A group- is an organisation with various locations or sites.
A group or matrix certification (means the same) can be applied to a company having several sites, different locations, or even so called subsidiaries, or even if these in turn have companies again within their structure.
A group/matrix certification has several important advantages in comparison to an individual certifications of single plants on different sites being within the same organisation:
- The organisation is audited and evaluated process-oriented in one manner across all sites
- The uniformity of the company's mission statements, strategies, or even the quality-, security- and environment policies is viewed holistic across all sites, from their creation on up to their implementation in its different stages
- Also the interfaces, such as those between the central organisation and the branch offices are evaluated within the auditing
- The organisation and the company wide management system is viewed as one complete unit
- It is not necessary to include all the branch offices of the group. The extension of the group certification or even the exception of single offices is possible at any time, except of the "central organisation".
- The costs for auditing and certification are essentially lower than for individual certification on all of the sites that are to be certified, in account to the applicable rules
- By issuing the main certificate and the corresponding sub-certificates for the "members of the group", the certification fees needs to be paid only once, regardless to the number of members.
- The company's internal resource binding is viewed holistic during the preparation phase and is perceptibly lesser during the audits in comparison to individually conducted audits
- The suitability for the audit at the sites that are integrated within the group essentially depends on the number of branch offices that are integrated within the group. Already at 3 branch offices in addition to the corporate office there is a direct cost saving on the first time certification as well as on the re-certification. For the surveillance audits, there is already an financial advantage at 2 branch offices.
A group audit can be conducted for one or more standards (so called integrated management system), whereas it might not be necessary to audit or certify each location on the application of each standard.
The essential pre-requisites for a group/matrix certification are:
- All branch offices have to be within the structure of the company and its central organisation
- A central responsible body for the management systems is established as an superior body
- The products or services are similar or comparable at all the branch offices
- The management systems are described in a management manual that is applicable uniformly to all branch offices