Frequently Asked Questions
Answering your questions on the why, what, when, where, and how to become certified is one of our goals. Orion Registrar provides thorough and fair auditing and certification service with excellent service and pricing. We are a management system and product certification registrar/certification body headquartered in the Denver, Colorado area. In order to best meet your company’s needs, Orion also has partners and associates located throughout the United States and the world. We are a small, woman owned business; we have no sidelines and we are not a branch of a huge conglomerate. Orion was founded in 1994 by auditors who realized a need and came together to provide the most professional and fair certification service possible. From our service-oriented attitude to our value-added approach, it is never long before our clients realize we are the best source of thorough and fair auditing. Orion is committed to providing third party certification services and public educational training that meets or exceeds the needs and expectations of our customers.
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Is Orion an accredited Registrar?
Who are Orion’s national accreditation bodies?
Orion is internationally accredited by ANAB for ISO 9001, AS9100, AS9110, AS9120,
e-Stewards®, R2, RIOS, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, TL 9000
Orion Registrar is internationally accredited by ANSI for SRI CoC and BIFMA e3
Orion Registrar is internationally accredited by RvA for ISO 13485
What is Orion’s scope of accreditation?
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and our marketing personnel will provide you an up-to-date list of Orion’s scope of accreditation.
What is the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)?
“ISO” is a word, derived from the Greek isos, meaning “equal”. The name “ISO” is used around the world to denote the International Organization for Standardization. The use of this word, rather than an acronym such as IOS, avoids the plethora of acronyms resulting from the translation of “International Organization for Standardization” into different languages.
The International Organization for Standardization is a worldwide federation of national standards bodies from some 140 countries. According to its website, its mission is to promote the development of standardization and related activities in the world with a view to facilitating the international exchange of goods and services, and to developing cooperation in the spheres of intellectual, scientific, technological and economic activity. The International Organization for Standardization’s work results in international agreements that are published as international standards. For more information, visit the International Organization for Standardization’s website at www.iso.org.
What services does Orion provide?
Orion provides certification for ISO 9001, VCAP, AS 9100, 9110, 9120, ISO 13485, TL 9000, Responsible Recycling (R2), RIOS, e-Stewards, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001, SFI CoC, and BIFMAe3. Coming soon: ISO 50001, SEP, ISO 22301, ISO 20000, and ISO 27001.
Does Orion provide consulting services?
Orion Registrar does not provide consulting services as this would be perceived as a conflict of interest by our accreditation bodies. ANAB has issued Advisories which restricts registrars’ relationships with consulting services. The advisories restrict a registrar from providing certification to any organization which has used the services of a related consulting company within a specified time. It also forbids registrars to allow their related consulting services to provide management system consultancy, including internal audits, to their clients. The advisory does not apply to contracted auditors. Orion Registrar is an independent third-party registrar and is not a parent, subsidiary or related body of any organization. With the exception of public, non-company specific training, Orion Registrar provides only assessment related services. Orion does maintain a list of consultants and training organizations for your convenience.
How much lead time does Orion require to schedule audits?
Orion prefers at least a month’s notice, but the scheduling can sometimes be performed with less lead time. The downside of the short notice is that we may not be able to schedule your preferred auditor and/or your preferred dates.
How soon after our documentation review can the certification audit be scheduled?
You may schedule your audit even before your documentation review.
Where are Orion’s Auditors located?
Orion’s auditors are located throughout the United States and also throughout the world. To inquire about specific locations, please contact us at email@example.com
Please describe Orion’s ability to deal with a geographic scope that might eventually include most of the U.S.?
Since Orion has auditors located throughout the United States and also throughout the world, we will work with your company to meet your needs for geographic scope and to meet your travel expense requirements. Upon your request, Orion can meet with you to identify your needs and to develop the best plan for your auditor assignments.
Please list typical qualifications for Orion’s Auditors, including education, training, work experience, and professional accreditations.
Bachelor degree or higher
Lead Assessor course
Experience and competency in the sectors that the person audits.
When Orion hires Auditors, what qualities do you look for, aside from professional credentials?
People skills, listening, eye contact, good communication
An understanding of the activity that he/she is auditing
Verbal and writing skills as well as critical thinking skills
The ability to perform value added auditing.
What is the qualification process for Orion’s Auditors?
