Use of a Consultant
A good consultant will provide your organization with the necessary knowledge and skills that you will need to effectively implement a conformant management system at a fraction of the cost that you would probably incur if you elect to do it on your own.
The consultant could be used for some or all of the following activities:
- Gap analysis and assessment
- Documentation and implementation
- Internal auditing
- Selection of a registrar
The selection of a consultant is an important step and should be carried out by rigorous scrutiny of the qualifications, credentials, experience and references, at a minimum. Other considerations, such as the knowledge of your business and compatibility with your project team, are also necessary. It is also important to have a clear understanding of the following:
- The scope of the consultancy, including deliverables
- The roles and responsibilities of the consultant
- Timelines and milestones
- Fees and resources
- Other specific and additional expectations that you may have
Since consultants are different in many ways, you are advised to be careful and not accept any offers of a ready-made (off the shelf) management system or a stack of templates for manuals and procedures. There are many such manuals around but they do not work and you may be denied certification, as they tend to be easily recognized by certification auditors who are likely to see them as a red flag indicating that your organization is only paying lip service to requirements.
When you implement a management system, you are doing more than acquiring a certificate to hang on the wall. You are codifying how you do your business. Your organization brings something special to the table in your industry. Your management system should reflect that. It should be tailored to your organization. It should fit smoothly into your organization's practices, neither too large and unwieldy, nor too small and ineffective. A consultant who can help you achieve that should be someone who will work closely with your organization, understanding what makes your organization distinctive and effective and guiding you towards a management system that reflects that understanding and drives improvement to achieve your organization's strategic goals.