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The certification process

The road to certification

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 a 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.
  • 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 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 a management systems manual 
    Your management systems manual should describe the policies and operations of your company. Through the manual, you will provide an accurate description of the organisation and the best practice adopted to consistently satisfy customer expectations.
  • Develop procedures
    Procedures describe the processes of your organisation, and the best practice to achieve success in these processes. These procedures should answer the following questions about each process: why, who, when, where, what, how
  • 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 procedures that were developed 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 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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