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ISO Transition FAQ
Preparing for the Change – Transition to ISO 9001:2015 (Also applies to ISO 14001:2015)  

As everyone in the quality game is aware, the world now has a new version of ISO 9001. ISO standards touch almost everything we do and they help to make the world a safer and more efficient place. This drives the need to evaluate the effectiveness of the standard and make changes to drive continual improvement within the roughly 2,000,000 ISO 9001 and roughly 800,000 ISO 14001 certified companies worldwide. Now, AS9100, AS9110, and AS9120 have added approximately 300,000 more! 

STOP and reread that last sentence above. 

Consider the impact and that there are an extremely limited number of Accredited consultants available to perform these transitioning tasks for those same 3.1 million companies. (The entire team of Assessors at SpecAudit has completed the Exemplar Global transition training and are Accredited to the newest standards; we are a very small minority.) Now imagine that all of these companies feel like they can wait till 2018 to transition. All 3.1 million companies have to transition no later than September 14, 2018. That is a minimum of 11.2 million working days for the Accredited Assessors and auditors over the next 9 months. In the United Stated there are roughly only 3,000 Accredited Assessors whom can perform these transitions.

We in the industry expect nearly 1 million companies will procrastinate and thereby loose their certification.

The task of understanding the revised standard’s effect on your organization can be overwhelming. We at SpecAudit want to ease our clients and potential clients into this new standard and have composed this simplified FAQ to address some of the most pressing questions and address what steps can be taken now to prepare for the coming change.  

ISO 9001:2015 FAQ:  

1) Why is the ISO 9001 standard changing again?

There are a number of objectives associated with this revision, but there are three that are considered most critical.  
a.The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) wants to see the ISO 9001 and all of its other standards continue to grow in terms of numbers of registrations. There is a lingering perception that ISO 9001 is somehow overbearing or obtrusive to service organizations.  
b.There has been a targeted effort to simplify language used to aid in understanding and promote consistency between accreditation bodies, certification bodies, auditors, and clients. 
c.There has been a long standing desire to simplify and streamline the process for companies that wish to achieve multiple certifications (such as ISO 9001, ISO/IEC 20000-1, and ISO/IEC 27001.) For example, many of these companies currently feel compelled to maintain multiple sets of quality and procedures manuals. This new re-write is attempting to address these and other concerns.  

2) What is the expected timeline?  

The new ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards were published on September 15, 2015. This means that both standards, plus the AS9100 series, will become obsolete on September 14, 2018. As a result, nearly 3.1 million certified companies will have their existing certifications expire on September 14, 2018. However, it has been emphasized that companies will be allowed to transition at their own pace, and that certification bodies will have to establish their own individual cut-off dates for the audits. 

PLEASE DO NOT PROCRASTINATE. See also the response to the next question.  

3) My audits are normally due in late July, and the transition period ends in September. Why can’t my company have its transition audit in late July 2018? 

While it is true that the transition period does not end until September 14, 2018, it is not just required that your audit is conducted by this date. If any nonconformities are discovered during the audit, they must be addressed with corrective action, and the certification body must review and approve the audit by the transition deadline. A late July 2018 audit does not provide enough time for this to happen. Thus, your organization could transition in July 2017 or chose to have an earlier audit in 2018, perhaps May, to allow adequate time for completion of the post-audit process. All transition audits must be completed within 120 days of the transition end date of September 14, 2018. Thus, all transition audits must be completed by May 14, 2018.

4) My organization is not yet certified. We have been working at implementing ISO 9001:2008 for a while. Can we still seek certification to the 2008 version of the standard and then transition later?  

We appreciate that a lot of work may have gone into preparing for certification to ISO 9001:2008. Keep in mind that ISO 9001:2008 will be obsolete on September 14, 2018. Therefore, the expiration date on any 2008 certificate issued after the publication of ISO 9001:2015 will be September 14, 2018.  

5) What if we had a Recertification audit in 2016, should we just plan on performing that audit to ISO 9001:2015?  

If you have had a chance to examine your quality system against the revised requirements and feel that you are ready, you can certainly request that a transition audit to the new standard be performed. 

6) Is it better to transition earlier? 

YES!!! As described in the question above, it is important to avoid waiting until the last minute. However, there is no difference if you transition in August 2016, April 2017 or April 2018, for example. An ISO 9001:2008 certificate is still valid until the end of the transition period. In no way should an ISO 9001:2015 certificate be perceived as better than an ISO 9001:2008 certificate until the obsolescence date of that standard. Just keep in mind that there are nearly 2.8 million companies that need to transition and there are a very limited number of Accredited Assessors and Auditors.

7) What happens if my organization doesn’t transition on time?  

If your organization does not have a transition audit prior to the end of the transition period/obsolescence date, then you will no longer be certified as of the end of the transition period. In order to become certified, you will need to start over with an initial audit (Stage 1 and Stage 2). This means that there will be a lapse in your certification status.  

Contact our Transition Scheduling Department soon to ensure the timely scheduling of a transition to avoid this unfortunate situation.  

8) What are the critical changes? 

