Finding the right ISO management systems consultant is an important decision, particularly for organizations that are searching for a consultant for the first time.
Many organizations use a consultant to help them implement a management system, often with the goal of achieving or maintaining certification to an ISO management systems standard. Some organizations also retain the consultant after implementation to act as their management representative or internal auditor.
There is no doubt that management system consultants can be a very valuable addition to your team, either on a temporary or longer-term contract. But like any partnership, it is an important decision to get right.
There are some general principles that could be found practical to follow while choosing or hiring an ISO consultant.
Trust in your consultant can be a fundamental component of a successful relationship with your management system. Trust is the facility by which the consultant can act rigorously and spontaneously on elements of your management systems in order to assist you with the requirement of ISO certification. The more trust you have in your consultant, the greater his or her ability to do an exceptional job for you.
2. Big picture
How well does your consultant understand your overall business objectives and environment? Does he/she understand the importance of a management systems approach to achieving them?
3. Follow their lead
An ISO consultant can be a tremendous help when you are trying to understand what ISO standards mean. They also can help you understand how your management systems can best meet those requirements. While your management systems can never be better than your current business practices and structure, there is a great deal of benefit in making them comply with your overall strategy.
4. Check whether there is a desire to help
Look for an ISO consultant whose statements and proposals indicate he or she understands the big picture and your purpose. An ISO consultant who really wants to help you succeed should provide reassurance that you are in compliance.
5. Shadow your consultant
Check whether there is a desire to help before you hire your ISO consultant. Let them shadow your organization for a period of time. Ask questions from time to time to determine whether your consultant can really understand your business and needs.
6. In-person references
Ask for the names of clients who used previous services provided by your ISO consultant. Interview them and see if they would have use of this consultant again. Ask them to describe their experience with the consultant and how it was different from their expectations.
7. How they do it, how long it takes
Every consultant has a different process working style. It depends from person to person. A consultant would usually perform the following activities
- Providing the preliminary assessment to prepare for the detailed implementation of standards
- Company audit
- Coordination of training for the stakeholders
- Creation and validation of documents
- Training for management and workforce
- Standards assistance by the consultant
- Providing the required guidance as per the standards to management and workers
8. How strong they maintain relationship
You should ask from previous clients who had used their services, if they have improved their performance after which they must hire the consultant. Good organization can make it easier for them to maintain relationship and will let them serve their customer well. They should have a good communication surrounding standards.
9. Keep it simple
ISO consultant is a person, who is an expert of ISO standards and implementation methodology. So, he must provide an implementation plan of the selected ISO standard, which considers that company’s entire business framework.
ISO consultant must provide the required guidance and organizational assistance to management and workers as well as consistent feedback to management.