Why You Should Consider Using a Consultant For Compliance
Updated: Jun 25
In this video, we're going to look at whether we should use a consultant to support the development of our management system.
Towards the end of the video, I'm going to take you through a step-by-step process, how can we identify a good consultant to work with?
How is a consultant beneficial to your business?
A good consultant can help you design a system right from the start that both enables you to meet the requirements of that standard, but is also reasonably streamlined.
Here at IRM Systems, we have been in situations where we've been called in and realise that the organisations have developed the management system themselves. Often in these instances, the system has become really hard to administer because it is too over-developed with too many procedures.
A good consultant can help you overcome this by focusing on exactly what you need to focus on.
How much work will the consultant do?
If you do decide to go forward with a consultant, you do see two approaches...
The consultant does the work for you from their office
You do the bulk of the work but call the consultant in where needed
Option 1: Allowing the consultant to do the work for you from their workplace
What you want to avoid here, is them simply copying and pasting a system they've already got for a previous client.
I've done external audits and been reading through a quality manual or a safety manual and the name of the old client still in there. That's poor-quality consulting, it's not adding value to your organisation.
You want a system that reflects:
What your business does and how you do it
How you manage your risks
How you meet your customer needs
Off-the-shelf systems, or buy-in ones that are reflecting the way that consultant think are not effective. The big issue with these is you spend unneeded time during an audit following processes and demonstrating conformance that isn't related to your business, nor adding value.
Our approach at IRM Systems is that even if you want us to do the whole lot - we come to your workplace. There's got to be that transfer of knowledge between your staff and our staff so that we understand your operational processes and get a really good understanding of your businesses. This will also mean that your team starts to build up their own knowledge around the ISO requirements.
Option 2: Develop the system yourself and only bring in a consultant where needed
Probably the toughest part of the standard where we see customers needing the most help is identifying legal and other requirements. It's a pretty tough and time consuming thing to do if you're not that familiar with laws and standards.
All of the standards also talk about evaluating compliance with those legal and other requirements, which is where a consultant can be quite beneficial.
Another area organisations have been known to ask for assistance is with hazard risk assessment processes. Oftentimes just identifying the appropriate controls can be a challenge to businesses.
A consultant can also help you to design your system. If you've developed the first iteration, it can be worthwhile getting some input from an experienced consultant before you go and develop all the documentation and then try and release it and implement it.
That's a lot of work for you to then find out that something else is needed or that your processes aren't quite covering everything they need to. Consultants can save you from all that implementation effort.
How to identify a good consultant?
Get some reference checks, talk to people you know in your industry or in your network who've been through this process already.
It can be really good to get a consultant who's got demonstrated experience with your industry as well as being able to critically demonstrate their knowledge of the subject matter.
So, if we're getting someone in to help with a food safety system, you need to think about:
Their knowledge around food safety
As a final point, you do need a consultant who is familiar with management system standards, as well as certification. They need to be able to prove their background experience is relevant to you.