About PCG ISO 9001 - Introduction
One of the obstacles for small businesses is that more and more public sector bodies are insisting that their suppliers have ISO 9001 certification. ISO 9001:2008
is the internationally recognised standard for quality, and is the preferred business management framework for over half a million organisations in 149 countries. What is PCG ISO 9001?
PCG ISO 9001 is the first scheme of its kind to offer the opportunity to attain UKAS-accredited certification to ISO 9001, designed and developed specifically to meet the needs and working practices of the independent contracting and consulting sector.
Not only is PCG ISO 9001 the first cross sector scheme of its kind, but it is being delivered at a fraction of the cost of any credible alternative. It also allows freelance businesses to operate in a more professional manner by highlighting businesses of the highest integrity.
PCG ISO 9001 incorporates:
PCG believes that certification through the scheme will help the brightest and best independent consultants to compete on a level playing field for public sector and corporate projects. It will raise the overall credibility of the freelancer market and address a clear need in the marketplace.
"Our objective was to deliver an accreditation scheme with real value in our members' market place," says PCG Deputy Chairman Julie Stewart.
"Recognising that standardisation was key to being able to deliver this at the right price, we concentrated on the business elements common to all consultancies and delivering them efficiently. We also knew that the scheme would be credible only if it offered the opportunity to attain UKAS-accredited certification."
About PCG ISO 9001 - The Process
To meet the strict requirements of ISO9001 certification, the PCG ISO 9001 quality management system must incorporate some vital elements and checks. Scheme participants must follow a process that involves four key stages.
Acting – Finding out about the scheme and deciding the objectives based on present and future customer and market requirements, risk and performance.
Planning – Setting targets and identifying resources.
Doing - Registering for the scheme, training, familiarising the EQMS, up loading documents and records, using the templates, and making efforts for continual improvement.
Checking – Performing self-assessments of the quality management system performance and customer perception, taking the internal and certification audits, and receiving feedback.
To download a flowchart of the Process to achieve ISO9001:2008 certification through the PCG ISO 9001 scheme click here
Deciding - Before you act consider your reasons for wanting to obtain ISO9001:2008 Accredited Certification through the PCG ISO 9001 Scheme. Typical reasons might be:
You are seeking access to markets where ISO9001 2008 certification is important to clients. This could be large corporate companies, public sector, automotive, or pharmaceutical, although this is by no means an exhaustive list.
You have a specific contract opportunity that requires ISO9001:2008.
You want to establish a quality image and endorse the quality of service provided in a competitive environment where price is not the most important selection criteria.
You want to improve the way the company operates in particular with regards to customer focus and supplier relations, and in this way establish robust and long term customer and supplier relationships.
You want to instil an ethos and drive for continual improvement to ensure the company stays or gets ahead of the competition in your sector.
You see that the company is or has potential for growth and you realise that installing ISO9001 2008 at this stage will be easier than doing it later.
Whatever your reasons they should be based on the needs and expectations of your customers and markets both current and future.
Setting targets and identifying resources:
Having decided the main reasons, you will be able to define objectives and boundaries for the work ahead:
- For what aspects of the business do you need the certification?
- What will be the target date for completion?
- When can we attend the training and start building the quality management system?
Make application to the PCG ISO 9001 Scheme, agree on terms and conditions, pay the fee and book the training course. Training:
There is a basic training workshop that all must attend. In addition there are opportunities for consultancy, and workshops that provide practical support. Some of these will be at additional cost. Adjust Planning:
After attending the training course you will have a much better appreciation of the work ahead of you. Using this knowledge you can adjust your company objectives and timescales for certification. EQMS:
Immediately after the training workshop you will have access to your company’s EQMS site, documents and templates. We suggest that you get familiar with the EQMS as soon as possible after the training course. Building the Quality Management System (QMS):
We have estimated two to three days to initially upload the documents to the EQMS. However, we have found big variables in the time taken to get familiar with the requirements then identify the documentation and records needed, and operate the processes sufficiently to provide evidence of effective implementation. Normally certification bodies need to see about three months of evidence. Therefore unless you have three months of QMS evidence to up load you will be looking at around three months duration. Apply due diligence and continual improvement
: From the moment the QMS has been build, and even before that, you need to ensure that it is maintained on a regular basis by uploading documents and completing the templates and records. Your company will need to be able to demonstrate compliance with the scheme requirements and that includes continually improving the QMS and service performance.
Receive and analyse feedback:
From customers, clients and suppliers, as well as the auditors.
There are templates to help you perform a self-assessment management review and pre-audit assessment. Internal Audit
: When sufficient evidences have been established it is time to apply for the internal audit. You do this by informing the PCG admin and booking an auditor through them. There is nothing further to pay provided you pass the internal audit. The remote audit is carried out during a week that will be given to you. You will receive a report from the auditor directing you to take appropriate action. Apply for the Certification (External) Audit
: Again you must inform the PCG Admin that you are ready for the certification audit. There is an application form to fill out (e.g. the PCG Admin will provide) and a contract to be signed with the certification body. You will be given a selection of dates to choose from. Taking the Certification Audit
: This must be attended by your company representative and they will need your certification body’s contract reference number. Duration is less than a full day.
Getting confirmation: It can take up to six weeks to get the official notification that you have been accepted for certification and to receive the certificate.
About PCG ISO 9001 - Training
The day long training event is one of the very first steps in the PCG ISO 9001 process.
Proving extremely valuable to candidates, the training:
Introduces the PCG ISO 9001 quality management system
Provides guidance for planning and implementation
Presentation of the EQMS functionality; Document and record management.
At the the end of the training day, you will have:
About PCG ISO 9001 - EQMS
The Electronic Quality Management System (EQMS) is fundamental to the whole PCG ISO 9001 process. It is web based and provides an environment and structured processes for:
- Servicing existing clients
- Acquiring new clients
- Continual business development
- Customer relationship management (CRM)
- Storage of and access to all relevant business documents
The EQMS is a secure document repository:
The operation of the EQMS is covered in the training day and access to the system is provided at this time.
About PCG ISO 9001 - Practice
Starting to build your company's quality management system can be a major hurdle for any company. The PCG ISO 9001 scheme attempts to make the process as painless as possible and appropriate to the size of your company. However, nothing will be achieved without commitment, time and effort.
Following the training you receive your company's EQMS URL, your user name and password to allow you access to your site.