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Stages to Obtain Certification

· 3 min read
Israel Munguia

The decision to certify your company with an international standard is a crucial step to elevate your standards and evolve. While it's not a simple task, the results justify the effort and investment. The stages to obtain certification are as follows:

1. Implement the Standard Requirements in Your Company

This stage is fundamental for project success, as poor implementation can lead to undesirable outcomes, such as not obtaining the certification, a poorly implemented system that doesn't add value to the company, or an unfinished project. To ensure success, you have two options:

  • Specialized Consultation: Seek the services of an experienced consultant with a defined methodology to carry out the implementation correctly.

  • Implementation Courses: Look for courses focused on implementing the specific standard. It's essential that the course includes practical examples, a methodology, and a project plan. This option will require more effort and discipline on your part. If you need recommendations on how to implement projects efficiently, you can refer to this publication.

In this stage, training for all your staff is essential.

2. Pre-Audit

This stage takes place after you have selected the certification body. It is an optional stage and not a requirement for certification. In the pre-audit, the certification body conducts an audit to evaluate compliance with standard requirements (both in documentation and implementation). During this event, non-conformities are not documented, and the result does not affect certification. You can request this pre-audit if you wish to have a clearer idea of the potential outcome in a certification audit, as it can be considered a trial event.

3. Certification

This stage is divided into two events:

a. Stage I (Document Review)

This event is mandatory, where the certification body, through a designated auditor, reviews the documents developed to verify compliance with standard requirements. During this stage, it is unlikely that the auditor will interview company employees, as the audit mainly focuses on the Management System Coordinator. The auditor may identify and note non-conformities, and the company is obligated to resolve them to obtain certification.

b. Stage II (Implementation Review)

This event is also mandatory, and during this audit, the auditor designated by the certification body reviews the areas where activities and different processes are executed. In this stage, the auditor interviews various company employees and seeks evidence to ensure compliance with standard requirements. Similar to the previous stage, the auditor can identify and mark non-conformities, which must be resolved by the company to obtain certification. The company will only receive the certificate when all non-conformities have been resolved.

4. Certificate Issuance

Once the auditor recommends the company to receive the certificate, and the certification body endorses that recommendation, the official certificate is issued in the name of the company, with a validity of three years.

5. Surveillance Audits

To maintain the validity of the certificate, the company must undergo a surveillance audit within one year of certificate issuance and another before two years have passed.

6. Re-Certification

Before the certificate expires, the company must go through a re-certification audit. If the company demonstrates compliance with standard requirements, the certification body will issue a new certificate with a validity of three years. Surveillance and re-certification audits are repeated as long as the company maintains the certificate.