Yesterday a Gulf News EXPRESS Exclusive exposed the extent of Fake ISO certification agencies operating in the UAE, and beyond. The well written article showed that almost a third of the ISO certifying agencies in the UAE do not abide by the ISO stringent guidelines for the accreditation of businesses wanting to achieve the world recognised Management Certificate.
Almost 40% of certificates issued to businesses and government agencies were not audited with the correct evidence, if any evidence at all.
There are many reasons why a business would want to achieve any one of the ISO standards, not just the three core Management ISO's, those for Quality (9001), Environmental (14001) and Occupational Health & Safety (18001), but also for Security, Food Industry, Energy, Event Management etc. One reason is to demonstrate to their customers that they have a world recognised system in place, which places an onus on them to have procedures, processes and documented information is in place, to ensure they deliver the best services or products to them. They may want to reduce their impact upon the environment, reduce waste, ensure safety standards, both for staff and customers, is met and maintained. For businesses to tender for government, international or big company contracts, one of the stipulations is that they have at least ISO 9001 and in more and more tenders, ISO 14001.
But, for all businesses the bottom line is money. By fully implementing, embedding and embracing an ISO Management Standard, apart from the above reasons, it will have an impact upon the bottom line. A good Management System will help encourage customer retention and improve customer relations, will reduce waste and time, therefore saving money, will ensure that you look at all the risks and opportunities that each potential sale, new market or idea in order to make the right choice for both your business and your customers.
For the accreditation agencies, the agencies that are peddling the fake ISO's, it is both the ignorance of businesses to the ISO Standard requirements and the need for a 'Certificate to tender for bigger contracts', that they rely on. For the more astute of these, they provide 'generic' documentation, but in many cases the documentation does not even relate to that business! (I have seen it myself, where a printing company in the UAE had documentation relating to a manufacturing business). For businesses that have a small budget or need a quick 'fix' these agencies provide the answer. But what they don't provide are the tools that a real ISO Management System gives a business to both grow in the market and in the bank.
We have long tried to explain to businesses in the UAE region that an ISO is an investment, it has to be led by the management, become part of the business ethos and embraced by the whole work force, from the cleaner to the CEO to be effective. As with any investment it takes real time to implement and embed, and the notion that an ISO can be achieved within 3 days or 3 weeks is total nonsense.
If you are starting out from fresh for your first ISO certification, expect it to take at least 6 months! This provides the minimum amount of evidence that an External Auditor will want to see to ensure that you are using the system and recording the necessary evidence. For those businesses that already have one of the three main management standards and are looking to transition, then it may take a little less time, as you already have evidence from your previous certification. However, the External Auditor will be looking to see if you have embraced the the changes in the new standard, for example Risk Based Thinking and Management Commitment and Leadership so expect a minimum of 4 months.
For businesses in the UAE that find themselves in the embarrassing position of holding a Fake ISO Certificate, but with no system in place, we would be pleased to help you do it right. For those who decide to just hope that no one will question it, be warned, more and more tenders are asking for copies of your ISO Management Manual, Policy and other documentation. A certificate is no longer enough!
To read the fantastic article from the Gulf News XPRESS please click here: XPRESS exposé: Well-oiled racket involving sale of ISO certificates uncovered
For more information on how we can help you achieve your ISO accreditation the right way contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our our website: CSA-Consultants