Ten Tips for Selecting and Using a Consultant – 2. Identify the services you need from a consultant

Now that you understand the basic reasons why your organization may want to use a consultant, you must determine the needed range of services. Competent consultants should be able to plan the activities, document your processes, suggest good practices, teach onsite classes, conduct internal audits, and recommend system improvements.

A typical sequence of services is for the consultant to teach a class on quality concepts and ISO 9001:2000 requirements, followed by a gap analysis to determine the compliance level of your current system. Using the assessment results, the consultant works with your staff to prepare a project plan.

Project plans usually cover activities such as policy making, objective setting, task scheduling, cost estimating, plan approval, awareness training, process definition, document creation, progress reporting, registrar selection, system operation, record keeping, internal auditing, management reviews, and the registration audit.

Your request for a proposal of services and fees from the consultant will rely upon the scope of work defined at this step. The organization must agree on the desired start date and end date for the consulting activities, as well as, the budget.