Many executives feel necessity of consultant for developing and implementing ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management System in the organization. A question arises: Whether appointing or engaging a consultant necessary? No, appointing or engaging a consultant is not necessary for implementing any management systems' standard including ISO 9001:2008 QMS Standard, if organization's people are aware of the standard's requirements and they have confidence for implementation. Many organizations in the world have implemented ISO 9001:2008 QMS Standard without engaging or appointing any consultants. As regard appointing/engaging a consultant, the organization should make an assessment and determine whether a consultant is required.
Why organizations appoint or engage consultant? Appointing or engaging a consultant may be worthwhile investment. A good consultant always effect speedy transfer of knowledge and skills to the organization. A consultant is needed to provide guidance to keep the implementation programme on track. A good consultant provides the people power to complete the work when needed, with no further costs or commitment. There are five general reasons to appoint or engage consultants:
- First, the consultants have experience, expertise and time that employees of an organization may not. An organization generally turns to consultant to fill the knowledge and time gaps.
- Second, consultant generally provide flexibility of time. A consultant may work any time - including nights, weekends and holidays and leave when the project is completed.
- Third, Consultant offers the latest knowledge and objective point of view. A good consultant always brings the latest and unbiased ideas from his wide experience.
- Fourth, a consultant is more efficient and focus on assigned project with sincerity.
- Fifth, engaging a consultant may be proof of honest endeavour. An organization may use consultant to show that an effort is being made to correct and fill gaps in compliance with requirements and regulations.
Thus, a consultant may be an important and relevant resource to assist and guide an organization in developing, implementing and maintaining ISO 9001:2008 QMS.
However, it is essential before engaging/appointing a consultant, to check his working experience and knowledge on standards. Costs are important consideration in deciding to engage/appoint a consultant, therefore, the organization should obtain information about the consultant's cost from several consultants. However, it should be clear while deciding engaging/appointing a consultant that the cheapest consultant may always not be the best. Organization should make an emphasis on the consultant's qualification, knowledge and experience.
Role of the consultant: It is necessary to establish the role of the consultant in the organization. Decide: (i) What the consultant is expected to do? and (ii) What the organization people are expected to do or provide? Hiring/engaging/appointing a consultant should not be regarded as an exercise in shifting the responsibility for establishing the quality management system to someone else.
With best wishes,
Keshav Ram Singhal
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