ISO 9001 Consulting
How To Select And Use An ISO 9001 Consultant
are the benefits of using an Consultant?
Companies hire consultants for many reasons. An organization may
lack the specific expertise, time, experience, or objectivity to perform the QMS development work without outside
assistance. A quality management system (QMS) consultant will:
· Be able to to bridge the knowledge and resource gap;
· Bring experience and insight to your QMS project,
· Considerably improve your chance for success for certification, by preventing any serious
mistakes in QMS development and implementation.
· Fast-track the development process by effectively planning, getting management and organizational
support and ensuring adequate resources.
· Organize and facilitate project deployment and avoid or resolve difficulties.
· Save time and money by developing an effective QMS, that realizes benefits early and consequently
get quicker payback on your QMS project investment.
Keep in mind that that it is better to have your personnel do the hands-on
development work with the consultants guidance and expertise. This ensures that QMS ownership stays within the
What services would a QMS consultant provide?
A competent consultant should be able to plan and organize the
QMS project activities, help identify and document your applicable processes, recommend process improvements,
suggest benchmark practices, provide customized on-site training to the various functional levels within your
organization, and conduct internal audits. He/she may also help you develop the entire documentation, depending
upon the internal resources you have available to you.
What credentials should a QMS consultant have?
You must be very careful in checking out the
consultant’s credentials. The following list of criteria may be helpful in narrowing the
Education: As you are
implementing a management system, you need a consultant with managerial and management system background. A good
QMS consultant should at least have college level education and preferably a university background. Majoring in
management sciences would be a bonus.
Training and professional
· Does the consultant hold or has held Lead Auditor certification through RAB, IRCA or
similar recognized organization?
·Does he/she have sector specific training and
specialization in automotive, environmental. aerospace, telecommunications, health and safety, etc.,
·Has he/she authored books, written courses,
published articles, spoken at quality conventions and seminars, manage a QMS website or moderate a management
These trade related specialized credentials and activities demonstrate the investment
that a good consultant makes towards honing his/her skills and experience.
Experience: have at least
10 years of Consultancy experience in a variety of industries and more importantly, relevant experience in your
specific industry sector.
traits: you want a consultant with
good interpersonal and communication skills; who is objective, pragmatic, perceptive, tactful and be flexible in
dealing with personnel at all levels of an organization.
consultant should be able to provide the consulting time (days) that you need within the budget and time-frame you
have and be reasonably easy to contact when needed.
Fees: what should a
consultant cost?. Rates vary and low daily rates does not necessarily get you the best results and cost in the long
run. Look at costs from different angles - per day; per deliverable (e.g., training course); flat rate for the
project; payback on the project, etc.
Remember, a good consultant will get things done more efficiently and help you
develop an effective QMS that begins to produce results more quickly, saving you money. So look at consultancy cost
from an overall result-oriented perspective.
4. Where do I find a good
There isn't a single source or
listing of consultants, so try the following:
· Do a localized search on Google or
· Contact a couple of Certification Bodies. They
will generally provide a short list of consultants available in your area, to avoid any conflict of
· Through referral from customers, suppliers or
other organizations or contacts who have used and were happy with the work done by their
· Professional and trade associations; such as the
· Leading management system publishers such as
Quality Digest provides an annual directory of Consultants on their website.
· Quality management
instructors; There are many good instructors that also provide consultancy services. I have obtained many
consultancy engagements from my training classes.
Use the credentials from point 3 above, to evaluate the selected
consultants. Make sure you check references and perhaps arrange for the consultant to visit your organization and
meet with you and key personnel. This would be a good way to size up the consultant against the
5. Can getting RFP’s
(request for Proposals) help in the selection process?
Pick a short list of 2-3 consultants and request proposals from each of them. Their proposal
should cover the service deliverables; number of consultancy days and over what time-frame; consultancy and
training methods; fees and expenses; contact and reporting. This provides a consistent basis for evaluating
Your management team should evaluate the proposals using the defined credentials
criteria from step 3. You want the management team to participate and support the selection decision, so the
consultant can work effectively with your organization.
6. Do we need to have a signed
Clarify and confirm all proposal details.
Negotiate any terms to your satisfaction, including fees and expenses. Consultants are always eager to win new
business. Get the final agreement signed by both parties. This seals the deal; is now legally binding and provides
clarity on the deliverables and contractual terms and should facilitate a smooth on-going relationship between the
consultant and your organization.
7. How should we manage the Consultants
All outsourced work, including
an expert consultant needs to be managed. Ensure that the primary contact and reporting requirements are clear and
understood by both parties. Regular project and milestone/deliverable reviews must be done with the consultant and
ensure any issues or misunderstandings are promptly resolved.
should we evaluate the consultants performance?
When the project is completed, evaluate the consultants performance
by asking the following questions:
· Were the project deliverables acceptable and on
deliverable results in line with the objectives?
· Did the consultant do a good job of planning?
And was the plan followed without significant changes or delays?
· Were communication and reporting requirements
· Did the consultant effectively transfer QMS
ownership to the organzation’s personnel?
· Are benefits of QMS clearly beginning to be
realized from the QMS?
· Were the
consultancy costs within budget?
A consultant can be a significantly
useful resource in setting up or improving your QMS. A good consultant will facilitate a smooth
transfer of QMS ownership to your organization, fostering employee involvement and empowerment in effectively
maintaining the QMS long after the consultant has gone.
We hope you found this article useful and wish you much success in using it to help
you on your journey towards implementing and applying your QMS to realize your business goals and
Need Consultancy or Training
Ask Art Solutions has significant expertise in all of the implementation steps and can help you fast track
your way to an effective QMS.
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