(GFSI) Certification—How Long Does it Take and How Much Does it Cost?
Costs and time are an important factor when making the decision whether to become certified.
Let’s start with time…
We are often asked, “How long will it take my organization to get ready for certification?”. This is an important question for planning, but the answer is not cut and dry. The answer is, “It depends”. What we want to communicate here is exactly what the time frame depends on, and how you can get an idea of what the answer will be for your project. It may take anywhere from 6 to 12 months or more to prepare. Some companies are able to shorten that time frame, and some have to lengthen it. The biggest factor influencing this is the state of your current systems. This includes:
Your current practices for GMPs or PRPs
- Good Manufacturing Practices or Prerequisite Programs
- These are the programs that you have in place to ensure that your personnel practices, facilities and environment are clean, sanitary and capable of producing safe product.
- This includes the condition of your building, grounds and equipment
Your HACCP Plan
- Having a HACCP Plan in place means that you have started down the road towards being prepared for certification
- If you do not yet have a thorough HACCP Plan documented and implemented you will need to start extending the timeline to certification
- Read more about HACCP
If you have GMPs/PRPs in place, and a strong HACCP plan implemented you have a good start on the project. The next factor is what type of management system you have in place. This would include processes such as:
- Corrective and preventive actions
- Internal Audits
- Management Responsibilities
- Validation and Verification Processes
- And more
One of the best ways to identify how much of the requirements you already meet, and which ones you need implement processes or make changes to address, is to perform a Gap Analysis. Use a checklist with all of the requirements of the standard, and systematically evaluate your current way of doing things. Identify which requirements you meet, and which you do not. Put each of the items that you do not comply with on a project task list. You can then start to assign responsibilities and a timeline to each of the tasks.
The implementation costs to consider include
- Internal costs (staff time)
- Cost of consultant or software
- Training programs
- Certification Audits and accreditations.
The certification body will charge for their audits. Those costs will vary depending on the size and complexity of your business and other factors. We recommend getting a quote from 2-3 certification bodies to find the best fit and price for your company. It is really tough to give an estimate without knowing anything about your business You view find a list of certification bodies: for FSSC 22000, for SQF.
You can reduce your implementation and training costs by using the effective online implementation tools and training that we offer. Our online implementation & training packages are very affordable. All the requirements are covered: documentation, employee training, food safety team training, internal auditor training. Detailed step-by-step tutorials, plans and task lists guide you along the way.