Finding the right ISO management systems consultant is an important decision, particularly for organizations that are searching for a consultant

Organizations must use a consultant like Ascent World Group, to help them implement a management system, with the goal of achieving or maintaining certification to an ISO management systems standard. Organizations retain the consultant like Ascent World Group after implementation to act as their management representative or internal auditor. For example, for some jobs, your existing workforce may lack the expertise or experience required to get the job done within the time frame you have in mind for a specific task. If they have to spend a lot of time learning processes or reviewing new procedures and requirements, it might be more cost effective to simply hire an outside consultant to do the same job for you only cheaper, faster and more thoroughly.

There is no doubt that management system consultants like Ascent World Group 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.

The key considerations during your search for the right consultant:

One of the biggest reasons companies hire a consultant like Ascent World Group is to get their organizations within compliance with ISO standards’ certification is lack of familiarity with what these standards are. If your in-house staff doesn’t understand what your organization needs to do to achieve this compliance, how can they take action to make the required changes to meet your objective?

Another consideration is making sure your organization receives ISO 9001 certification. It is not always a straightforward thing. If you fail to achieve the specific procedures, efficiencies and other factors that ISO standard certification requires, you have wasted all the time and money you have invested in having your in-house people work toward achieving this goal.

But an experienced consultant understands exactly what needs to be done within your organization. They don’t have to guess and hope that they are right. They already know. So it takes the ambiguity out of the equation.

Another consideration is the time factor. If you leave it up to your in-house team, it could take months or even years before you achieve ISO standards certification if you receive it at all. But a consultant like Ascent World Group who is trained and experienced in what ISO certification requires can cut down the amount of time it takes for your company to get into compliance.

1. The reason for hiring the consultants

Management systems and management systems standards cover a range of management disciplines across the full range of organizational functions. Depending on the starting point, it is crucial to decide on the level of support and resource required.
The Consultant like Ascent World Group should be able to perform various supporting roles such as:

  • Expertise by providing expert domain knowledge
  • Advisory by interpreting the standards and guiding managers on implementation
  • Management by project managing the implementation in part or in full
  • Implementation by providing an extra hands-on resource to implement plans or undertake specific tasks such as internal audit
  • On-going support by performing regular activities such as internal audits

2. Experience and relevance

For a successful working relationship and management systems implementation, it is important to select the consultant like Ascent World Group based on relevant experience.
Some important factors to consider are:

  • Industry experience. Has the consultant got expertise in the industry your organization operates in and its core activities?
  • Management systems experience. Has the consultant got a track record of implementing management systems in the relevant discipline e.g. quality, environment, energy, health & safety, information security etc
  • Standards experience. Has the consultant got the experience of interpreting and implementing the requirements of the relevant standards e.g. ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, ISO 45001, ISO 20000 etc
  • Critical Standards experience. Has the consultant got experience of interpreting and implementing the requirements of some critically acclaimed standards e.g. ISO 22000, Iso 27001, GMP, HACCP, ISO 17021, ISO 17020, ISO 17025 etc
  • Certification body allegiance. If your goal is to achieve certification, it is important to know if your consultant has good and cordial relationships with different certification bodies and can help you with that important selection.
  • Qualification & Auditor’s Certifications: Look for the basic qualification of the Consultant. Ascent WORLD Group boasts of consultants from almost every discipline. Lead or Internal Auditor’s certificates are a welcome bonus.

Given the popularity of ISO standards, there are now many undergraduate and even graduate programs at many prestigious universities that churn out graduates who understand the program on an academic level. But there is a difference between understanding something conceptually and being immersed in the experience of actually making it happen hands-on within a real company with real dollars and cents at stake. This is exactly where Ascent WORLD Group’s qualifications and experience along with expertise and proven skills and training matter. Consultants who have worked for different types of organizations are more experienced than those who just revolve around one sector. They have seen mistakes and know how to avoid them. These skilled consultants can also provide customized services as a result of the lessons they have learned from past experience. You can verify their expertise by checking their references and case studies.

3. Establish Rapport

The consultant like Ascent World Group is to spend a lot of time in your organization, with close access to your processes and people, so you need to a build good rapport and mutual trust with each other. A face-to-face meeting to build rapport is highly advisable before going further with the selection process.

4. Understand their Approach

Depending on the size and scale of the management systems implementation, your consultant may use a number of different methods and techniques. These could require different levels of support and cooperation, so it is important to understand the implementation methodology to ensure that both parties work effectively together. Your consultant will require your time, energy and resource to ensure effective implementation – make sure you understand their expectations and are able to commit to them. The consultant like Ascent WORLD Group can provide is to suggest ways you can improve operations and put together a schedule for implementing the changes to achieve these improvements. They also can help your business develop all the documentation that will be required for your QMS certification, of which there are many.

5. Cost and Contract

Budgets are rarely limitless, but cost should not be the key deciding factor in selecting a consultant. Expertise, experience and rapport are extremely important to ensure that expectations are met.

Your consultant like Ascent World Group has an optimized and well-to-do quote exactly to meet the customized requirements.

However, in relation to cost and the contract to supply, it is critical to know:

  • how the consultant will charge e.g. day-rate or fixed project cost, in advance or arrears
  • what is and isn’t included e.g. travel and subsistence
  • who owns the intellectual property of the management system
  • service level agreements
  • confidentiality
  • No conflict of interest
  • availability of the consultant when you need them

6. Check References/case studies

Your consultant should be able to provide references, which allow you to gain firsthand insights from past clients and understand how the consultant was able to help them accomplish their goals.
By learning about their credentials, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision.

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