Frequently Asked Questions
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How to choose a consulting company?
There is no shortage of consultants. You’ll find the guy who used to work for a famous company, the gal who bought a well-known franchise and a bunch you’ve never heard of. So how does a business owner choose the right consultants for their needs?
Here are 7 suggestions to help you make the best decision.
Define your goals
Do you need strategic planning to set your course for the future? Executive coaching to increase effectiveness and leadership capacity? Assessments to reduce turnover and improve performance? Leadership training to turn B players into As? Work with one person or the entire leadership team?
Start the process by defining exactly what type of assistance you need. You’re looking for results, so be clear on what your expectations are.
Look at experience
The best consultants have been around the block a few times. You want to leverage their broad experience with other people, companies and industries to maximize the impact on your situation. Great consultants have the ability to see patterns and bring both proven approaches and outside-the-box thinking to your challenge.
Make sure you connect
The consulting relationship should be a very close one. That only happens when there is an open and positive rapport. Spend the time to get to know your potential consultant. Look at it this way: the two of you are going to embark on a long road trip together. Make sure you are compatible so you enjoy the ride. You’ll get where you’re going faster.
Ask for references
Good consultants have a long list of happy customers. Talk with current and past accounts to learn more about what the experience was like and how effective it really was.
Read the fine print
Some consultants charge by the hour. Others require a lengthy commitment. Make sure you understand what you’re getting into so there are no surprises at the end of the month.
Understand their approach
There are consultants who use a scripted methodology as dictated by their franchise affiliation. Others assess each unique situation and draw from a wide variety of tools to create a customized solution. Make sure your consultant uses an approach that rings true to you.
Commit to the time
Some consultants meet face-to-face for an hour, twice a month. Others meet for a few hours at a time, once a month. Some use video calls to eliminate travel and simplify meeting times. Regardless of the format, make sure you commit to not only the meeting time but also the time needed to work on new skills.
Why is it good to be iso certified?
Certification under a quality management system such as ISO offers numerous benefits to small business owners.
Your business generally becomes more efficient and productive, giving you an edge over your competitors. You can also enjoy marketing benefits from ISO certification because you can reassure customers that your business follows the highest quality standards.
Here are some of the other key advantages:
- All your processes are evaluated, standardized and explained to personnel
- Training new employees is much easier
- Problems are detected more quickly and solutions are improved
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Better understanding of customer needs
- Better perception of your company
- Suppliers become more like partners
- Overall communication is improved
- Better knowledge of your company by employees
- Improved participation of employees
Internally, it helps you define clear objectives and obliges you to review them. It also improves communication by defining your processes and helps to reduce nonconforming products. Reducing nonconformities sometimes frees up capacity. ISO helps to reduce inventory through better communication and follow-up with suppliers. It also helps you address the causes of existing or potential problems through corrective and preventive actions. Overall, ISO improves task definition (who does what), motivates your employees to improve the system and mobilizes them around objectives.
How do I get certified?
Before you can get certified, you will first have to develop and document your production processes and implementing the correct procedures to ensure you can maintain your quality standards.
Here are the four essential steps to becoming an ISO-certified business.
- Develop your management system
- Identify your core or business processes.
- Document processes with the involvement of employees.
- Review, approve and distribute the documents to those who need access to the information.
- Identify and analyses the risks and opportunities for business
- Implement your system
- Ensure procedures are being performed as they are described in your documentation.
- Ensure employees are trained properly for the tasks they are performing.
- Create effective reporting systems to cover inspection, testing, corrective actions, management review meetings, monitoring of objectives, statistical techniques and so on.
- Monitor the effectiveness of your processes through the use of measurable data, where possible.
- Review and take action to improve in the areas required.
- Verify that your system is effective
- Conduct the audit and review the processes and system for compliance and effectiveness.
- Observe, interview people and look at sample records.
- Identify and report strengths and weaknesses of the management system.
- Take corrective or preventive action as required.
- Register your system
- Select the appropriate auditing body for external registration.
- Submit your management system documentation for review to ensure it complies with the applicable standard.
- Prepare for review by an external auditor to confirm that the system’s requirements are being satisfied and that the management system is implemented effectively.
How to choose a certification body to carry out iso?
As in any other field of activity in ISO certification and consulting, there is a large number of companies trying to gain as much share on market by different methods.
It is important not only choosing a consulting firm in implementing ISO, but choosing a certification body ISO, being an essential part of the ISO certification process.
Top Consulting offers its clients assistance in selecting the certification body, taking care that it meets all legal requirements, international and customer needs (sales market, spoken language, qualification of auditors, etc.).
The final decision in choosing the certification company belongs to the client, therefore in addition to recommendations of consulting firm is well to consider the following advice in the choice of ISO certification body:
- Firstly it should not be a conflict of interest, neither with your company, nor with the consulting company, nor with any other interested party
- Secondly you need to know if the certification body is accredited by an association / organization competent to accreditation. If a not accredited company gives ISO certificate, it is not valid and therefore participation in auctions is not possible. Any certification body may issue an ISO Certificate, but only those issued by bodies accredited are recognized and are therefore valid. In selecting the certification body, it should be required the proof of its accreditation by a recognized accreditation body.
