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As a compliance consultant, I obviously believe that I provide truly unique and special value to my clients and prospects deciding to pursue ISO 9001 certification. But one major advantage that I have, even over a very experienced and knowledgeable Quality Manager that's trying to go it alone from within his/her own company; is the commitment that top management has made to do what their consultant tells them. After all, "they're paying the big bucks", so usually the President or CEO has told everyone, "you WILL attend the training, you WILL meet your project deadlines, and we WILL get certified!" A compliant quality management system (QMS) is not rocket science, however; it is definitely a series of best practices and disciplines that often involves a [corporate] culture change. People that tend to resist change, either by their nature or because of the sheer habit of "we've always done it this way!" require the extra incentive or motivation that a top-down commitment fosters. So, if you're a company leader, don't "mail it in". You may have delegated the Quality Manager to be the Management Representative to develop your QMS, but your overt commitment and high expectations are imperative to your company's successful certification. A Personal Anecdote: After achieving ISO 9001 certification from within a company as Director of Quality and using the help of a consultant, I then left that company and joined the same consultant group and successfully prepared numerous clients to become certified, mostly in the Detroit area. Although the work was very rewarding, the excessive travel forced my decision to accept a full time position as the head of quality in a unionized manufacturing environment. The President himself did not support the effort to become truly compliant, yet he did want the ISO 9001 certificate. The short of it is that we never did get certified in the 18 months I was there. After deciding to leave that organization, I have since been involved again (very successfully) in preparing companies for ISO 9001 and AS 9100 certification, usually in under six months. Claude Cormane - "ISOMan"