What does a certification involve?
Certification means passing an audit.
Certification involves passing an audit. For a company to be certified, it has to have undergone an audit, known as a certification audit, and passed. A certificate provides proof that the company’s management system is compliant with the requirements in the standard selected. The words “Company AB’s management system is compliant with the requirements of SS-EN ISO 9001” will then appear on the certificate, your “diploma”.
Companies which carry out audits are known as certification bodies. There are more than ten certification bodies in Sweden. The company selects a certification body and concludes a contract with it. The certification body must be regarded in the same way as any other supplier of services.
After the certification audit, follow-up audits will take place each year in order to ensure that the level is being maintained and that the company is making constant improvements.
How certification works
The certification audit is divided up into two stages. Stage 1 involves the auditor who prepares the audit by studying the company’s management system, either by logging in if the system is digital, or by reviewing emailed documents. After the preparation, the auditor will carry out a stage 1 audit at the company’s site. The auditor will then check to ensure that all elements of the standard are in place. This is a general review together with the management and officer. The audit includes a presentation of the company, and generally a tour as well if appropriate. Stage 1 concludes with a statement as to whether the company is ready for stage 2, and any non-conformances are noted. Non-conformances relate to requirements in the standard which are not met. The company has to rectify these non-conformances and a new date for stage 2 is planned.
What happens after the certification audit?
Stage 1 and stage 2 are complete. The company receives a report indicating any non-conformances, observations and suggestions for improvement. The company has to respond to the non-conformances. This may involve an online system that they have to log in to or an Excel spreadsheet which has to be completed. The certificate is issued once the non-conformances have been dealt with and approved by the auditor. Often, the company receives this by email, along with an original sent in the post. The certificate is now ready to be framed and put on the wall in the entrance hall!
Systematic work is approved, not a folder full of paper!
The audit aims to ensure that the company’s management system meets the requirements of the standard. So what are these requirements? The primary requirement involves ensuring that the company is working systematically with the field in question, e.g. quality or the work environment. Working systematically involves this work being planned and organised, activities being carried out regularly and the results being evaluated. This means that the company is constantly improving the way in which it works. As regards the work environment, for example, this means that the workplace becomes safer, accidents are prevented and the work environment is improved. So in other words, it is all a matter of achieving results. It has nothing to do with writing down everything we do.