For any business, getting the necessary certifications is essential. That’s because certifications help boost credibility and add value to your business. Furthermore having these two things makes you look trustworthy to customers, employees, and prospective clients.
One of the most important and most valued certifications you can get for your business is obviously an ISO certification. Before you apply for one, learn what it is and what having one means, and find out how you can acquire one in the Philippines.
What is an ISO Certification?
Before we get to the certification, let’s go over where the standards come from. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international, non-governmental organization that creates, documents and publishes international standards to ensure that all materials, products, services, and processes are suited for their intended purpose.
The ISO is consist of 164 national standards bodies and more than 45,000 experts around the world. The members create the standards by coming to a consensus, offering voluntary, market-relevant ideas and putting together standards that support innovation, address global challenges and promote international trade. Overall, the ISO has published 22,802 international standards and related documents across a wide variety of industries, including healthcare, technology, food safety, and agriculture to name a few.
A common misconception is that the ISO issues the certifications directly. ISO is not a certifying body – they only create and publish the international standards to be followed by organizations. External certification or conformity bodies are the ones that provide certification. These entities follow ISO’s published Committee on Conformity Assessment (CASCO) standards.
Acquiring an ISO certification means an organization has met the international standards for delivering the goods or services that they offer, meeting consistent outcomes with measurable results. In order to get the certification, a business must meet the necessary statutory and regulatory requirements set by ISO.
How do you get an ISO certification?
Choosing a certification body. In order to get your business ISO-certified, you first need to choose a certification body in your location. For the most reliable results, you can either select a member body – one of the 164 national standards bodies within ISO itself – or a correspondent body, a certification body that follows the CASCO standards and is authorized to release ISO certificates. The list of member bodies and correspondent members is available on the ISO website.
When selecting a certification body, you need to remember the following:
- Shop around for and evaluate several certification bodies before settling on one. They may have different processes and processing times.
- Make sure that the certification body you select follows the relevant CASCO standard for the ISO certification you’re trying to acquire.
- Check if the certification body is accredited. While accreditation is not compulsory, and non-accreditation doesn’t automatically mean it is not reputable, accreditation does signal competence and therefore will provide a stronger trust signal.
- Find out if an organization is accredited, for this reason, you have to consult The Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
What are the requirements for ISO certification?
To apply for the certification, there are specific requirements you need to complete. The documents and forms you need to submit:
- Documents about manufacturing and training manuals
- Reviews on individual processes showing its effectiveness
- Process maps
- Records of company details, facilities, and systems
- An internal audit
What is the process of getting ISO certified?
The certification is proof of a company’s competency. It shows that the processes, training, and outputs that a company delivers meet industry standards. The process for certification includes three main steps:
- Completion and submission of documents
- Implementation of objectives stated in the documents
- Internal audit
During the document drafting and implementation processes, you may either do these internally or seek the assistance of a consultant to help ensure you meet the necessary requirements.
Next, your company should be ready for an internal audit. It will validate and assess your company’s processes and claims.
Once the internal audit results show you have met the standards set by ISO, you can register for the certification. Your certification body will then issue the ISO certificate for that particular standard.
Displaying your ISO certification
When you get your ISO certification, you can label your product, system, or your organization as certified to an ISO standard. But how do you display your ISO certification? Here are a few guidelines:
- Don’t just say you are certified or that you have ISO certification. As mentioned earlier, ISO has published over 22,000 standards, and your certification only pertains to a specific standard.
- Specify which standard you got certified for in all your communications. The standard number and the year for that standard usually comprise the ISO label. For example, if you are certified for ISO 9001:2015, you should write “ISO 9001:2015 certified” or “ISO 9001:2015 certification.”
- Do not use the ISO logo without permission from ISO or the certification body that conducted your audit. The logo is a registered trademark and requires proper authorization for you to place on any of your materials.
Finally, most business owners think that getting an ISO certification is a tedious and overwhelming process. The application process may indeed involve a lot of time, effort, and money. However, completing the steps will help build credibility and improve your business output.
In the Philippines alone, there are reliable certification services like Certification International Philippines that can help you with the application to get an ISO Certificate.
It is a major certification body in the Philippines, with an excellent portfolio of clients who are leaders in their respective business sectors.