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Questions and Answers

10 Questions and Answers, Before You Hire a Consultant

Those organizations who recruit good consultants get the job done roughly twice as fast. By helping you avoid mistakes, a good consultant can help you get the job done faster. But only a good consultant can do this. Not all consultants are created equally, and it is important to select a consultant that is right for you.

How do you tell the difference? Before you hire ISO 9000 consulting help, here are questions to ask ISO 9001 consultants. (These questions are relevant to consultants for ISO 14000, AS9100, etc.). The consultant who gives you the best answers is the one for you! 

1: How much will it cost us to get ready for ISO 9001, AS9100,or ISO 14000 registration?

A reputable consultant will give you a range based on the amount of time they estimate, through experience, the process will take.  

2: How long does it take to get ISO 9001 set up and ready for registration?

Again, a reputable consultant will give you a range of time. Ask for references to back up any claims made concerning time lines and success. 

3: What Standard will you help us work toward?

Make sure your consultant is versed in the current standards and can explain to your satisfaction which Standard fits you best. The right consultant is so fluent in all these technical details that he or she will be able to guide you with confidence and complete credibility. 

4: How much do we have to pay up front?

Reputable consultants may ask for a small advance for the first visit or progress payments as the project meets certain milestones.  

5: Who will be the lead consultant on our project?

Accept nothing less than to meet and interview the person who will actually be working with you on an ongoing basis - Before you hire the consulting firm.  

6: What do you charge for phone consultation during, and after, the project?

The answer had better be "not one red cent." 

7: What registration firms are you tied to?

The acceptable answer is "None." A reputable consultant is 100% independent, with no fiduciary or corporate relationship with any registration firm.  

8: Will you be present during our registration audit?

That option is up to you and should be considered part of the closeout to the project, (Not an additional cost to you). Keep in mind, the consultant cannot help you during a registration audit; the assessors will not allow any participation on the consultant’s part.  

9: What will you charge to help us deal with noncompliances found during our registration audit?

The answer is Zero, not one penny. This should be part of the closeout of the project, not an additional cost. 

10: How often will you have to come back to help us keep up our system after we are registered?

The answer should be, "Not ever." A reputable consultant works hard to ensure that you fully own your quality management system at the time of registration.

 

What are the benefits of implementing an effective QMS based on the ISO 9001:2008 standard? 

Benefits include:

External

  • Improves customer satisfaction due to an organization's QMS capability and consistency in meeting requirements.
  • Improves conformity to quality requirements
  • Increases competitive edge and market share
  • Increasingly recognized as a requirement for contractual relationships in the global arena.

Internal

  • Improves business efficiency and productivity
  • Reduces organizational waste, inefficiencies, and defects
  • Facilitates continual improvement in business processes and customer satisfaction
  • Improves process consistency and stability
  • Facilitates employee competence and consistency of performance
  • Improves employee motivation and empowerment through improved participation, communication and interaction.
  • Generates objective evidence to support the assessment of QMS conformity and effectiveness
  • Improves supplier performance by developing relationships that foster cooperative interaction in understanding and fulfilling customer requirements.
   

Myths, Urban Legends, and Perceptions

Everyone has their interpretation of the ISO 9001 standard. Let’s discuss some common misunderstandings, some of these myths, urban legends or perceptions of different requirements that may still exist:

Myth: Implementing and maintaining ISO 9001 is expensive.

  • False: it does not have to be expensive. A company simply needs to document its management system based on what it already does and put in place the programs required to improve on them.

Urban Legend: The ISO 9001 system is a quality system (belongs in the quality department or is the responsibility of the quality manager), or many organizations feel they need to hire somebody full time to manage the ISO 9001 system (for example, internal audit coordinator, corrective action coordinator, ISO coordinator).

  • False: the ISO 9001 system covers an entire business, starting with customer requirements, review and acceptance of those requirements, executing those requirements, measuring and monitoring processes to ensure requirements are being met and then, ultimately, delivery of a product or service that meets those requirements to ensure customer satisfaction.

Perception: a quality manual has to plagiarize the ISO 9001 standard.

  • False: the ISO 9001 standard states, “The organization shall establish and maintain a quality manual that includes:
  • The scope of the quality management system, including details of and justification for any exclusions,
  • The documented procedures established for the quality management system, or reference to them, and
  • A description of the interaction between the processes of the quality management system.”

Perception: it is mandatory to have a document—for example, work instruction, flow chart, procedure—for every process in the company.

  • False: ISO 9001 states, “NOTE 2 of the standard, the extent of the documentation can differ from one organization to another due to the size of organization and type of activities, the complexity of processes and their interactions, and the competence of personnel."

This is just a short list of reasons why organizations struggle with ISO 9001 implementation. Do you have some of these myths, urban legends, misconceptions in your organization?

Visit our Blog for Valuable Information

Our Blog provides a wealth of information for those interested in becoming registered to ISO9001, AS9100, and any other quality topic our contributors decide to post. Join us at www.qicguru.com.

 

 

 
There are various ways in which your supplier can claim that its quality management system meets the requirements of ISO 9001:2008. These include:
  • Supplier's declaration of conformity: Your supplier makes a declaration affirming that its QMS meets ISO 9001:2008 requirements, usually supported by legally-binding signatures. This declaration can be based on your supplier's internal audit system, or on second party or third party audits;
  • Second party assessment: your supplier is audited directly by its customer (e.g., by you, or by another customer, whose reputation you respect) to check if its QMS meets ISO 9001:2008 requirements and your own requirements - sometimes used in contractual "business-to-business" transactions;
  • Third party certification: your supplier uses an accredited Certification Body (Registrar) to audit and verify it's conformity to ISO 9001:2008 requirements. This third party then issues a certificate to your supplier describing the scope of its QMS, and confirming that it conforms to ISO 9001:2008.
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