Is your Certification provider adding value to your business?

When assessing the value of your certification provider, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:

1.   Are you paying too much?

Inexpensive doesn’t always mean poor quality. With smaller certification agencies, you can save up to 30% while still getting a thorough effective review of your systems and compliance. There’s no reason to pay more if it doesn’t get you more.

How can you tell if your company is more expensive than the alternatives out there? Compare rates for:

Charges per man-day. If your certification agency charges a high rate per man-day or man-hour, you could be paying too much. However, it’s also important to consider the next item:

A number of man-days spent on each audit. The more efficient the audit, the less you will pay. As long as their quality checks out, an efficient audit is a cheaper one – and less stressful for you and your staff.

Fixed annual certification cost. Some certification agencies charge a fixed annual fee for certain aspects of the service they provide. For example, administrative tasks may be charged per task or lumped together into a larger fixed fee, rather than charged per man-hour. This fee can vary widely, so be sure to compare it with those of other companies.

Travel costs. Choosing an agency that has auditors close to you can save you a lot! When auditors have to travel from other states to reach you, you’re paying for an unnecessary travel expense. Choose an agency based near you to save money and greenhouse gases.

2.  Is your auditor adding value?

Even if your auditor is a seasoned expert, he might not be right for your company. There are some important things to think about when considering your auditor’s suitability.

Understanding of your processes and industries. Certification agencies choose auditors with experience in each applicable certification standard, but not all auditors’ experience will be equally relevant to your company. If your auditors don’t have much experience in your industry, you could end up frustrated by delays and misunderstandings.

It’s also a good idea to choose auditors who have hands on experience working as HSEQ Manager (depending upon your requirements) with companies similarly sized to your own. Check the resumes of the auditors assigned to your business and see how well their experience matches up.

Usefulness of audit findings. A good auditor will not just identify cases of non-compliance. He/She will also point out smaller issues before they turn into big problems. This is worth a lot, as it can save untold amounts of money, stress, and frustration.

On the other hand, a good auditor doesn’t waste time reporting things that aren’t problems at all. If you find that your reports are full of irrelevant information that you can’t act on, it could be time to find a new certification body.

Successful identification of non-compliance. It’s important to be aware of your company’s operations and to do your own internal auditing. Compare your findings to those of your certification agency. If things are slipping past them, it’s definitely time for a change.

3. Are your staff too comfortable with your certification agency and auditor.  Would a fresh set of eyes be beneficial?

Even as a Managing Director/ Owner of the company, if you know there are underlying HSEQ issues in the system and If your team seems a bit too relaxed when it’s time to prepare for an audit, it could be a sign that the auditors are lax in their findings. Maybe your team and systems are perfect…or maybe the auditor is failing to find and report the problems. If that’s the case, your company may not be up to standards. It’s time to switch things up and see if a different agency can identify any problems that the other one missed.

If your certification company sends the same auditor every year, your company is not getting the kind of attention it needs. A new set of eyes can identify issues that your old auditor may have missed.  If you’ve had the same auditor for two or more years, you may ask your certification agency to send a new auditor next time. If they won’t, find an agency that will.

4. Are you receiving updates about compliance and legislative changes in your industry?

Preventing a problem is better than fixing one! Many certification agencies keep their clients up to date with industry news, update in government laws, regulations and tips for making sure your company is compliant with the regulations corresponding to each certification. This information is an invaluable way to improve your company’s operations and prevent non-compliance issues before they occur.

You can get the most out of your audits by reviewing your choice of certification provider on a regular basis.  At iCertify, we can assist, please do not hesitate to contact us for further information:

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