So, if you need help implementing or updating your Quality Management System (QMS) who are you going to call? Well, before you call anyone, do some research. Even if you receive a referral from a customer, supplier, or registrar, beware of signing a contract, especially with a large consulting firm. Regardless if you find them from a Google search for ‘ISO9001 consultant’, social media site, or get a referral there are things you need to know before you commit.
Know Your Payment Terms
Once you sign a contract you are legally bound. If you don’t receive the services the company promised you or you just do not get along with the consultant you will be STUCK. When you interview your consulting candidates let them know your payment terms – once they have performed the service, they will be paid 15 or 30 days later, do NOT agree to 50% upfront then the balance after the service is complete. Not every consultant is greedy, but there are a lot of them that take retainers and then generously bill for their time.
In that regard, if you are certified to ISO9001, AS9100, ISO13485, or IATF16949 – BEWARE of the consultant that comes in and needs to change everything because it is wrong. If you are already certified then your system only needs to be tweaked. Many consulting firms like to change documents so they can charge you more money. A good independent consultant with years of experience and good references will be clear and concise when it comes to billing their services.
Consultant Referrals and References
One way to hire a consultant is to get a referral. Even if one of your customers refers a consultant to your company you should call and interview the consultant over the phone. After you speak with them and think you feel comfortable with them invite them to come to your facility. Be sure to ask them for references from companies that they have worked with, then call those companies and find out if the consultant helped them.
Getting a referral may not be convenient and not the only way to go. Just do a little homework, and get references, then you won’t be sorry later.