Often, organizations deploy consultants to take them through the ISO 9001 certification process. Apart from ensuring that the organization’s certification journey is successful, the consultant optimally deploys the standard in the organization’s context, for its best benefits. I.e. He ensures that the requirements of the standard and the needs /context of the organization are best aligned.
The role of the ISO 9001 consultant is spread across the entire certification process starting from introductory training up to the final certification. The consultant introduces the organization and its top management to the ISO 9001 standard, its requirements & benefits and the certification process. He plays a key role in obtaining the top management buy-in towards the certification. The consultant conducts detailed training to the key members of the organization on the requirements of the standard. Members from the quality function and other senior members from line function are typically trained at this stage.
Then, the consultant in discussion with the quality team members and other stakeholders understands the organization, i.e. the business , key stakeholders, products and services, operations, structure of the organization, its size & location of operations. Such an understanding is vital for him to deliver the best in the forthcoming stages of certification. Then, the consultant acquaints himself with the Quality Management System (QMS) of the organization, if any. It remains the pre-requisite for performing a fool proof gap analysis of the QMS against the requirements of ISO 9001. After discussing the gaps with the Quality team, the consultant facilitates the closure of these gaps, i.e. up gradation of the QMS.
If the organization does not have any QMS in place, then the consultant develops the QMS from scratch. This includes framing the Quality policy, developing Quality Manual, procedures, guidelines, formats and checklists. At this stage, the consultant works closely with the quality team and line function members of the organization so that the QMS developed is practical and implementable. Such an interaction helps get the buy-in of the line function in deploying the procedures, guidelines and systems. The role of consultants remains in translating the requirements of the standard to the context of the organization. A successful consultant is one who right sizes the definition and deployment of the standard i.e. neither more nor less of processes.
Also, he prepares an ISO 9001/QMS awareness program capsule for training of the employees. He along with quality team members delivers training to the employees across the organization.
The consultant’s role is vital even in the deployment phase, where the organization faces various issues in deploying the new procedures / systems. Many organizations use the consultant’s service in developing a pool of internal auditors i.e. the consultants deliver internal auditor training to a set of employees, to qualify them as trained internal auditors. Also, the consultants ensure that the organization conduct the internal audits, as per the requirements of the standard. The quality department takes consultant’s help in conducting the management review. Here again, the consultant’s ensure that the management review is conducted in line with the inputs and outputs mentioned in the standard.