What are the costs of acquiring ISO 9001 certification according to the standard?
The cost and duration of an ISO certification process is up to you. In this blog you will learn step by step where and how you can save money. Together with the other tools, such as the E-book and the checklist, both of which you will receive free of charge, you will reduce the costs of your process.
In addition to the best practical tips, you will also receive 3 handy bonus tips to help you make quick savings.
Meeting the ISO standard: do I have to or do I want to?
First of all, ask yourself whether you must or whether you want to obtain an ISO certificate. If you ‘want’ to, you have a basis on which you can build; you are motivated to get to work.
Do you have to comply with the standard because a customer wants you to, while you don’t really want to? Then consider whether you want to continue with the certification process. The result of your standardisation is not just any result, it is data that you must continue to work with and improve.
Once the certificate has been obtained, you must continue to work with it to optimise your quality and continue to save money. If you dutifully go through the process of winning that customer, realise that they expect you to continue using the quality management system you have set up.
If you just hang the certificate on the wall and do nothing with it, you run the risk that the customer will have expectations that you can no longer meet. A waste of money and effort.
Remember that an ISO 9001 certificate opens doors that would otherwise remain closed. The best possible motivation is that it makes your company money. In the form of customers and in the form of cost savings in your entire work process. The money and time you invest will be earned back in no time.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? Note that a good orientation phase is the basis of your entire ISO future.
Orientation phase: saving on an ISO 9001 standard starts with yourself
You don’t save money by starting haphazardly and thinking that it will all happen by itself. How do you approach this process?
Discover the different ways.
Avoid making decisions too fast
First of all, avoid making decisions too fast. These often turn out to be wrong in this process and you will lose your money after all.
The idea, for example, of requesting a standard via NEN and then translating it into the requirements of ISO 9001 is one possibility. Is this sensible? No, unfortunately not. It is a complex subject matter that is not easy to fill in.
Before you have made the translation from NEN to ISO 9001 and applied it to your company, you will definitely spend more time than when you go for ISO 9001 via our tips. The idea is understandable, but on balance it will cost you more than you gain.
If you plan to hire a specialist, this will take time and money. The costs vary per consultant, unfortunately we cannot mention a fixed amount. Expect to pay between 200 and 500 euros per half-day. A lot of money, while you can do much of the work yourself. You know the ins and outs of your business, chances are you would be faster without an advisor.
When this consultant does his work, the quality manager and someone from the management team still need to be present. Double costs are the result. Therefore, don’t take any chances. First go through the orientation phase and make a step-by-step plan.
Choose the right implementers for a good quality management system
An ISO project is complex. Who in your company do you appoint as quality manager for ISO 9001? Do you choose the office manager, the intern, the facility manager or someone from top management? Some companies see it as a nice internship assignment. In that case the process is carried out by an intern, a person at the bottom of the organisation chart.
Does an intern have the right knowledge of the company? That chance is extremely small. Therefore, it is not a good idea. A number of lighter tasks can perhaps be outsourced to an intern. You will find a good tip on this later.
The office manager and the facilities manager could be suitable. Do they know everything about the various departments? It is still a question of ‘maybe, maybe not’. Experience shows that a member of top management is most suitable to set up and complete an ISO trajectory.
This person’s top-down knowledge on a strategic and operational level is important, because all departments are screened, which requires broad knowledge of the company. This broad knowledge is necessary for a thorough inventory of the people involved, the activities and the investigations.
A quality manager is probably not the right person to take on all these tasks. Later in this blog, we will show that delegating is an option, which creates space for the quality manager. Will that trainee still come in handy as a saving?
Take a complete inventory
Before you see exactly what you are going to save, you need to know where you can save. We recommend using the E-book and the checklist. Don’t have them yet? Download them for free and make it easy for yourself to take proper inventory.
To find out what you can save on, first make an inventory of the following subjects:
- Which person(s) will you appoint to work out and carry out the project?
- What do you still need to find out from the checklist?
- What do you already know and therefore no longer need to find out?
- What do you not yet know and need to find out?
From the inventory you make a baseline measurement. This clearly shows you which aspects require little or no attention and which you no longer need to pay any attention to.
To make a baseline measurement, go through the checklist in the E-book. It gives you a handy overview of which parts are covered in the certification. You can see exactly what needs to be done, so that nothing is left to chance. You will not do any unnecessary actions and you will not forget any important tasks.
Go through the checklist carefully and see which topics are already clear in your company. Perhaps there are already work instructions that meet the standard, or only need to be adjusted. This saves a lot of work; what you already know, you don’t have to find out. What you don’t know yet will end up on the ‘to do list’ in your step-by-step plan.
You now have an overview of all the ingredients you need to start your process and on which points you can save. Time to look at the real savings!
BONUS TIP: Wait to bring in external people until you are completely ready
Before we go any further, we have a very simple, effective tip for you. First complete your step-by-step plan and make sure that all the necessary documents etc. are present and in order before you start on the process.