Orion auditors must meet the Standard requirements, as well as IRCA and RABQSA requirements. Auditors must also demonstrate to Orion’s management their sector competency and understanding of Orion’s policies and procedures and their ability to perform their duties.
Does Orion establish levels of Auditor qualification?
What additional training and development does Orion provide Auditors?
Orion’s management provides: On the job evaluations, auditing seminars, quality evaluations of performance, customer feedback.
How does Orion assure consistent interpretation of the standards across your population of Auditors?
Mixing the auditor teams so that the same Auditors do not always audit together, allowing the Auditors to learn from each other
Evaluation of the feedback from the clients
Discussions with the Auditors on specific interpretation issues.
How are Orion’s Auditors assigned for a given audit?
Selection is made based upon the auditor’s geographic regional assignment, his or her EAC/Competency Code experience, audit dates and auditor availability. We also consider specific client requests: auditors in proximity on other audits, familiarity with the client, etc.
Are we provided with the Auditor’s background/bios in advance? Are we able to determine the acceptability of an assigned Auditor?
Yes, if requested you are welcome to review the auditor resumes.
We require the same individual who performs the pre-assessment to be our Lead Auditor for the certification audit. Is this permissible?
What costs, services, etc. will be included in Orion’s quotation?
Orion tries to include every predictable service in our quotations. Cost of audit activities (Pre-Assessment, Stage 1, Stage 2 orcertification audit, Surveillance audit, etc., travel costs are charged at actual cost and except in the case of Medical Device audits, there are no additional fees.
Does Orion have a file maintenance fee?
Does Orion have any administrative or annual fees?
With the exception of our Medical Device programs, Orion does not have any administrative or annual fees.
Does Orion have any “surprises” such as additional fees I should be aware of?
How long will it take to get a written quotation?
A quotation for a single site ISO 9001 certification can usually be obtained within a day. A complex or multi-site certification quotation may require two or three days. For a free quote you can submit your company information by clicking this link and submitting your Company Profile: Request For Quote
Would it cost us less if we certify all of our sites under one certificate?
It is generally less expensive to certify multiple sites together, as this allows your company to take advantage of our site-sampling plan.
If we postpone an audit do we incur costs? If so, what are they?
A cancellation fee of 25% will apply for cancellation within 30 to 15 calendar days of the scheduled activity, or 50% for cancellation within 14 days of the scheduled activity, plus travel cancellation fees. Orion staff and Auditors are reasonable and flexible, and If there is an emergency with your key personnel or if you have been working with the Orion scheduler on the dates indicating that they might move, there is no charge.
Does Orion charge a fee for modifying our scope?
It depends on the extent of the changes included in your company’s scope change. Additions to your number of sites, number of employees or products or processes may require additional audit time, which would be billed accordingly. Less sweeping changes may be accommodated during routine surveillance audits at no additional cost. To discuss the specifics of your change, please contact Orion’s office.
Does Orion have a policy on the exchange of gifts?
Yes, due to conflict of interest Auditors may not accepts gifts. A full disclosure of COI & Gift Policy is available by clicking this link.
We prefer to make the Auditor’s hotel and travel arrangements. Is this acceptable?
Yes. Travel plans are between you and your auditor.
If Orion can coordinate our audit with another one for a nearby company, will you agree to split the travel costs?
Yes. When scheduling audits, Orion considers the use of auditors in proximity on another audit.
How long does Orion’s certification agreement last?
The agreement is on going, and will last as long as you wish to continue your partnership with Orion Registrar. Your company’s certificate is generally good for three years, after which it will be reissued.
Who should be present at our opening and closing meetings during our audits?
The top management of the site and anyone else you may wish to invite.
If we use a consulting firm, are they allowed in the facility during an audit?
Yes, they can be present as long as they do not answer the auditor’s questions or have a direct influence on the audit.
Are our internal Auditors allowed to witness the audit process?
Do Orion’s Auditors use written checklists? If yes, can we have a copy in advance of the audit?
Yes, you may have an advance copy of Orion’s checklist.
How are Orion’s audit reports documented (handwritten or computer)?
Orion’s reports are computer generated for consistency and legibility.
Can an expanded certification scope be included as an extension to a regularly scheduled surveillance audit?
Yes, if you identify the scope extension to Orion’s office in advance. A decision will be made to determine if it will be necessary to add time to the surveillance audit.
Please describe how you accomplish pre-assessment audits. How are they similar to and different from certification audits?
