ISO certification-the process
Here, we will explain the ISO certification process, with reference to Quest Certification-USA.

First, applicants must register by filling up the Quest Request form for a particular ISO standard. The form contains information about the applicant’s organization, which lets Quest determine the certification scope and the period of assessment.

Next, Quest completes the assessment as per the requirements of the standard that has been chosen. This includes to compulsory visits that are part of the Initial Certification Audit (please see below).

The applicant should successfully show that the management system has been functioning for at least three months and has undergone a complete process of internal audits.
If the assessment is successful, Quest certifies the applicant. Certification involves annual surveillance audits and a rectification audit conducted every 3 years.

INITIAL CERTIFICATION AUDIT

First Stage
This audit confirms that the applicant is prepared for a full assessment.

The assessor will do the following:

  • Verify that management system is in conformation with the ISO standard’s requirements
  • Verify the state of implementation
  • Verify the certification’s scope
  • Check for compliance with laws
  • Report any non-compliance, as well as scope for improvement and prepare a plan for rectification
  • Create an assessment plan and provide a date for the next stage of the assessment visit
Second stage
This audit confirms that the management system fulfils all the requirements of the chosen standard.

The assessor will do the following:

  • Prepare sample audits of every process and activity that’s defined by the scope of the certification
  • Record the system’s compliance with the standard via objective proof
  • Report any non-compliance, as well as scope for improvement
  • Create a surveillance plan and provide the date for the initial surveillance visit that will be conducted annually.

If any major non-conformance is identified, certification isn’t issued till corrective measures are taken and these have been verified by assessor. If this isn’t done within a period of 6 months, certification isn’t provided until the second stage assessment is done again.