Do not hire consultants after an incomplete inventory. Do not complete parts of the plan and do not start doing other work that is ahead of schedule. If there is too much time between something that has already been done and the end of the process, there is a good chance that changes have been made, for example, in the working methods described. Maybe a function has changed or been abolished, maybe a product has changed, in short: you can go back to the drawing board because your final report is no longer correct. Your savings will evaporate.
Delve into the steps, download and use the E-book and the checklist (free)
As you can read in the E-book, there are five global steps to go through:
- Establishing procedures and documentation;
- Carry out internal audit;
- Carry out management review;
- External audit.
We have dealt with the inventory. You have already seen that money can be saved in this first step. Investigate all the steps in this way, so that you structurally see where savings can be made.
Make a step-by-step plan
For steps 2 to 5, as with step 1, make a further subdivision. You make a step-by-step plan within the step-by-step plan that you find in the E-book. It differs per company how this is organised and what can be saved. Do you need help with this? Read on and discover how to find the best help for all your ISO-related issues.
BONUS TIP: Delegate tasks using the step-by-step plan
Legislation and regulation is a typical subject that you can delegate to a trainee. It is research work that takes relatively little time for the quality manager to check for accuracy. This saves hiring an external force. There is no need for an internal force to leave their work to map this out.
Draw up a schedule based on your step-by-step plan
Once your step-by-step plan is complete, you can see which parts of the company will be examined and in what way. You need at least one person from each department to answer questions and test knowledge gained or answers given. Think of a department manager.
Make sure that each manager has full knowledge of his or her department and all its tasks. In order to gain insight into all the tasks of the department in question, it is an idea to check this not only with the manager, but also with the employees of this department. This way, you get a more complete picture and there is less risk of incorrect information.
From the manager’s point of view, you test the information gathered with the operational staff. Do you drop in on these people to ask questions or do you make time for this? For an ISO project, the latter option is the best. Fleeting conversations result in incorrect information and the whole process has to be redone. A waste of time and money, and totally unnecessary.
When you make appointments to talk to employees for your ISO checklist, they are out of their productivity. Find out in advance whether this will affect the business result. If you remove someone from behind a production line, this person has to be replaced, otherwise production cannot continue. Plan in advance who you will talk to and when, whether this person will need to be replaced on the shop floor during the meeting and by whom.
Note whether there is a strategic moment to plan when you do not need to replace someone. If this employee is not needed at times between two productions, then that is an excellent time to schedule the meeting. No replacement means no extra costs and if the production is not running at that time, no productivity is lost.
Look at every person needed to gather the right information. Make a tight and realistic schedule with strategic moments to minimise production losses. Whether in a factory or an office environment, always look at how and when to plan.
Develop your planning as a user manual for all those involved. A well-organised schedule has all the necessary information for everyone involved in the process, so they know what is expected, when it is expected and what deadlines have been set. Proper planning ensures that no one duplicates work and that time is wasted.
Employee engagement: the difference between success and failure
Willingness and commitment will earn you a lot, both within your company and within an ISO project. It is important to create clarity with your employees. If you start with all the preparations and they notice that changes are coming, you run the risk of frustration.
Imagine this: Henk has worked for your company for 30 years and now sees that his job and his activities are going to change because of a new quality management system. Henk does not want this and therefore provides incorrect information to the quality manager during the inventory process or the orientation phase. This comes to light during an audit and you do not obtain your certificate as a result. Needless to say, this will be far from cost-effective.
Imagine this: Henk has been working for your company for 30 years and you have told him all the ins and outs of what is about to happen. You have told him that things will change for him, but that he will get something in return. Better planning, easier work processes, better communication with his supervisor, maybe even a nice promotion. Henk has become enthusiastic and cooperates fully with you in your stock-taking and orientation.
It may be clear that the above examples show the difference between a successful route and a disappointment for those who have put a lot of work into achieving certification. Invest time to properly inform the employees, this investment will pay off anyway in the form of a higher success rate.
BONUS TIP: Block a fixed period in the agenda and set the date for the ISO audit
“In the coming year, we are going to go through our ISO process.” We understand that it’s a big job, but a year is too long. The ideal timeframe for an ISO 9001 project is between 2 and 4 months. If you take longer, chances are your business will change and you’ll have to do it all over again.
A maximum of 4 months limits this chance considerably and sets a clear end date. This means that those involved have less chance of postponing work. Postponement means delay, delay means extra costs. Make sure that deadlines are set and met in order to prevent extra costs.
Turn your quality management into a smooth-running system with My ISO Genius
Put all these tips into practice and you’ll see that it drastically reduces your costs. Are you where you need to be? Probably not. It’s a journey that costs time, effort and money. To make sure that your certification pays off in the end, there is a total package that takes the hassle out of certification even further.
My ISO Genius ISO 9001 certification is the way to set up and execute your entire certification process yourself, saving you even more. Do you encounter unexpected costs along the way and don’t know how to save? With My ISO Genius you get the opportunity to be in contact with your personal ISO advisor at all times. The E-book and the checklist are created from My ISO Genius, so everything fits together seamlessly. Don’t make it more difficult than it needs to be and get yourself certified. You won’t regret it!