- Thirdly chosen certification body must demonstrate that is accredited in the areas requested by the client in order to issue valid certificates. Accreditation means that a certification body was officially recognized as competent to perform the certification in certain fields of activity, by an accreditation body. Do not be misled by well-known names.
What if my certification body raises issues which do not appear in the standard?
Most international management system standards require a certain amount of interpretation and judgement as to whether your systems meet each individual requirement. Your external auditor should have enough experience to make these judgements, however, should you not agree make sure you ask the auditor to explain.
The explanation should be by referral to the requirements of the standard and not to the opinion of the auditor. If, after discussing the issue, you are still not satisfied, do not be afraid to escalate the matter. All certification bodies have a system for dealing with any disagreements between auditor and auditee.
Do I have to do internally audit every 12 months?
Firstly, most ISO standards (inc ISO 9001/14001/45001/13485/AS9100) state that you must internally audit your organization at planned intervals and that you must audit if it
- meets the planned arrangements (with regards to product realization)
- meets the requirements of the ISO standard
- meets the requirements of your management system
But you will note that it does not directly say that you must audit every 12 months. Having said that, it is common sense that if you left it longer than 12 months (or even shorter) between audits then would you be able to prove that the system does everything above? Therefore the industry standard is every 12 months, although this can change:
The standard also states that when planning the audit program you must take into account the “status and importance” of the processes and areas being audited, and very importantly the results of previous audits. In other words, if a process if critical to what you do, or previous audits have found problems, then that process must be audited more often.
Can you use a contractor to conduct our internal audits?
The advantage is that a good auditor may be able to use his/her experience to identify opportunities for improvement which would not have been possible by using your own staff. The downside is that the use of external auditors tends to lead to a lack of ownership of the management system.
Can only food manufacturing companies get certified for iso 22000?
No. Not necessarily. Any Organization in the food chain from feed producers to being served to the consumers can get certified to ISO 22000. These include feed producers, food producers, food packers, food distributors, food retail and restaurants.
Is ISO 22000 just HACCP with some extensions?
ISO22000 includes all aspects of Codex HACCP with the addition of the ISO series of standards traditional “management commitment”, ”documentation and records”, “system management” and “continual improvement” requirements as well as a few prescribed food safety requirements that have not been formally defined in the Codex HACCP principles, e.g. emergency preparedness, operational prerequisite programs.
What is an example of an oprp (operational prerequisite program)?
Applicable OPRPs are depend on the outcome of the hazard analysis of the production steps and the resultant “significant” hazards identified for control, so which PRPs (Prerequisite Program) are identified as OPRPs will depend. Some examples of OPRPs from ISO22000/FSSC include; Allergen Management Programmes, Cleaning / Sanitising Programmes, measures to prevent cross-contamination, staff hygiene, waste handling etc.
Who is responsible for food safety in my business?
Food Safety is everyone’s responsibility. The business owner, the Food Safety Supervisor and all the Food Handlers in an organisation play a part. Each has their own roles and responsibilities with regards to food safety. It is not advisable to hire a person specifically assigned to this process.
What significance does occupational health & safety have today?
Increasing competitive pressure and ever-faster response times mean that there is no longer any room for error for companies today. Industrial accidents and downtime usually lead to disruption to the production and supply process and can in the worst case scenario result in order cancellations. An occupational health & safety system will allow you to demonstrably reduce the number of accidents through a systematic approach to aspects of health & safety at work.
Why replace the existing OHSAS 18001 with ISO 45001?
More than 2 million people die every year as a result of work-related activities according to an estimate by the International Labour Organization. Majority deaths are related to cancers.
This happens despite the implementation of OHSAS 18001, the current OH&S standard.
To address this gap in OHSAS 18001, ISO has been working on a new standard, the ISO 45001 to help organizations improve their OH&S risks (Occupational safety and health).
For which companies is a certification according to the new standard ISO 45001 appropriate?
OHSAS 18001 certification was suitable for any company in any industry. This will not change with the new international ISO 45001 standard. If you wish to permanently reduce the occupational health & safety-related risks for your employees, visitors as well as suppliers and service providers, analyze occupational risks and have your health & safety management certified!
How easy will it be for OHSA 18001 users to migrate to ISO 45001?
Due to the many similarities of ISO 45001 and the OHSA 18001 standard, it is expected that the migration to ISO 45001 by businesses already certified to OHSA 18001 should require minimal effort if organizations are well-versed in both of the standards (ISO 9001 and ISO 18001). In addition, because of its high-level approach, companies will not only find it easier to integrate this standard with the other standards (such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001) but will benefit all businesses, including smaller enterprises that are struggling to manage compliance with more than one standard.