However, it’s not the actual standard itself. There’s much, much more to ISO Standards than that.
As a former ISO Assessor myself, I know from personal experience that it’s easy to make some basic, time-sapping, and costly mistakes.
First of all, ISO standards are all covered by copyright law, so free downloads could be pirated copies or (like our document in the link above) an incomplete copy of the standard that you want. Or both. Furthermore, they are often out-of-date copies, so if you do find one, check the version, as its probably no longer valid.
In short, it’s not like downloading a PDF instruction manual for an electronic device, namely, “download, read, apply, and you’re done”. Just imagine that what you download is only half the manual, and it’s for an earlier version of the product. However, this might be fine until you actually try to use the product, or in the case of an ISO standard, face an audit.
As a former auditor, there’s one key “trade secret” I’d want a reader to discover from this article:- it’s very, very easy to spot that a company has tried to “short-cut” to accreditation via the “Free Download ISO Standards PDF” route.
Secondly, this really isn’t do-it-yourself work. You could suggest that I would be expected to say this, as it’s in my interest to create work. Yes, some ISO Consultants seem to enjoy generating paper and big invoices. However, I’m not one of them.
Achievement of certification is not simply a matter of a “Free Download ISO Standards PDF” , a few lever-arch files and lip-service to procedure. And a good auditor will spot this kind of DIY bolt-on fakery straight away. Why waste time?
“Made to Measure” Fits Well
An effective Quality Management System should be designed around the main issues of the business, and should help your bottom line. A bad one simply won’t work, and it won’t get you an ISO Certificate. But it will burn up lots of management time during the process. Finally, if you are going to do it, at least do it well. A “Free Download ISO Standards PDF” standard will probably not be helpful.
In-House or Bought In?
I operate a consultancy based in the industrial East Midlands, close to Derby and Nottingham. Starting life on the factory floor in 1977, I know many industries well, holding senior quality and compliance roles at a number of multinationals. Furthermore, I have been involved with writing systems to assist companies to gain certification for over 25 years. I’m firmly rooted in business reality, not expensive theory.
I’ve even fed comments into the actual committees writing new standards, and spent almost ten years working for a leading certification body as a management systems assessor, responsible for auditing companies against the standard concerned and awarding (or otherwise) their ISO certificates. I was once the man who said “yes” or “no” to certification.
So, I am, quite literally, “Gamekeeper turned Poacher”, and enjoy finding the easiest and quickest ways of getting your company approved. And I have seen a number of failed attempts at certification through the ISO PDF download route.
And I’m able to release the benefits that certification against an ISO standard can bring. Yes, these time-consuming, apparently paper-chasing exercises do actually work, and make companies do better business.
Something In-between – Our Tool Kits
In response to market demand, we’ve introduced ISO Tool Kits, serving those customers who have some in-house expertise, yet need an consultant on hand for challenging, bespoke or ambiguous parts of the process of certification. Quite simply, we start where you are, and provide as much or as little help as you need. There’s much more to read here.
In the last eight years I’ve assisted around 100 companies to gain certification against various ISO Management Systems standards.