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How Long is a Piece of String?

December 26, 2017


I am amazed when I see adverts stating you can become ISO 9001 accredited within 2 months. Every ISO 9001 implementation I have consulted on from the start has always taken at least 6 months. Why, I hear you ask?


One reason is the business isn't ready to implement the standard. This could be due to lack of resources, lack of vision and lack of commitment.  Many businesses don't really know what procedures they want included and, then there is the confusion between what management thinks they should be doing, and what is actually being done in reality.


The new standard ISO 9001:2015 has reduced the number of documented procedures that must be  included to ONE! But, and it is a big but, for the system to work, then procedures that can have a direct impact on quality should be mapped and documented. It's only common sense.


The same goes for measuring the effect of the system within the business. How are you going to assess how effective the Quality Management System is without processes to capture relevant data. Then when are you going to measure it? 


Many years ago I attended a workshop called 'A Complaint is a Gift'. It taught me to look at the positive aspect of customer complaints.  A complaint is also a measurement that can be used to see how well the Quality Management System is working.  The standard guides senior management to address complaints and in doing so improve both the system and maintain happy customers.


I have seen how a well implemented, supported and driven Quality Management System can make a difference to a business. When quality processes are second nature the savings on time, resources and mitigation of risk enhances customer satisfaction and does make a positive difference to the bottom line.


I have also seen how a badly implemented Quality Management System can impact upon staff morale, customer satisfaction and quality of service or product provided.  The follow on arguments between management and staff as to who is to blame for the system not doing what it is supposed to! 


Working with businesses like this, to 'rescue' the system, to bring everyone back on-board, to re-motivate management is a huge challenge, but especially rewarding when it is completed.


So, for businesses in 2018 that are looking towards gaining certification of Quality, Environmental or Health and Safety remember please it can't be done quickly. It will take time, full support from senior management, buy-in from all the staff, some hard work, late nights and honesty.  But if you implement properly, embed it fully then it will make the difference.


From all at CSA Consultants we wish you a productive and prosperous 2018.


To find out how we can help you achieve your certification email Yvonne at or visit our website:


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