Once you have selected your Standard, it might be useful to ask why it is needed; It could be that you need it to gain a qualification to bid for work; it could be that you simply want the certification to use as a marketing tool or it could even be that you want to improve your overall efficiency.
Whatever the reason it makes sense to review your existing practices and procedures. You should then compare those practices and procedures against the requirements of the Standard. It is often found that some of the practices will meet the Standard and some will fit with some minor modification.
Prepare working documents; most Standards require a manual of some kind and this should be written with your own organisation and the Standard in mind. Remember that a very comprehensive document may not be the best option. I always try to think K.I.S.S which stands for KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID . A system which is succinct and targeted will always be better than a huge document that, in truth, nobody will read.
Having produced the Manual it is necessary to prepare procedures, processes and working instructions to show how the organisation works:
- A Procedure is a set of instructions or a mode of operation
- A Process has an input and an output; quite often a flowchart to show graphically what is done.
- A working instruction is a detailed piece of work to show exactly how something is performed; usually a step by step instruction.
Once all this work is produced it will be necessary to put it into operation, then it is tested to see if it is effective. This last step is called auditing and will tell you if you are ready to move on to the next step, formal certification. If all goes well the certification, which is carried out by an independent certification body will conform that you have met the requirements of the Standard and a certificate of compliance is issued.
The whole process is relatively easy if these simple steps are followed.