American Certification Group-ACG is a ISO 17021-1 accredited registrar providing quality management systems certification services in ISO 9001.
Our driving philosophy is better rates, better auditors and better information that you can use to improve performance.
Initial Steps to ISO 9001 Certification
1. Lean about the standard. To effectively meet the ISO 9001 requirements you must have an understanding of the standard and how it can be applied to your organization.
2. Perform a gap analysis. You need to know where you are at before you know where you are going. It is helpful to document an assessment of your current quality management system compared to the requirements in the standard. This will help you prioritize tasks and ensure you have a documented plan of attack.
3. Educate your employees. ISO 9001 is a standard that requires all members of the product realization process to understand their responsibilities and how they fit into the bigger quality management system picture. It is important to discuss the plan and get buy in at the early stages of the process.
4. Document your system. The ISO 9001 standard does not always mandate documented procedures but it is a good idea to create procedures so you can analyze and define what you think are the best practices for each process.
5. Implement your system. When departments have identified and defined best practices it is important to implement the changes. You will need time to see if the updated processes are both manageable and effective.
6. Audit your system. It is important to continually audit your processes to ensure personnel are following the established rules. Internal audits allow you to see deficiencies and make appropriate changes. You can’t improve an inconsistent process and auditing ensures everyone is on the same page.
7. Prepare and schedule your ISO-9001 registration audit. There is never a good time to schedule an audit. Personnel will always feel they need more time. Scheduling an audit puts a hard timeframe on the process. This has a tendency to add some urgency to implementation of newly developed processes.
8. Continual improvement. Achieving ISO-9001 certification is only the first step. Certification does require continual improvement and evidence that your system is meeting your intended results. There is no sin in falling short of an objective. The sin is not reacting and improving the process when you do fall short.
9. At ACG, we know that achieving ISO Quality Management System certification requires considerable effort and can be confusing at times. We are here to make sure you understand the steps and make sure you stay on track.
Steps to Registration
Stage One Registration Assessment
As a first step in the certification process, ACG will perform a Stage 1 Registration Assessment. This review is conducted on site and focuses on determining the implementation status of your quality management system. This assessment helps identify any activities necessary for full compliance with requirements and helps establish an appropriate schedule for your final certification audit.
Stage Two Registration
The Stage 2 audit is a complete evaluation of your company’s Quality Management System including those areas reviewed during the Stage 1 assessment. The focus is on ensuring that policies and procedures are effectively implemented and your Quality Management System is suitable and effective in supporting your company’s quality policy and objectives.
During the audit, daily meetings will be held between the audit team and your management team to discuss audit progress and any concerns that may have arisen. The audit team will gather sufficient objective evidence to support a conclusion that your Quality Management System has been documented and effectively implemented in accordance with the ISO standard.
Upon review of the lead auditors recommendations and resolution of any required corrective actions ACG certification committee will authorize issuance of a certificate of registration.
To ensure that your Quality Management System is effectively maintained, ACG will perform an annual surveillance audit. At each surveillance audit areas including management review, internal audits and corrective action will be reviewed. In addition, remaining standard requirements will be added. All elements of the quality system will be reviewed at a minimum over the three year registration cycle.
Maintaining certification requires that your entire quality management system be reassessed at the end of each three-year certification cycle. The reassessment audit must be completed before the expiration date of your ISO registration certificate. After successful completion of all reassessment processes, including a review of the results of surveillance audits over the past certification period, ACG will issue a new Certificate of Registration..