Should you Develop your ISO 9001 System yourself or Engage a Consultant?
If you are not sure whether to develop the system internally or to engage a consultant, here are some points to consider:
Time to certification
In our experience, clients who develop their own system take much longer to achieve certification. Sometimes up to 2 years. There is usually more than one reason for this, but the main issues are:
- The project leader has other duties and the development of the system may not be seen as a high priority.
- An external consultant is dedicated to the development of your system.
- Lack of knowledge – previous involvement with a management system and some knowledge of the standard do not necessarily give you an understanding of how to apply the standard.
An experienced consultant has experience in applying the requirements of the standard to hundreds of businesses and has the methodologies and efficiencies to develop and certify a system within a very short period of time.
Sense of ownership
The sense of ownership is an important factor in the success of implementation.
When developed internally and with a high level of management commitment, it is likely that staff will have high level of ownership.
However, an experienced consultant has the tools and ability to ensure management commitment and staff engagement with the advantage of being seen as independent.
Our experience shows that systems developed internally tend to be larger in volume. An experienced consultant is able to develop a concise, user friendly system which meets your business needs.
On the other hand, some consultants may impose their own ideas and concepts on your business, which will lead to the system not reflecting how your business operates, which in turn will lead to lack of acceptance of the system in your business.
Meeting the requirements of the standard
If you want to develop the system internally, you need to ensure that, at least the system coordinator, has a good understanding of the standard to ensure your system will meet its requirements. There are training programs available.
Success in certification
Working with a reputable consultant ensures that the requirements of the standard are met. When auditors audit a system developed by a reputable consultant, the level of trust they place in the system is high, and most certification bodies therefore tend to shorten the timeframe between stage 1 and stage 2 of certification, sometimes conducting the two stages consecutively.
A consultant also has the experience and knowledge to be able to represent you when either an auditor makes a finding that you believe is unreasonable or asks you to implement a change that does not meet your business needs.
Resources and cost
The issue of cost is one of the more critical factors when considering developing and certifying your business.
When a system is developed internally, the business saves spending money on the external consultant. Whilst this is an immediate saving on the bottom line, it does not mean that there are no costs involved with internal development, which could make the system more expensive. Some of these may be:
- The cost of your staff spending time developing the system rather than focusing on their job.
- The cost of the extended interruption to your business – a good consultant can develop the system with minimal interruption to your daily operations.
- The cost of delaying certification – there are financial gains to certification ranging from wining tenders to wining client’s confidence. Our experience shows that systems developed internally take much longer to reach certification.
- The cost of not gaining certification – certification bodies charge by audit days.
If the auditor finds that your system does not meet all the requirements; this may mean additional time for the auditor to review the changes and possibly additional audits. With a consultant that guarantees certification, you have the peace of mind.
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