Cavendish Scott - Experts in ISO Consulting
Cavendish Scott has a unique approach to ISO consulting. There are two key issues that make our approach to consulting the best ISO management system consulting available.
The first important factor is that ISO, done correctly, does not require you to adopt unfamiliar procedures but can be based on matching your existing activities to address the ISO requirements directly. We always assume that your processes are already basically compliant to ISO and we document them as they are. We carefully and precisely verify and document that all of the ISO requirements are met by your current processes. Usually nothing more than “tweaking” is required to bring them up to the ISO level. We frame this approach with simple and easy maintenance activities that require limited experience of the standard itself and ensure easy and inexpensive running costs. Our systems are designed so that as they mature, they drive tangible benefits of continual performance improvement from your ISO system.
The second factor is that ISO is not some mysterious art which is “interpretable” and full of gray areas. It is clearly defined, and can be interpreted and applied precisely. While it is fair to say that there are a few areas of debate, the cause of this myth is unreliable auditors with inconsistent and inaccurate interpretation. Our approach is to very precisely interpret the standard and apply it in a way that makes sense to you while being compliant with the standard. We’ll never ask you to do anything that is not in the standard and will always try to focus you on adding value. We will also try to steer you towards reliable, precise and inexpensive registrars and auditors!
We believe that an ISO management system can provide tremendous benefits to an organization, increasing performance and reducing fire-fighting. But these opportunities and decisions are the realm of your management. We bring opportunities and ideas to their attention but we don’t pretend ISO demands implementation which might bring unwanted change. We ensure the idea has been introduced, ensure your ISO system is conducive to improvements and help implement them where agreed. If the goal is simply successful ISO registration (and we guarantee it) then we can work on improvement after the ISO assessment.
And nobody doubts the marketing benefits of ISO. Some customers insist upon it, government and other contracts ask about it and it does assure potential customers that you have your business organized and that they can rely on you.
A final unique feature of our approach is that we recognize that at least part of the objective of your ISO project is usually to get an ISO certificate. There are things to do to make it easy to pass an audit and others that will make it difficult. One absolutely critical concern is to build an ISO system that can be demonstrably proven to meet the requirements. Although documented procedures are only mandatory in six areas of ISO, if you don’t have procedures to describe how you meet all the requirements, then how are you going to ensure you consistently address them? How are you going to train new people and explain to them the required processes and importantly, if an auditor asks how a particular requirement of ISO is addressed then how are you going to remember the correct answer – especially if the people involved in your original ISO project have moved on? The aim is not to minimize documentation but to optimize it.
Our approach encompasses this concept. We document in procedures and policies (or flowcharts, process diagrams, etc.), how each and every ISO requirement is achieved in your business. We don’t do this in the order of the standard or in a way that reflects the standard. The standard itself suggests a process approach which means you won’t take the standard and generate documents. We take your existing processes and activities and document them! This is the approach we use, as described above. You end up with a set of documents that meaningfully describes what you do but doesn’t easily correlate with the standard. Once you have a meaningful set of documents we carefully and precisely cross reference them to all of the ISO requirements. This cross reference document will be in the order of the standard, is proof that the requirements have been met and is an essential tool to convincing auditors you deserve an ISO certificate.
It’s different for small companies
Small companies have significant advantages of over larger companies. In addition to often having an overhead and pricing advantage, small companies usually have excellent communication. Because there are so few people, everyone knows each other, knows what they do and knows what is going on. While there is no downside to better discipline and organizational controls, small companies don’t need a comprehensive or complex structure to ensure success because of the communication and knowledge. In larger organizations it is necessary to document and perform things in a specific way to ensure the work is clear to everyone in the organization. Success comes more through systems and controls than by the regular and close communication.
Obviously this is a generalization and there is no particular size of organization where this starts to become true. If a small, flexible company wants to grow larger without too many problems, a formal ISO system with extra (optional) discipline and controls will help it do that successfully.
That said, small organizations (even those intending to grow) can and should benefit from the flexibility built into the ISO requirements. Systems can be simpler, bureaucracy lighter and discipline easier. All without prejudicing an appropriate and practical level of control to assure that the organization runs well. The processes operated can have greater flexibility and more reliance can be made on staff decisions and responsibilities. This helps keep down the ISO maintenance costs and eases operation. Documented procedures should still be generated for all areas and for all ISO requirements (as described elsewhere on this page) so the system can be easily demonstrated to be conforming.
Our consulting process helps us recognize an appropriate level of simplicity in small organizations and deliver a practical, appropriate and conforming system matched to the needs smaller organizations. This project simplicity impacts our processes too. It keeps consulting fees lower and speeds ISO implementation down to as short as two months from start to finish.
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