We discussed recently the ins and outs of environmental audits, from compliance audits to ISO audits. For this next part of our environmental audit series, we will dive in the importance of becoming ISO-certified and how it can benefit your business and facility’s performance.
ISO Audits are different from compliance audits. In ISO Audits, the facility or organization is evaluated to determine conformance with the ISO Standard. Basically, are you doing what you planned that you would do? Once you are ready, reach out to a certification body to perform your certification audit.
ISO audits are conducted most often at industrial and manufacturing facilities. International businesses that are adhering to ISO standards are quickly finding valuable benefits from having an ISO certification. Specifically, ISO certification will help your organization:
- Build customer confidence.
- Meet regulatory requirements.
- Reduce costs.
- Gain market access across the world.
What does it take to be ISO-certified and what does that have to do with auditing?
To become ISO-certified, an organization must first develop a system to implement one or more of the ISO Standards. For example, if your organization is considering ISO 14001 Certification with the Environmental Management System, your facility would first need to develop the policies, procedures, forms, records and most importantly the commitment to the EMS. Once you’re over this hurdle, the organization should perform a series of internal audits to prepare for certification.
Internal audits can be performed by staff inside your facility and by third parties. Third-party audits can help you catch issues that might be overlooked by an internal auditor who may not see a gap because it has always been there.
Once you become certified, your ISO Certification is good for three years. But that doesn’t mean you should sit back and wait. You should continue to perform internal and third-party audits during this time to ensure continual improvement, one of the central pillars of the ISO methodology. And while ISO certification is voluntary in some industries such as automotive, certification is essential if you want to remain competitive.
Our president Maggie Strom and the Tioga team regularly conduct compliance audits, both focused and broad, to help clients fulfill corporate requirements. And remember, Tioga has helped set up ISO Environmental Management Systems and Health and Safety Management Systems. We have performed third-party audits for facilities, and Maggie has completed ISO Lead Auditor Training.