ISO 9001 Quality Management Compliance vs Certification
Quality Management System (ISO 9001)
Certification vs. Compliance
by: Wouter Rodrigues
When implementing a Quality Management System you have two options
available to you: ISO 9001 certification or ISO 9001 compliance.
What option do you choose; a few factors could influence your decision like:
What is your clients requirements do the what you to be certified or do they only require
What is your own company goal regarding a QMS?
What is my budget available for a QMS?
How much time do I have to implement a QMS?
To answer these questions we need to look at what each system entails and what the
major differences are between the two, as well as some advantages and
• Development of an audit ready Quality Management System takes roughly 6-9
months depending on factors like company size, location, complexity and client
commitment to the QMS process etc.
• Development of an ISO 9001 quality management system could range from
R35,000.00 to R100,000.00 depending on before mentioned factor.
• (Consultants usually charge a monthly fee, so above mentioned amount would not have to be paid all
• During this time you need to gather at least 6 months of running stats of your
implemented QMS, which is a minimum requirement from Certification Bodies such
• Your system needs to address all ISO 9001 requirements, so getting an ISO 9001
consultant company to develop your system would be advisable. As they have all
the necessary skills and experience to get you audit ready, just keep in mind that
they would not be allowed to certify you as they developed your system. You would
have to get in the service of a reputable Certification Body to get you certified.
• After the development and implementation is completed you can engage with the
certification body of your choice. Time frames for the certification process vary
between 1-3 months.
• Costs involved with a certified system would have two factors development and
• Certification could range from R45 000 – R120 000 depending on company details and certification
• After successful completion of the certification process that consists out of two
• Stage 1 - Documentation and Stage 2 – Implementation, you would receive your ISO
9001 certificate which is valid for three years only.
• During your three year certification phase they would audit you at least once a year
after the initial certification audit. These audits are called surveillance audits and
are merely there to make sure that your system is continually improved and used to
ensure constant adherence to the standard, as you could lose your certification if
the system is neglected.
• In year 4 you would go for a recertification audit to recertify you for the next three
years, this process would continue for as long as you want to be ISO 9001 certified.
Certification costs named above would not have to be paid at once, but payment
options differ from Certification body used. You would however pay the amount
quoted during the three year period and would be quoted in year 4 for the next
three years. This would be a constant cost for as long as you want to be ISO 9001
This is a QMS system that complies with the ISO 9001 standard, but you do
not go for certification. You would however get the benefit of implementing
the system in your origination as you would run your company in accordance
with the ISO 9001 standard and some of your clients would accept a
complaint system. A complaint system takes roughly a month to develop and
only costs between R7,000.00 - R20,000.00. The compliant system is the
same as the certification system as they are both written based on the ISO
9001 Standard. You get a compliant system that you would have to
implement yourself to make it compliant in your company. So that when
your client wants to audit you to confirm that you have a QMS in place that
you would be able to give the relevant documentation and stats.
The road to certification would then be easier and shorter if you
implemented the complaint system correctly, if you would like to go for
certification at later stage.
Let’s have a look at the main differences between
ISO 9001 Certification and Compliance.
• You get a certificate from a registered certification
• You do not receive a certificate but mostly get a
letter from your consultant who developed your
complaint system, only confirming that you
received a complaint system that the company
would implement themselves.
• Takes between 6 – 9 months to develop. • Takes between 1-2 months to develop.
• Certification cost is between R45 000 – R120 000
for three year certificate.
• No certification cost.
• Development cost is between R5 000 – R20 000
per month for above mentioned time frames.
• Development costs is between R7 000 – R20 000
• Certification Body ensures constant adherence to
Iso 9001 standard, with advice on improvements.
• Company to be self disciplined to ensure continual
adherence to Iso 9001 standard and to ensure
implementation of QMS.
• Monthly visits, consultation and support from
consultants up to the point of certification.
• Three visits only from consultants where you
receive a complaint system and training on how to
implement system yourself to make it complaint in
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