified? Well, the following are a few of the reasons some manufacturers are not...Either there is a lack of commitment from top management, insufficient financing to get certification, poor training or understanding and planning, or simply an overall perception that certification is too expensive and unattainable.

The truth is that while it can be costly, not having ISO certification is far more costly.

So how do you get an ISO certification?

Believe it or not, even as a small business you can get ISO certification, and do so within your budget. New strategies and tools are now available to help bring ISO certification within the grasp of many organizations, particularly small- and midsized organizations that otherwise wouldn't have adequate funding or resources to get certified.

So, the first step to getting ISO Certified is to find funding to do so. You can either look for special programs that help with getting your organization to a point to be ISO certified, or you can get investors, or save on your own.

Secondly, in order to get an ISO certification you really need management commitment. Without commitment from those leading your organization, it will be next to impossible to get certified. Earning ISO certification requires a high level of dedication and understanding from top management. Lack of management commitment means slow and expensive implementation.

Third, you and your team must thoroughly understand the standards required, and be committed to make any changes needed to bring current operations into compliance with the standards.

Next, to get ISO certified you also need to take into account the operators' schedules and availability for training. With this in mind you should establish a timeline for achieving your ISO certification objectives. If you do not know where to start, then hire a consultant to help you develop a realistic timeline.

You will then train your staff and employees, and let them know what policies, and standards for quality you will be requiring.

Once you have implemented your program, and are meeting the standards (which usually take 8 to 12 months) you will schedule an audit to determine how current operations measure up to ISO standards. This audit should be headed by a team made up of representatives from a cross-section of departments within the company.

The objective of an audit is to see that every internal department, from finance and accounting, to product development and production, to customer service is implementing quality. Be sure to establish good training programs that will empower your staff, to manage ongoing improvements. Once you can prove that not only can you implement ISO standards, but also maintain them, then you can be ISO certified. You must reapply for certification every year to ensure ongoing quality.

ISO certification can be a long and trying process . You have to be able to implement the ISO standards and procedures before you will get ISO certification. Often times it is smart to hire an experienced consultant who has successfully helped other organizations similar to your own with their ISO Certification.

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