Finding an ISO, Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, Malcolm Baldrige or CMMI quality consultant to help improve an organization’s performance or achieve a quality management system certification is not as easy as you might think. In fact, the process can be quite time-consuming! But before you begin searching for a quality consultant, be sure you recognize the likely resource impact on your company. For example, if your firm wants to become ISO 9001 certified, be prepared to allocate people and time to make this happen. An outside consultant can provide guidance and training, but your employees must do the actual work in creating a quality management system. Expect several months of effort to be ready for an ISO registration audit, and be prepared to support ongoing maintenance activities thereafter. The ultimate payoff for achieving ISO certification is significant, but the cost is much more than just the consultant’s fees. So, if you are ready to perform a search for an experienced quality consultant, you can reduce the effort by being specific in your search engine criteria: • You are going to be charged for consultant travel and lodging expenses. So it is best to pick a reasonably local consultant if practical. For instance, if your organization is located in Los Angeles, you would be bettor off selecting a California consultant over a New York one to contain costs. Try putting your search phrase in quotes (e.g., “Find ISO consultant in California”) to help the search engine zero in on your needs. • Now there are several types of ISO, so help the search engine by including the exact certification you are seeking, such as “Find ISO 9001 consultant in California.” Even then, you may not discover all the available consultants that could satisfy your needs. Not all Websites are equal in the eyes of search engines. They rank each differently depending upon a plethora of criteria which add up to their unique definition of “popularity.” You could have the perfect consultant living ten minutes away and he may not show up in your search results because his Website is new or does not contain enough incoming links to satisfy Google’s ranking formula. That is why Internet users often turn to specific online directories to find consultants that can meet their specific requirements. Unfortunately, the directories for quality consultants are typically incomplete and buried in some other Website. A new online directory which is rapidly gaining a following is www.FindQualityConsultant.com. It organizes U.S. and Canadian quality consultants in an intuitive fashion and makes it easy to drill down by geography to locate specific consultants by expertise and location. In addition to consultants, the site includes related software solutions, such as document management and control for ISO quality management systems. Moreover, the site is maintained by human editors who actually review each consultant’s entry before it is allowed to be published. Once you identify a short list of candidates, however, it is your responsibility to review their Websites, customer lists and references to narrow down the list those you wish to interview. But having a comprehensive directory to begin your search process puts you ahead of the game. About the Author Al Kernek is the CEO of Pacifica Endeavors LLC, a marketing and business consulting firm that focuses on small businesses and entrepreneurs. His company launched www.FindQualityConsultant.com after seeing an Internet void for consolidated, easily accessible information that assists searchers in quickly finding ISO, Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, Malcolm Baldrige or CMMI quality consultants, as well as relevant software packages. Al can be contacted at info@FindQualityConsultant.com or by phone: (866) 284-4955.

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Are you NQA-1 compliant?

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Download this free NQA-1 Checklist today and get started on your gap analysis and follow these simple step to determine your compliance status. Step 1. Download and print the checklist. Step 2. In the objective evidence column (far right) list any procedures, records or other proof that you comply with the section of the standard. […]

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