We have prepared a separate report showing a clause by clause analysis on the changes within the ISO 9001 standard, but there are two important standouts.

    a.ISO 9001:2015 has eliminated the terms “Documents,” “Procedures,” and “Records.” All of these terms have been replaced with the ubiquitous “Documented Information.” The rationale of this change is that it opens the door to a greater understanding and acceptance of alternative methods of controlling a quality management system. ISO is not interested in outdated, dogmatic views of how a process can be controlled or shown to be effective. Consequently, these outdated terms have been eliminated.  

    b.The introduction of Risk Management. Risk Management has been talked about a great deal over the past year. There are already two ISO standards (ISO 14971 and ISO 31000) and numerous other published materials on methods that can be used to achieve Risk Management. Our analysis has concluded that at least two existing processes within ISO 9001:2008 can be applied to an effective Risk Management program. These are 7.1 Planning of Product Realization and 8.5.3 Preventive Action. Risk Management is being viewed as a system wide component of the quality management system (in much the same way Continual Improvement was when ISO 9001:2000 was published), but it has been emphasized many times over that a formal Risk Management process will not be expected.  

NOTE: If you are currently certified to ISO/IEC 27001 or CMMI L-3, then you already are performing the requirements of Risk Management.

9) What is Annex SL, and what does it have to do with ISO 9001:2015?  

Annex SL is a portion of the “ISO/IEC Directives Part 1 – Consolidated ISO Supplement – Procedures Specific to ISO” document. This standard regulates and controls the process of developing, updating, and issuing ISO published standard. Annex SL can be thought of as a ten section blueprint to be used for all ISO standards. It promotes (among other things) common terms and core definitions for many of the terms used in the ISO family of standards. It is through the mandatory structure of Annex SL that organizations will be better enabled to achieve multiple certifications such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO/IEC 27001, and OHSAS 18001, because each of these standards will have the same 10 sections and the same core terms and definitions.  

10) We’ve already been certified for a long time and our procedures are well implemented, do we have to change them?  

Our analysis has concluded that for the average ISO 9001:2008 certified company, the impact of the revised standard will be minimal and quite manageable. It is important to bear in mind that the ISO is seeking greater inclusion for the ISO 9001 standard. They want to see it continue to grow into new sectors and be even more user friendly than it is now. Requiring a company to aggressively overhaul their current ISO 9001:2008 system is not consistent with this objective.  

11) What are some examples of things we’re already doing that would be viewed favorably under the Risk Management requirement?  

There are a number of activities that are required under ISO 9001:2008 standard that are likely going to help you demonstrate compliance to Risk Management. These include: 

    a.Clause 5.6 Management Review (an assessment of your overall quality system leading to targeted improvement efforts) 

    b.Clause 7.2.2 Review of Requirements related to the Product (an assessment of customer expectations against your current capabilities with steps taken to resolve discrepancies) 

    c.Clause 8.5.3 Preventive Action (This is essentially Risk identification and mitigation), and 

    d.Clause 6.2.2 Training (an assessment of competency needs with steps taken to ensure that personnel are fully qualified and competent.)  

12) Will our staff have to complete transition training?  

Generally – yes, you will be expected to provide some form of transition training to your staff. At a minimum, we would expect that: 
a.Awareness training of the new standard would be provided, 
b.An assessment of the new standard’s impact on the various processes and personnel.  
However, it is entirely conceivable that the majority of your staff will feel no effect from your company’s transition to ISO 9001:2015.  

13) What about our internal auditors, will they have to complete transitional training?  

Internal auditing is viewed in the same light as any other required competency within a quality management system. Namely, the organization is responsible for determining what competencies are required for its internal auditors, as well as the methods to be used to achieve those competencies. To put it more plainly, each organization will have to decide on its own the extent to which transition training will be needed. It is conceivable that a seasoned team of internal auditors could complete a period of self-study and successfully transition to auditing ISO 9001:2015. As has always been the case, the competency of your internal auditors will be judged by the overall effectiveness of your internal audit process.  

14) Will the other standards (AS9100, TS16949, etc.) be updated also?  

All of the major sector specific standards, including TS 16949 and TL9000 have indicated their intentions to transition and continue their alignment with ISO 9001. The timelines for these other standard updates are not fully known at this time, but a 2016 publication date seems likely for all three. At present the only major standard that is not planning to continue its alignment to ISO 9001 is ISO 13485, which was published March 2016.  

15) What steps can we take right now?  

The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) has published an Informative Document (ID 9) which recommends the following steps be taken in the transition to ISO 9001:2015 and prior to the certification audit.

Note: SpecAudit performs items a., b., c., & d. below with its transition services. 

To have item e. (Internal Audits) performed, please contact amanda@specaudit.com as she is currently performing these for many clients in the Washington DC Metro region.

    a.A full review of the ISO 9001:2015 standard should be performed to identify the gaps that need to be addressed. 

    b.A plan of implementation should be developed.  

    c.All quality management system documents (quality and procedures manuals) need updated to reflect new or revised processes.  

    d.All awareness and transition training should be completed. 

    e.A full system internal audit followed by a Management Review should be completed.  

    f.Corrective Actions for all internal audit findings should be in process or complete.  

Coordinate with SpecAudit for planning of transition arrangements.  

16) Our organization is considering transferring our accredited ISO 9001:2008 certification to another registrar. How does the transition timeline impact our plans to transfer?  

The requirements will be the same whether you are a currently certified client or a transfer candidate. Our primary registrar, QAS, will transfer an ISO 9001:2008 certificate until May 14, 2018. Subsequent to this date, It is highly recommended that companies perform all transitioning in 2016 through early 2017.

Should you have further questions or require assistance please contact us at steve@specaudit.com 

Our transitioning prices do not include the certification audit. 
Pricing is flat-fee and NOT based on the size of the organization.
ISO 9001 = $2,950 
ISO 14001 = $3,950
ISO 13485 = $3,950