When choosing a registrar, there should be clear expectations with an organization’s selection on the ‘right’ partner. It’s important to understand realistic expectations and questions to ask before forming a partnership. With clear communication as well as realistic expectations, you and your registrar will form a partnership that ensures your company’s objectives are standard-ready and your organization is capable of meeting the rigors of certification.
- Timeliness- Certification is a highly communicative process with strict deadlines, making timely communication invaluable. This applies for response time from the back office to questions and concerns as well as completing the audits and certification. Important factors include how much lead time the registrar will need to be able to schedule the audit, the response time of the back-office support team, and timeliness in notification of any nonconformances that need appropriate corrective action.
- Supportive Technical Support- The process of becoming certified, regardless of the standard, can be highly technical. This makes the role of a technical support team crucial. The role of your registrar provider’s technical support team should be to answer any questions your company may have regarding standards, rules, requirements, etc. of certification. If your company does not feel as though it’s getting any information regarding these guidelines, it may be time to look for a new registrar provider.
- Consistent Auditor Interpretations- Factors in consistent auditor interpretation can be dependent on experience level of auditors in the field, what standards they have audited, and if the registrar has adequate auditors to service the business transition. To supplement consistent auditor interpretations, the registrar plays an important role in assuring training, periodic auditor calibrations, etc.
- Transparency with Pricing- It’s important to know there is no baseline pricing for certification. There are many factors that go into pricing, such as employee count, maturity of the management system, and how many outsource processes the company has- to name a few. It’s also important to know whether your company’s rate will go up each year your company stays with your registrar. A registrar should be able to clearly show how each factor will influence the unique price of your certification.
Do Not Expect:
- Easy Audits- Due to the high standards of certification, the auditing process will be both extensive and diligent. Each aspect of the manual will be compared to the standards of the certification you choose, both in writing and in practice. Often times, this creates a long and strenuous process to ensure the highest management system standards are met.
- No Nonconformances- Nonconformances, though often viewed as failure, can benefit a company greatly. Nonconformances give companies the opportunity to see where they can be more effective with an unbiased view. These also ensure company objectives are being met according to the specific management system standards. It’s unrealistic to complete an audit with no nonconformances, but this should not be viewed negatively, as it ultimately brings a company closer to reaching its company objectives.
Helpful Questions to Ask Your Registrar Provider:
- What management system standards do you hold accreditation with and how do you ensure that you remain abreast of the appropriate changes in them?
- What are the backgrounds of local auditors that you have or are available to support my organization? Does this include experience in the field?
- How does your back-office support their clients in terms of turnaround time and availability?
- How accessible are technical experts to support any questions or concerns my company may have?