The GMS Process
GMS, its personnel and contractors understand the importance of impartiality and the consideration of any potential conflict of interests in carrying out its management systems certification activities.
Request for Service
The client requests a quote by the web, by phone at 440-460-1760 toll-free at 855-673-1161, or after receiving a call from a GMS representative.
Service Agreement Sent
Within three (3) business days a Service Agreement is sent, this includes a Fee Summary and contractual obligations for GMS and Client. The Certification cycle is three years barring any issues that may arise see included QSP-9.6, WI-9.7.
Service Agreement Signed
Once the client has signed both the Quote and the Application/Contract, GMS will begin the Audit Process.
Stage 1 Readiness Review
Upon receiving the signed agreement, GMS requests a copy of the client’s Quality Manual & procedures to compare documents to the applicable standard and determine that all requirements have been addressed. GMS also sends an audit team to evaluate the client’s location and to determine preparedness for Stage 2.
Stage 2 Certification Audit
A GMS auditor or team of auditors will visit the client’s site(s) and evaluate for implementation and effectiveness of the Quality Management System.
At various times in the Certification process the Lead Auditor or the Certification Committee may request that an additional audit be scheduled, this is usually due to NC or changes in the client’s system.
Corrective Action/Nonconformance (NC) Follow-up
Throughout the auditing process a GMS auditor may observe areas of the QMS that do not comply with the standard or with information set forth in the client’s Quality Manual. GMS will present these areas to the client to be corrected.
Issuance of Certificate
After the Stage 2 Certification Audit has been completed and all nonconformities have been reviewed and approved the lead auditor sends the completed audit package the Certification Director (CD). The CD or designee reviews package to make sure all documents are included and sends to the Certification Committee for evaluation. Once package is approved, a pdf copy of the Certificate is sent for review to the client. Upon client approval and receipt of payment the printed certificate is mailed. Certificate will remain valid for three years barring any issues.
Certified organizations are entitled to publish and display the Certificate of Registration and GMS/accreditation body logo(s) on any promotional materials, correspondence and advertising as long as the organization maintains strict adherence to the fields of application, scope, and location specified on the in the Certificate and in the Service Agreement.
On a 6-month or yearly basis, a GMS auditor will perform a surveillance audit at the client’s site(s) to check if the quality management system is still in compliance.
After three years the client must renew its certificate.
Probation, Withdrawal and Cancellation
The GMS process for Probation, Withdrawal and Cancellation of Registration is described in detail in its procedure QSP-9.6. GMS initiates probations, suspensions and/or recommends withdrawal for organizations failing to meet GMS financial obligations and/or recommendations. Organizations failing to meet certification requirements may go through the following processes:
Probation: A minor and strictly internal warning measure communicated only to organizations and GMS staff.
Suspension: A serious warning measure communicated to organizations, GMS staff and relevant accreditation bodies.
Withdrawal: An action of ceasing registration initiated by GMS or another body other than the organization.
Cancellation: An action of ceasing registration initiated by the organization.
Expanding or Reducing the Scope
Upon client request GMS will consider Expanding or Reducing the Scope. GMS will have a client complete a new RFS to help determine its capability and whether additional audit activities are required. An extension/expansion, if granted, may be conducted in conjunction with the surveillance audit or might require an additional audit. Reductions may also be done at surveillance audits. GMS will not reduce scope due to clients not meeting the requirements, or if a client has persistently or seriously failed to meet the certification requirements for any parts of the scope. In such cases, the certification will not be granted or maintained.
Complaints and Appeals
The GMS process for Complaints and Appeals is described in detail in its Work Instruction WI-8.4.
Complaints must be received in writing no later than 30 days of the occurrence. All complaints are logged, investigated, documented and a response is sent to the client no later than 30 days from the reception of the complaint. The same process applies to Appeals. Different investigators independently review all information prior to reaching a decision.