Preparing for a proper ISO certification is time-consuming and tiring. Months-long or even year-long preparations are necessary in order to fully address issues – especially when trying to obtain your certifications for the very first time. Below are some tips to follow before you face the final audit for your certificate:
- Follow the timeline – when it comes to getting your ISO 9001 quality management system standard, the institute or body that will be issuing your certificate will provide you with a date for the final audit. This date will likely be set a number of months from the present date. There is a reason why they did not provide you with a week’s notice or less – they want you to prepare for the final audit. What you should understand, therefore, is that you should be utilizing these few months to prepare the company for the audit. Never wait until the final month to find and address every single issue within your company, because that is simply not possible. If you want to get your certification on the first try, you have to use the months that you have been given to address every internal issue of the company.
- Perform your own audits – the final audit, whether that is for the ISO 27001 or 9001, is held by the certifying external body (and is therefore an external audit). The best way to prepare for the final audit is by hosting your very own internal audits within the company. Try to perform this at the same rigorous level and standard as the certifying body, as this will allow you to find any potential issues in the procedures and performance of your company. You should not leave any stone unturned – make sure to address every single process of your company, and review it thoroughly.
- Correct issues as you find them – there are certain companies that try to find every issue within their company before they begin to resolve them. Do not be that kind of company. When it comes to issues, it is best to remedy them as soon as they pop up, and move forwards by resolving issues. This will not only allow you to fix issues quickly and efficiently, but it will also allow you to find any complementary issues that pop as you resolve existing issues.
- Cleanliness is key – and of the course, the one point you should not forget right before your internal audit is cleanliness and hygiene. The point is especially relevant to companies that require high levels of hygiene and sanitization (e.g. industries related to food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and medicine, beauty products, etc.). In fact, the easiest way to have your certification delayed is by not paying attention to the cleanliness of your surroundings. Make sure to check the status of your company in the weeks leading up to the final audit.