ISO 9001:2015 Transition Takes Nine Months

Warning! ISO Transition needs 9 months!

We have been finding some people who have been underestimating their ISO transition.  Yes! It’s always possible to do things quicker.  But is that really how you want to do things?  Expediting fees to your certification body?  Training at expensive locations at the last minute?  Premium consulting fees to rush things?  Late nights having to update records and put things in place in a hurry? Mistakes and errors?  Less than ideal compromises?  Dissatisfaction?  Failed certification?

No, the answer is to plan your ISO transition so you are not under pressure.  You start with your certification audit date.  Certification bodies tend to be consistent in how they go about things and so the date from last year should be quite reliable, although asking them is always a good idea.  Plan your internal audit to take place a month or two before that.  That leaves you a little time to fix any issues you find.  Note that you must have “trained” 2015 auditors so you can prove they are capable of auditing to the new standard.  Furthermore, it is important to note that a certification/accreditation rule means that you have to audit to both the 2008 version as well as the 2015 version.

Prior to your internal audit you need to edit procedures to meet the new standard and/or generate new procedures for your system.  This can be take anywhere between “a few” days’ work up to a dozen days’ work to complete.  This is an opportunity to make sure your system is optimized for your organization, that it is not bureaucratic, and adds value to the organization.  The goal here is not to modify systems as “little” as possible but to craft them so that are optimal for ensuring success.  Although the work could be simply a few days, you must allow time for discussions, reviewing processes, testing, agreeing and approval.  Those few days are spread over a few weeks and if it’s a dozen days then you are going to need a few months to get everything completed.  Like everything else, it can be rushed – with all the implications that entails.

Before everything, the first task is planning.   You need to review the documents, walk through the processes, shake hands with the people and work out what needs to be done.   While this might be done in a few hours or perhaps a couple of days depending on how detailed the planning is to be, you need to book time with people or at least give them notice?  Then you need to prepare a plan, report and management presentation – or some way of communicating and gaining support for the project.

This of course means you have to know the standard.  Ideally be an expert.  Have ideas about how to implement it, know what the auditors will accept or not accept and, perhaps the most complicated change of the standard, ensure the full involvement of leadership.

The more expertise, the easier this project will be – and quicker.  If a solution takes more time to review, discuss and resolve, then the project will take longer.

So a month for planning and presentation, 3-4 months for document changes, new processes, training, for top management to get used to their new involvement, a document review and changes, and some time, say a month, to operate the new and changed processes and get used to them (or change).  Hopefully the awareness training and the internal auditor training can all happen simultaneously but then you need time for the internal audit and one or two months to certification.  If things go well, that’s 6-8 months and planning for six months leaves no contingency.  Planning for nine months leaves contingency.

You know when your certification audit is.  Start talking about this a year before.  It takes one to two months to get things going.  Your certification body will not feel sorry for you if don’t leave enough time.

You can hire an expert right?  And surely they can take care of it in three months.  Correct.  Cavendish Scott has completed full ISO implementations in just a few weeks.  But don’t expect any good consultant to have availability to help you without notice.

There is no downside to booking in advance.  Do it now.  Contact us to help plan ahead.