A pre-assessment is optional. First your company must decide how thorough you want the pre-assessment to be, and therefore, how much time you want to schedule for the pre-assessment. Your company may choose to have it cover the entire scope of your certification or you may select specific elements of the standard or areas of your company that you wish to have audited. Pre-assessments are conducted just like certification or surveillance audits, except that Orion’s nonconformance clearance process is not applicable to pre-assessments.
What is the benefit of having a pre-assessment?
A pre-assessment has several advantages. A pre-assessment allows your company to understand exactly what Orion’s Auditors will be looking for during the certification audit, and to eliminate any unpleasant surprises. Although you may choose to limit the scope of the pre-assessment and not cover all areas of the standard or all the applicable departments in your company, the areas that are covered will have a chance to experience a third party audit with the knowledge that the audit is a practice or “dry run” audit. Auditors will ask the same types of questions, review similar records and clarify any of your questions regarding the interpretation of the standard. Without the added pressure that most people feel during a certification audit, your employees will feel more comfortable asking questions, taking time to think through their answers and acknowledging any weak points in your system. In addition to being an educational experience, the pre-assessment is useful for identifying nonconformities so that they can be corrected prior to the certification audit.
Companies who have experienced a pre-assessment with Orion gain confidence because they know what to expect from our auditors and have a better understanding of the extent of the implementation and effectiveness of their own system. This confidence often means a smoother, less stressful certification audit.
Will our pre-assessment findings be used during the registration audit?
Does Orion perform an audit of our Manual?
Orion will perform a review of your manual and the procedures required by the applicable standard. The results of this review by your Lead Auditor will be documented in a report. The report will identify any documentation requirements not properly addressed by the manual or procedures. If any requirement is not properly addressed, a corrective action plan must be submitted to Orion before you can be recommended for certification.
Does Orion require that we submit our level II documents (procedures) prior to the certification audit?
Yes these will be looked at the onsite Stage 1 audit prior to the certification audit (Stage 2).
After certification, must we get Orion’s approval before changing our Manual?
No. However, clients must notify Orion in writing within 30 days of any major changes to their Quality or Environmental Management Systems. Major changes would be any changes to the organization or procedures that affect the implementation of the management system to a substantial degree. A significant new aspect would also be considered a major change to an environmental system.
How many days will our certification audit take?
The length of your certification audit is based on the size and complexity of your company, and the standard to which you wish to be certified. In order to determine the exact number of days for your audit, please request a quotation.
Are special on-site accommodations required by your Auditors?
No. The auditor will only need a private place to work, such as a conference room or office, and access to a telephone, copier, and fax. The lead auditor will probably ask for an uncontrolled copy of your quality manual and applicable procedures for each Auditor.
If we receive a nonconformity during our certification audit, does that automatically take us out of the running for certification?
No. There are two types of nonconformities, major and minor. A major nonconformity is lack of documentation or implementation of a complete element or a series of minor nonconformities that cast doubt that the quality program has been implemented for an element. A minor nonconformity might be a procedure that is not comprehensive enough, a person who did not follow the procedure, or a lack of a required record. A major nonconformity requires a separate re-audit of the applicable element before you can be certified. A minor nonconformity may require that a corrective action plan for the nonconformity be submitted to Orion before you can be certified. The corrective action for a minor nonconformity does not have to be implemented prior to certification.
If certification is not achieved at the certification audit due to a major nonconformity, will a reassessment of all elements be required?
No, the scope of the follow-up audit will be limited to the element where the major nonconformity was identified.
What is Orion’s certification audit pass/fail rate?
Approximately 90% of Orion’s clients achieve certification in conjunction with their registration audit.
Will we be notified of any nonconformities right away, prior to the closing meeting?
What is the time period for corrective action responses to nonconformities?
For certification and reassessment audits, your company is allowed 30 days to respond with a corrective action plan. The time allowed for implementation of the plan is based on common sense. This applies to both major and minor nonconformities.
Please explain briefly the process for handling nonconformities found during a surveillance audit.
The above answer defines major and minor nonconformities. For minor nonconformities, you must submit a corrective action plan. If a major nonconformity is found during a surveillance audit, a separate corrective action assessment will be conducted. A specific assessment plan will be developed for the elements or clauses found to have major nonconformities.
If a nonconformance is found, can we have it cleared before the audit team leaves?
While is it certainly possible to clear a minor nonconformity during the audit, it is unlikely that a major nonconformity could be corrected this quickly.
