ISO 9001 Certification Process in South Africa
After the successful development and implementation (minimum of 6 months of stats proving effective implementation) of your Quality management system based on the ISO 9001 standard you should be audit ready. You now need to select the certification body you wish to certify your system.
Factors to consider when selecting a certification body:
- What is your client’s requirement: For example you might be exporting to a specific client overseas and they want you to certify with a company they know, trust and have a better reputation in their area. All certification bodies’ certificates would carry the same weight, as they also need to comply with a specific standard when auditing an ISO 9001 system. (One is not better than the other) But your client in Germany might want you to use TUV and not SABS, as TUV is a German company and SABS a South African company.
- Costs of certification.
- Personal preferences: Like supporting of proudly South African campaigns.
- Reputation of certification body.
- Product mark if applicable: If you for example have a SABS product mark on your product, it would be lightly that you choose SABS to do your systems mark (ISO 9001) as well.
After selecting a certification body you would have to get a quotation to certify your system. (Some consultants would do this on your behalf) The quotation would be for three years as your certification would only be valid for three years, after which you would have to go for a recertification audit in year 3-4. Cost involved with the first three years is roughly between R50 000-R120 000, cost does not have to be paid at once but payment options is available which differs from the certification body you use. So for as long as you want to be ISO 9001 certified there would be cost due to the certification body. The certification process starts as soon as you accept your quotation.
ISO 9001 Certification process step by step:
- Firstly you would be booked for a Stage 1 audit; this audit is also called a documentation audit. This is where they check whether your system complies with the minimum document requirements set out by the ISO 9001 standard. This audit is also used to determine your readiness to go for the second Stage audit. Some consultants would sit in during both audits to further assist you during the certification audit. After the audit you would receive a audit report from your auditor (The report would be received within 10 days), this would indicate all the findings positive or negative picked up during the audit. Any negative findings minor or major would have to be cleared before you would be permitted to schedule a stage 2 audit. You would have 6 months to clear all findings but can be cleared in a few weeks, it’s not necessary to use the whole 6 months. When all findings are cleared you would be booked for a stage 2 audit.
- This is the main audit called Implementation, here they test whether your system is working and implemented. They would check that what you documented in your procedures, policies and instructions is practically happening in your business. They would require proof of all activities by checking stats, evidence and communication of the system and procedures. So your documentation would not get you certification alone, it has to be backed up by committing to the Iso 9001 standard and company procedures to ensure successful implementation and certification. Yet again you would receive a audit report from your auditor (The report would be received within 10 days), this would indicate all the findings positive or negative picked up during the audit. Any negative findings minor or major would have to be cleared before you would be recommended by your auditor to get your certification. Then your Stage one, Stage 2 audit report and clearance off findings reports would be sent to the certification board for final approval. The certification board would then award your certification.
- The whole process takes between 1-3 months to complete.
The certification process can be a daunting prospect, but if you had a reputable consultant helping you develop your system and getting you audit ready this process would be a breeze. As they guide you through the whole process, making sure the process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.
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