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The road to certification

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Certification by DNV GL
Certification, or registration, to a standard is the outcome of a successful assessment by an independent third party such as DNV GL - Business Assurance.

Whether it is certification of a management system, a product or a project, it provides evidence to customers of your compliance according to national or international standards. But where should you start my road to certification and a more sustainable business performance?

The certification process will vary slightly for different services, such as certification of management systems or products. To walk you through the road to certification, we have chosen certification of a management system as an example. Please visit our pages for product certification  if you are looking for information on these particular services.


How do I prepare for accredited certification?

After having decided on the management system you wish to implement, there are certain steps to get you started. Some simple tips have proven invaluable to companies seeking certification. As you set out, keep these in mind:

  • Make sure you begin the process with the right attitude.
  • Have a complete understanding of the concept set forth in the standard, and use the standard as a guide template to define your management system.
  • Know what application and implications of the standard will mean to your company.
  • Use the standard as a tool for improvement.
  • Have an understanding of the risks and processes that affect your organisation’s ability to realise its business strategy.
  • Select your partner (certification body/registrar) carefully.

What steps should I follow?

Below you will find 10 general steps that will take you down the road to certification:
  • Obtain the standard 
    Obtain and read a copy of the standard to familiarize yourself with the requirements, and decide if certification/registration to this standard makes good sense for your organization.
  • Review literature and software 
    There is a large amount of published information available that is designed to assist you in understanding and implementing a standard. Note also that for some standards there are guidelines developed for how to implement the requirements within an organization (e.g. ISO/TS 9002 for ISO 9001 and ISO 14004 for ISO 14001). Use some time to investigate what is available and identify which could be of support for your implementation process.
  • Assemble a team and define your strategy 
    The adoption of a management system needs to be the strategic decision of the whole organisation. It is vital that your senior management is involved in the decision and creation process. They decide the business strategy that an efficient management system should support. In addition, you need a dedicated team to develop and implement your management system.
  • Determine training needs 
    Your team members responsible for implementing and maintaining the management system(s) will need to know the full details of the applicable standard(s). There is a wide range of courses, workshops, and seminars available designed to meet these needs. We provide a number of public training courses around the world. Contact your local DNV GL - Business Assurance office for more information.
  • Review consultant options 
    Independent consultants will be able to advise you of a workable, realistic, and cost-effective strategy plan for implementation.
  • Develop your management system documentation
    Decide an appropriate platform for you management system documentation (e.g. specific software, process-map based, sharepoint-based). The right platform is important to ensure effective management, communication and implementation of your management system. Your management system should describe the policies and operations of your company. The documentation includes relevant processes and other documented information needed to support you in meeting your intended outcomes and the requirements of the applicable standard.  
  • Determine, manage and document your processes 
    An important step in establishing your management system is to determine the needed processes and their interactions in accordance with your policies, strategy and objectives. These processes should cover areas such as:
    • Product and service realization (operational processes)
    • Meeting relevant needs and expectations of customers and other stakeholders
    • Management processes, including measurement, analysis, improvement and innovation
  • Implement your management system 
    Communication and training are key to a successful implementation. During the implementation phase, your organisation will be working according to the established processes and connected criteria to document and demonstrate the effectiveness of the management system.
  • Consider a pre-assessment 
    You can choose to have a preliminary evaluation of the implementation of your management system by a certification body/registrar. The purpose is to identify areas of non-conformance or weaknesses and allow you to correct these areas before you begin the accredited certification process. Receiving a non-conformance means that a particular area of your management systems is not compliant with the requirements of the standard.
  • Select a certification body/registrar 
    Your business relationship with the certification body/registrar will exist for many years, as your certification has to be maintained. To have an efficient management system, continual improvement is key. DNV GL - Business Assurance will help you get maximum value out of the certification process, evaluating strengths and improvement opportunities. 
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