Mind the step!
The five stumbling blocks you should dodge on your way to a management system
There are many reasons speaking for the systematic management of processes - and thus the introduction of a management system. Such reasons may include optimization of operations and sequences within organizations, the lower documentation expenditure, general improvements in efficiency or the fact that topics and issues as well as operations and sequences are merging, intermingling and being intermeshed increasingly.
But beware: Establishing a management system in a manner that is well thought-over is the alpha and omega. This is what success of an entire organization is often standing and falling with. We have summarized the most usual sticking points to be avoided for you in order to enable you to create best value by utilizing your management system right from the beginning.
1) One or the other person will fall by the wayside, or not everybody is pulling on one string
Establishing a management system within an organization. But what for? Primarily motivation for this should come “from inside”. Neither a pure “bottom-up” approach (the employees’ wish) nor a sole “top-down” approach (from the top level) will be conducive. After all, it is many different persons across the organization that will be working with the system. Thus the following will be true, just like in many other instances: It’s all about the mix!
Thus all the persons involved should be integrated into the decisional process right from the start and as soon as possible. Quite often the beginning of such an introduction will often be accompanied with many question marks within the team. In this respect, it may be helpful to clearly communicate the benefits and expectations once again. For once we know the sense and advantage of something, it will also be much easier to accept these innovations. What is just as important: make the corporate vision, policy and mission clear to yourself and your employees once again in advance. A management system will never correspond to a “one size fits all” solution but should always also be aligned to the organization’s strategic direction.
2) “Let things happen”
Starting to establish and implement a system without a plan and randomly without knowing what should be done by what time and in what way is still another stumbling block, which should rather be avoided. Therefore, it definitely is recommendable to break the system down into different project phases - from initial information via decision-making and drawing up of a concept to a Certification Audit.
As is often the case in life, it also is for establishing a management system that smart approaches - in terms of concrete setting and reviewing of objectives and targets - are required. This is why “smart” means the following:
Thus all the persons involved (and as we know from (1), these persons are many different persons within an organization) will have a clear idea of the goal, period and the in-between milestones. The required intermediate steps serve for steady control and further development.
3) Underestimating the bearing: losing sight of the facts and failing to stay on ground
Quite often a management system will lead to many organizational changes. Therefore, a management system cannot be established overnight. It is quite obvious that several months will be needed. It is true that this sounds to be a lot at first sight. Nevertheless, it definitely is realistic and better than tackling the project with false expectations.
Likewise missing resources (no matter whether they are personal, financial or relating to time) will be a KO criterion when establishing a system. If, for example, a quality management system acc. to ISO 9001 is implemented, the competent Quality Manager and/or Quality Representative should not only have knowledge of the Standard but also practical and social knowledge. For then this person will be regarded as the main contact for the new “heart” of the organization.
4) One-by-one instead of all-in-one
By now many different management systems – including the most “commonly used” management systems, such as ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) or ISO 45001 (occupational health and safety), are on the market. However, the trend is increasingly moving to industry and product specific Standards, e.g. ISO 27001 for information security, ISO 22301 for business continuity management or IATF 16949 (International Automotive Task Force) in automotive industry.
If several management systems are considered in an isolated manner, separately and “for themselves” or management systems implemented already are not even taken into account, this can lead to unnecessary additional expenditure - if, however, several systems are running “under one hand”, we will talk about an integrated management system (IMS).
Most Standards are already based upon a so-called High Level Structure (HLS) - thus they will all follow the same structure. This will enable organizations to implement an integrated management system, enlarge it, at any time, and adapt it to current circumstances and requirements while remaining agile and significantly reducing their workload.
Here you can find the applicable comparison of Standards.
5) Once established, no longer reviewed in more detail
Last but not least: Management systems and standards and regulations live on a steady further development and continual improvement. Thus still another stumbling block would consist in failing to take care of the management system after it has been established. Certification is nothing but a first step - thereupon activities taken in the field of increase in quality must not stop all of a sudden and abruptly. You should make sure that you subject your management system to a continual improvement, conduct Surveillance and/or Recertification Audits at regular intervals and honestly reflect upon your strengths and weaknesses by thinking about what the opportunities and risks are. You should ask the questions as to what processes can be established in order to make use of resources even better and in a manner reflecting a higher goal orientation. In addition, you should not forget to look for weak points that still need to be worked at.
We are looking forward to supporting you on your way to the Certificate!
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