Sept 2002

Amik Technology - Providing solid advice on ISO 9000 and your business

ISO 9000 AuditAbout GAP Assessments!

Thinking about getting registered to ISO-9000, the international standard for quality management systems? Are your customers asking you about this, or maybe youíve heard that this is a good way to get your manufacturing operation shaped up? Bet youíve also heard horror stories about high up-front costs, and horribly complicated mazes of records being required.

If you go about it the right way, we can promise you that the horror stories wonít come to pass, and the benefits can be great. Are you reluctant to make a decision to plunge ahead until you have a firm idea of exactly whatís involved and what it will cost?

This is where an ISO Gap Assessment can be very useful and quite economical. An ISO-certified auditor will spend a short time (typically two days) looking at your existing processes. In most situations, the auditor will find that your organization already meets many of the requirements of the standard. Based on this examination, he or she will prepare the gap assessment, which provides a clear picture of what changes in procedures, practices and documents might be needed to be in conformance with the standard. The gap assessment will also provide a good estimate of the cost, timing and potential benefits of pursuing registration.

After the Gap Assessment:

Once the gap has been identified, you can decide whether you want to go ahead and pursue ISO 9000 registration. Should you opt to proceed, you will have a clear roadmap to follow and can work to deliberately close the gap. Many companies can do this with their existing internal personnel. Others may use a consultant.

When the organization believes it is ready for registration, it will contract with a "registrar," who is authorized to audit an organizationís quality system and grant registration. Some organizations may ask the registrar to first do a "pre-assessment" audit, but this is not required. Costs of obtaining registration vary, but can be estimated following the gap assessment.

Once it has granted registration, the registrar will do a "surveillance audit", normally on a semi-annual or annual basis. A complete re-assessment must be done every three years.


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