In a country where you can buy a registered ISO certificate, for almost any ISO Management System, for under 5000 AED, you really have to ask yourself is it worth all the effort to implement and embed an ISO Management System?
As an ISO Consultant, I am constantly coming up against potential clients who say they can get an ISO in 3 weeks for less that 10000 AED. Really? Think about that for a few seconds? Firstly, the certification auditor (external auditor), will expect to see at least 6 months’ worth of evidence that you have been using the Management System. Secondly, although you don’t need a manual in some Management Systems, you still have at least 1, if not more, mandatory procedures and all your documented information as master copies, properly notated, ready and in use. Thirdly, the whole business/organisation must understand and be part of the Management System. I get told on many occasions that all this can be done in 3 weeks, I’m sorry it is just not feasible.
What do you get if you cut corners? In the first example, if you just buy the certificates, pretty much nothing, except the ability to go for tenders from the Government (EXPO 2020) or the larger organisations like Emaar or Meraas? That is until they start to ask for evidence of your ISO Management System, not just a copy of your certificate. Then you will have nothing. In the latter example, you may have some paperwork, even if it is just off the shelf documentation, but it won’t be embedded, nobody will be using it and when you come to your first Observation Audit you will fail.
A quick point of interest here, ISO certification bodies, the people who come and do your certification audit, cannot be associated with the consultants that help you implement and embed your ISO Management System. This is to stop unscrupulous certification bodies using their own people to implement, embed then certify the business! It has to be an independent external auditor.
If you are in business, your products and services must be right for your customers. If they aren’t you won’t be in business for long. It’s the same with the ISO Management Systems. To get the full benefit of them, they must be properly implemented, this includes identifying processes that could have an inherent risk that need to be documented into procedures to ensure the risk is mitigated. That all your documented information, your reports, forms, receipts is correct and properly used. This provides traceability and enhances responsibility. All employees, from the bottom to the very top must be involved and understand their roles within the Management System. It must be driven from the TOP!
To do anything less is a waste of effort, time and money. Currently, there are a lot of businesses out there that have, for the want of a better term ‘Fake ISO certificates’ on their walls, websites and business cards. Who are they fooling, unfortunately the companies that hire them as sub-contractors or suppliers for one and, indirectly, the clients of the companies that hire them or use them. They ultimately fool themselves, as many I have met, actually believe they are fully ISO compliant.
In the UAE and the region as a whole, Governments, large businesses and organisations are beginning to tighten up on business accreditation. They are becoming more aware of the importance of these certifications and the reflection upon themselves.
So, my answer to the question, ‘Is it Worth the Effort?’ is YES.
Nothing of benefit comes easy. The effort you put into gaining Management System certification, will deliver the benefits it was designed to give, as the system becomes more and more embedded within your business.
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