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What is a Gap Analysis?

21 February 2018
A gap analysis is mainly done at the beginning of the certification journey to assess what is currently in place. Find out more about the process here... 

One of the first steps in your Management System transition or implementation project is to compare your current Management System to the requirements of the standard. This is most commonly called a Gap Analysis; it is sometimes referred to as a Pre-Audit.

A gap analysis is mainly done at the beginning of the certification journey to assess what is currently in place against the set of requirements for which every standard is to be implemented. The standard has specific requirements that have to be met; these are detailed in various clauses. If the current system does not meet the requirements then there is a gap that must be addressed before an organization can achieve successful certification.

A gap analysis can also be used when an organization has to transition to a new version of a standard or in the case of the new ISO 45001:2018 – migrating. It will provide an indication of where you are now and where you need to be to have a successful migration.

When I engage with organizations, especially those who are new to certification, the most common questions that they ask me are:

  • How long will it take to achieve certification?
  • How difficult is it?
  • What’s involved?
  • How much will it cost?

The difficulty sometimes is that every business or organization is different; different sectors, different sizes, different complexities, different risks – so there is no standard answer to these questions.

An organization will also want to know where they are on their journey – they have an understanding of their current position and they know what they want to achieve; they need to implement a plan of action to get where they need to be. The Gap Analysis is a tool that identifies the gaps and therefore enables an organization to put together an action plan to gain successful certification. It can also provide a reality check for the organization as to where they are in the process – helping with planning resources and timeframes.

Gap Analysis is a strategic planning tool to help you understand where you are, where you want to be and how you’re going to get there.
NQA can conduct a Gap Analysis to identify any areas of weakness prior to formal assessment. NQA auditors will carry out a Gap Analysis audit to compare the Management System that is in place with the standard requirements.

The auditor will prepare a report that will identify where there are gaps or where additional documentation or evidence is required. This will enable the business or organization to implement a plan to remedy these gaps in readiness for the mandatory initial audits for certification.