What is Orion’s step-by-step approach to the certification of a company?
The Company completes a Company Profile
Orion provides a quotation for certification services
The Company and Orion sign the formal Application for Certification Services which is the contract to provide audit services.
Orion may conduct a pre-assessment (optional, based on the Company’s preference)
Orion conducts the document review (onsite Stage 1)
Orion conducts the certification assessment (onsite Stage 2 usually from 3-6 weeks later)
The Company responds to any nonconformities (if applicable)
Orion issues the Certificate (from the Stage 2 to the Certificate is usually 45 days depending on the nonconformities and resolution of such)
For a more detailed description of the steps, please visit Orion’s Steps to Certification page.
How long is Orion’s certificate good for?
In general, certificates are issued for a three year period and remain valid for that time pending a successful completion of an annual Surveillance audit. A Recertification audit is then required before a new certificate is issued.
Can we register a site as soon as they are ready, and then add a second site later?
In many cases, it is possible to extend the scope of your original certification to cover one or more additional sites at a later time. It will depend upon the compatibility of the scope of registration for the sites. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to determine if this would be a viable alternative for your company.
Our sister plant is already certified by someone else, but we want to transfer that certification to Orion. Is this possible?
If you are considering changing registrars for one or more of your sites, you will find that transferring your certification services to Orion Registrar is easy and inexpensive. Orion Registrar fully appreciates the management system your company already has in place; there is no need to “reinvent the wheel.” A few simple steps are all that is required. For more details, please refer to our Transferring Your Registration webpage.
Under what conditions can our certificate be withdrawn, suspended or revoked?
Orion Registrar strives to maintain open communication and a good working relationship with each of our clients. We believe in resolving problems before they can become grounds for either the withdrawal or suspension of a certificate.
A client’s certification can be suspended for up to nine months if any of the following conditions exist:
• Orion identifies a major nonconformity that questions the implementation of the client’s system, but is not serious enough to require withdrawal, and if the client’s corrective action plan results in improper or insufficient corrective action.
• The client is found improperly using their Certificate of Registration, Registration, or Registration Marks (logo, symbol) and their corrective action regarding the improper use of the same is not acceptable to Orion.
• Any other violation of Certification Regulations or procedures.
A client’s certification can be withdrawn if any of the following conditions exist:
• If a client’s registration is suspended and no corrective action is implemented.
• If Orion identifies major nonconformities which may cause improper implementation of the ISO requirements.
• Formal request of the client.
• If the standard’s requirements change and the client will not or cannot ensure conformance to the new requirements.
• If the client ceases to supply the defined product, process or service for an extended period of time.
• If the client fails to meet financial obligations to Orion.
• On any other grounds specifically provided for under the system rules or formally agreed to between Orion and the client.
Once certified, how often are surveillance audits conducted by Orion?
Your company may choose a 6 month or yearly surveillance cycle.
If you did yearly surveillance audits instead of every six months, how much longer and intense would each surveillance audit be?
The yearly surveillance would be twice the audit time of the six-month surveillance. The yearly surveillance will cover more elements than the six-month surveillance. The intensity of the audits is the same.
Please explain briefly the process for handling nonconformities found during a surveillance or reassessment audit.
For minor nonconformities, you must submit a corrective action plan. If a major nonconformity is found during a surveillance or reassessment audit, a separate corrective action assessment will be conducted. A specific assessment plan will be developed for the elements or clauses found to have major nonconformities.
Reassessment and Renewal of Certificates – Do we have to start all over at the end of the certification period?
All elements of the Standard will be included in the reassessment audit. Although this audit will be as thorough as your company’s certification audit, the audit time will be reduced. Reassessment does not mean that you will be starting over with Orion Registrar. Your company will have all the advantages and benefits that maintaining a long-term partnership with Orion can bring. This includes a familiar, knowledgeable auditor who will continue to work with you to add value to your company and the value added services of a registrar you know and trust.
Are new certificates provided at the end of the initial 3-year period?
Transferring An Existing Certification to Orion – How much of the work of the previous registrar can be used as part of the process?
Orion reviews your previous audit reports and nonconformities, and can use this information as part of the basis of your certification transfer. Orion will conduct a Document Review and a transfer audit.
What’s the cost structure for the conversion audit?
