Simple Transition Path

The International Accreditation Federation (IAF) has identified 5 broad steps to get you from ‘here’ to ISO 9001:2015, (or any other Standard for that matter!) in their paper ‘Transition Planning Guidance for ISO 9001:2015’. This is a review of section 3.1 for you – a link to the complete paper is at the end of this post. The IAF publication includes guidance for your Registrar, too, so you might get a sense of how they’ll be planning – no secrets, no surprises.

Needless to say, we can keep ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’ in mind as we travel through this journey.In our training courses we actually create a Transition Timeline in  to give everyone a place to start. We create a full class ‘Plan’, ‘Do’ and ‘Check’. The ‘Act’ is up to the implementers, of course.

Step 1: Mind the Gap

Use the IS version of the new Standard to see how close you are now – a ‘Gap Analysis’. There are a number of requirements that you are already meeting, of course, and some you may even be exceeding. Remember that there are no new (or any) requirements for documented procedures, so what you have may be fine. You’ll have to add some new ‘inputs’ to your Management Review agenda around assessing your risk mitigating activities, for example, but most of your other activities will be OK. If you read through the other posts in this series, you’ll see a number of likely ‘gaps’ we’ve identified that may save you some time.

Step 2: Develop an implementation plan

If there was ever a perfect time to lean on ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’ this is it! Any ‘project management’ methodology will work, too, as long as it’s used properly. Any means to keep you on track and review/broadcast your progress will give you more value for your efforts. A project plan will help you make your case to Management for resources, too.

Step 3: Provide appropriate training and awareness for all parties that have an impact on the effectiveness of the organization

Be sure to tap your favourite training provider (or for ideas on what might be most useful for your folks. Remember to use the immense knowledge and skills inside your own organization to maximize the return on your training investment. Nobody knows more about your organization than your own internal experts. Maybe a ‘train the trainer’ could turn your talented employees into top-notch facilitators.

Step 4: Update the existing quality management system (QMS) to meet the revised requirements and provide verification of effectiveness

This is obvious, but use this as a opportunity to shed some of the baggage that has accumulated over the life of your current system. Find new, fresh ways to document the procedures that you want to keep. Ask your employees how they solve problems or find information in their personal lives. Most of them (99.9%) will tell you that they use the Internet. Make your QMS look like the internet – search functions and all. Make it intuitive, use visuals, videos and diagrams (think IKEA and LEGO). When you make your updated system more useable, more people will use it! Pardon me for stating the obvious, but many organizations have not done much more than turn their binders into electronic bricks hidden away in folder, never to see the light of day.

Step 5: Where applicable, liaise with your Certification Body for transition arrangements

The sooner the better, too. If you wait until the deadline, you may end up having to transition on your Registrar’s timeline, not your own. If you start now, you’ll be able to maintain better control of your transition and reduce stress all around.

Be sure to ask your Registrar what approach you can expect from your auditor. Have they adopted the IAF ‘Next Generation Auditing’ approach? This method gets the auditor to focus less on ‘following the procedure’ and focus more on the results. Does this procedure actually work, or are we forcing employees to follow a process that does not yield optimal outcomes? It’s an easy trap to fall into. Here’s a link to some IAF auditing papers – Next Gen is first on the list:

Best of luck to all of you on your journey. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line if there are some bumpy parts!

Here’s a link to the complete ‘Transition’ article on the site: