ISO 9001 Cost of Implementation


What are the estimated costs of implementing ISO 9001?

We are a company of five divisions, Contract Manufacturing, Structural Fabrication (AISC & ASME cert), Steel Service Ctr, Rebar (CRSI vert) & Metal Castings. We employ approximately 200 people and operate out of two facilities. Our Metal Casting division is a separate location from our other operations. I am trying to generate an ROI and a time frame of implementation.


The effect of ISO 9000 certification on financial perfomance

Thank you for contacting ASQ’s Ask the Experts program.  This is an excellent question and one that is often asked by companies that are considering ISO 9001:2008 certification.  In order to accurately estimate those costs that will be associated with obtaining ISO 9001 certification, the following approach should be considered:

The first step should include contacting a Registrar to identify the following:

  1. Cost of application fee.
  2. Cost associated with conducting required stage 1 and stage 2 audits for ISO 9001 certification.
  3. Hourly and per day rates charged for offsite and onsite audit activities.
  4. Administrative fees, if any.
  5. Travel time costs (minimum and maximum daily charges).
  6. Other associated costs for airfare, hotel, meals and car rental.
  7. Frequency and cost for surveillance audits to maintain certification.
  8. Cost for quality management system re-certification.

Discuss your company’s plans and timeline with the Registrar to obtain QMS certifications at separate locations.  There may be an opportunity to share or save costs.  As an example, consider establishing a single corporate quality manual and QMS procedures that will be common to both facilities.  Also discuss the availability and location of potential Auditors that the Registrar may assign to your facilities, usually the closer they are, the better.

In addition to determining the Registrar’s costs, it is equally important to determine the Registrar’s certification requirements.  Some require that at least four (4) months of records be available to provide evidence of conformance and implementation of the QMS. Consider contacting a couple of Registrars, and compare their costs and requirements. Another important point is to select a Registrar that is familiar with your industry or business sector.  Be picky and ensure that the Registrar can assign an Auditor that has past experience that relates to your QMS processes or product line.

Step number two is to determine the availability of in-house expertise that will be required to develop and implement a quality management system for certification.  If these activities are going to be outsourced, contact an experienced QMS consultant and request that a quote for a gap analysis be provided.  Do your homework before selecting a QMS Consultant!  Contact a few QMS Consultants, compare their rates and request contact information for past clients, or other references, to verify their experience and reliability. Again, select a Consultant who has past experience with your industry, processes and/or product line.

Confirm that the results of the gap analysis will document all areas that meet certification requirements as well as those that do not, preferably by clause number.  The results of this gap analysis will be used by the Consultant to estimate the number of the man-hours that will be required to develop and assist with the implementation of the QMS for certification.

The bottom line is that the cost to obtain ISO 9001 QMS certification cannot be effectively estimated without knowing these four (4) items:

  1. The Registrar’s cost for ISO 9001 registration.
  2. The company’s current level of conformance with ISO 9001 requirements.
  3. The amount of resources that the company will dedicate to this project for development and implementation.
  4. The amount of support that will be required from a Consultant and the associated costs.

The following link to a flow chart provides a general overview of the ISO 9001:2008 QMS certification process.


I hope this helps.

Best regards,

Bill Aston, Managing Director
Aston Technical Consulting Services,
Kingwood, TX

For more on this topic, please visit ASQ’s website.

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