Orion’s fees for transferring your certification are extremely competitive; we charge about what you would expect to pay for a routine audit. All of Orion’s services are fixed-price. Your cost is based on the size and complexity of your company and the auditor’s travel expenses are billed at actual cost.
Technical Support – How can we get in touch with Orion’s technical support personnel?
You may call Orion’s office at (800) 446-0674 or (303) 456-6010 or you may email us at email@example.com.
What support can we expect from contacting the Orion’s office?
Our staff is available to answer your questions regarding the certification and audit processes, interpretation of the standards, scheduling, billing, accreditation, and the specifics of your account. In addition, we would be happy to provide you with resource material or to point you to outside resource information and references.
Can we ask you questions about the standard and our nonconformities?
Orion Auditors are happy to answer questions about interpretation of the standard and to explain their audit findings in detail. It is important to Orion that your company understands precisely what is required, and the exact details of any audit nonconformity.
Although Orion is constrained from consulting, and therefore cannot advise you on how to react to a nonconformity, our auditors are often able to offer a range of examples that would meet the requirements of the standard, including examples of compliant (and nonproprietary) systems we have seen. Because only you know what is right for your business, our auditors cannot say what solutions will work best within your company. You must determine your own nonconformity resolution.
How to Publicize Certification – Does Orion provide stickers, banners or other marketing material?
Orion does not provide these services. We recommend that you contact a print or sign shop in your area, such as Signs by Tomorrow, Alpha Graphics, Signal Graphics, or Fast Signs. We can however, provide you with additional 8.5″ X 11″ copies of your certificate, or poster size certificates at an additional cost. Please contact Tina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I have to use the logos provided?
What is the proper way to state my certification on marketing material, banners, etc.?
You are not required to use the accreditation marks, even if you state that your quality management system is certified. If you choose to use the marks, you are required to use the Orion Registrar, Inc. logo, and you are bound to the rules set forth by each accreditation body. Click here for the Publicizing Your Certification informative document. Click here to download Orions’s Use of Logos Rules and Regulations 1/22/16 For Logos and necessary logo files, contact Barb Bernhardt – email@example.com
What is the appeal process if a Lead Auditor’s interpretation of the standard is different from ours?
First, we ask that you discuss the situation with your Lead Auditor. If a resolution cannot be reached, please call Orion’s office and discuss the issue with Orion’s President or other administrative staff. If this does not bring about a satisfactory outcome, you may file a complaint with Orion or, as a last resort, file an external appeal (please see Orion’s Appeals and Complaints page for details and a link to our Complaints and Appeals website.)
How will we be notified of any changes that affect the status of our certification?
By registered mail, email, or via an announcement in Orion’s newsletter or website.
What changes or revisions in the quality system will require re-assessment?
Only very major changes in your system, such as a different scope of registration, will require a re-assessment.
What types of changes would require us to notify Orion?
Your company must inform Orion in writing about any major changes to your management program. That would include changes of ownership, management structure, production or service capability, location, major revisions to your manual or number of personnel, and any new significant environmental aspects (for ISO 14001 only).
Does Orion have a consulting business, as well as a certification entity?
Will my small company be treated fairly or will I be paid less attention than your larger clients?
At Orion, we know that there are inherent differences in the operations of large and small companies. Small companies have different structures and needs, and it is simply not fair to treat a small business the same as a large one. This understanding is the foundation of our small business program. Roughly 90 percent of our clients qualify for our small business program. Orion will do its utmost to treat your small business fairly, and to not only pay the same attention to you as to our larger clients, but also to customize our services to best meet your specific needs.
Will Orion safeguard our confidential information and proprietary processes?
Every employee and Auditor at Orion must sign formal confidentiality agreements. Our management system and training program also specifically address this issue. In addition, each of our accreditation agencies audits us to our requirements. For this reason, your company can rest assured that your confidential and proprietary information will be protected.
Explain how Orion handles customer complaints.
Any person may file a complaint about Orion Registrar orally, in writing or via Orion’s Appeals and Complaints website. The President of Orion is responsible for the investigation and conclusion of a complaint investigation. The complainant will be notified of the results. If there is a disagreement with the results, an appeal may be filed in accordance with Orion’s Certification Regulations or the appropriate accreditation agency may be contacted concerning the complaint.
How does Orion evaluate customer satisfaction?
Orion’s customers are routinely surveyed with regard to Orion’s service and personnel, including both our office staff and our auditors. This information is used to continually improve our services.