Establishing your Management System: What you need to know

Construction Project Tenders – Getting Started

Construction Project Tenders – Getting Started

If you're an emerging Contractor looking to land your first tender award, this is the article you can't afford to miss! I've worked with Contractor's of all shapes and sizes, from the multi-billion international giants to the small sole traders. To even qualify for...

read more
Emergency Response Planning: 5 tips for success

Emergency Response Planning: 5 tips for success

Our sunburnt country is currently facing devastating impacts from heavy rain and flooding. Here at IMAS we hope everyone is safe and supported during this heartbreaking time. I myself, along with my neighbours have been trapped on our property for four days now, cut...

read more
What is risk based thinking?

What is risk based thinking?

Back in 2015 there was a game-changing shift for ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems - Requirements). Everyone was used to the normal Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. Everyone knew they had boxes to tick and processes to follow. And yet...there was still something...

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How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

The auditor and auditee relationship is delicate. On one hand, you have a professional who puts their heart and soul into their work that is suddenly up for “examination”. On the other hand, you have a professional who is measuring evidence against requirements. It is...

read more
Construction Project Tenders – Getting Started

Construction Project Tenders – Getting Started

If you're an emerging Contractor looking to land your first tender award, this is the article you can't afford to miss! I've worked with Contractor's of all shapes and sizes, from the multi-billion international giants to the small sole traders. To even qualify for...

read more
What is an effective Assurance Programme?

What is an effective Assurance Programme?

The term "Assurance Programme" gets thrown about quite a bit. Sadly, this is the aspect of the management system that I consistently see ISO 9001 certified organisations struggling with. In this article we'll explore why we need an effective assurance programme and...

read more
Emergency Response Planning: 5 tips for success

Emergency Response Planning: 5 tips for success

Our sunburnt country is currently facing devastating impacts from heavy rain and flooding. Here at IMAS we hope everyone is safe and supported during this heartbreaking time. I myself, along with my neighbours have been trapped on our property for four days now, cut...

read more
What is risk based thinking?

What is risk based thinking?

Back in 2015 there was a game-changing shift for ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems - Requirements). Everyone was used to the normal Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. Everyone knew they had boxes to tick and processes to follow. And yet...there was still something...

read more
How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

The auditor and auditee relationship is delicate. On one hand, you have a professional who puts their heart and soul into their work that is suddenly up for “examination”. On the other hand, you have a professional who is measuring evidence against requirements. It is...

read more
Construction Project Tenders – Getting Started

Construction Project Tenders – Getting Started

If you're an emerging Contractor looking to land your first tender award, this is the article you can't afford to miss! I've worked with Contractor's of all shapes and sizes, from the multi-billion international giants to the small sole traders. To even qualify for...

read more
Emergency Response Planning: 5 tips for success

Emergency Response Planning: 5 tips for success

Our sunburnt country is currently facing devastating impacts from heavy rain and flooding. Here at IMAS we hope everyone is safe and supported during this heartbreaking time. I myself, along with my neighbours have been trapped on our property for four days now, cut...

read more
Did the dog REALLY eat your homework…?

Did the dog REALLY eat your homework…?

I want to start a very candid conversation about objective evidence, what is it really, why do we have it, and why is it so important? This topic is for both members of an organisation and also for auditors. 1: What is Objective Evidence? There's a plethora of...

read more
What is risk based thinking?

What is risk based thinking?

Back in 2015 there was a game-changing shift for ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems - Requirements). Everyone was used to the normal Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. Everyone knew they had boxes to tick and processes to follow. And yet...there was still something...

read more
How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

The auditor and auditee relationship is delicate. On one hand, you have a professional who puts their heart and soul into their work that is suddenly up for “examination”. On the other hand, you have a professional who is measuring evidence against requirements. It is...

read more
Did the dog REALLY eat your homework…?

Did the dog REALLY eat your homework…?

I want to start a very candid conversation about objective evidence, what is it really, why do we have it, and why is it so important? This topic is for both members of an organisation and also for auditors. 1: What is Objective Evidence? There's a plethora of...

read more
What is risk based thinking?

What is risk based thinking?

Back in 2015 there was a game-changing shift for ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems - Requirements). Everyone was used to the normal Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. Everyone knew they had boxes to tick and processes to follow. And yet...there was still something...

read more
How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

The auditor and auditee relationship is delicate. On one hand, you have a professional who puts their heart and soul into their work that is suddenly up for “examination”. On the other hand, you have a professional who is measuring evidence against requirements. It is...

read more

Are you thinking about establishing a management system? It could be a Quality, WHS, Environment, Information Security or a fully integrated business management system. There are immense benefits to establishing and implementing a management system and I highly encourage organisations of all shapes and sizes to do so. However, before you get started there are some things you need to know.

Know your ‘why’

This might seem a little bit obvious but in order to get the most out of your management system, you need to get clear on why you’ve chosen to establish it. I come across some fairly typical reasons such as:

  • We need a certified system to be able to tender
  • We want the certificate to stand out from competitors; and,
  • We need it to achieve an objective from top management.

All of these are valid reasons to proceed. However, when I’m having early discussions with clients interested in doing this, I ask this question:

Do you see the cost of establishing a management system as an expense or an investment?

Before we go further, take the time to think on this question, how do you answer?

There are many people who view it as an expense, so before we proceed I take the time to ensure they understand more about the journey they’re seeking to embark on. A management system should be an investment.

An effective management system can earn you returns in the following ways:

  • It requires clear business objectives and provides a framework to ensure you’re always steering towards them
  • It results in sustainable business growth
  • It improves the connectivity between team members
  • It makes best use of your talents
  • It ensures you always have the best resources to achieve your goals
  • It encourages you to always improve and build on success
  • You start doing more of what works, and less of what doesn’t
  • You get clear on business opportunities early so they don’t pass you by
  • It reduces or eliminates wasted time, materials, money, complaints and other barriers to success
  • It strengthens your reputation and wins you more work
  • It just makes things flow instead of being a daily grind

When you start to think of this journey as an investment, knowing your ‘why’ gets much more interesting. I’ve had clients change their reasons for establishing a management system from those three mundane reasons to really specific expectations on the returns they want from their investment, such as:

  • Improve a flagship product sale by 20% within 12 months
  • Boost their recurring revenue figures by 25% within 2 years
  • Earn their first million dollars
  • Reduce the project lifecycle by 30%
  • Become a preferred tenderer for a particular client, or,
  • Win a prestigious industry award

Now that’s an investment to get excited about!

This is a commitment for the life of the business

I see so many organisations fall into the trap of getting through their certification audit, getting the shiny certificate, and then never using their system. When their surveillance audits finally roll about, many organisations lose their certification. In my opinion, it’s better to never have certification, then to get it and then lose it. Reputationally, this says to your customers “we can’t even follow our own plans”…is that really a message you want to send to your customers?

This isn’t a one time deal. Once you establish your system, you are also committing to:

  • Its implementation
  • Ongoing monitoring and reviewing its continuing suitability, effectiveness and adequacy; and.
  • Continually improving the system.

You’re going to need resources and personnel with the skills, talent, knowledge and competency to do this. They need to know your system inside, out and backwards. They need to have an intimate understanding of the requirements under the standard you’re certified under (and other requirements, such as legislative and regulatory) that have been considered in its establishment. I help many clients who have fallen into this trap. I either have to facilitate significant changes to their management system to ensure it works within their business context today, or, they hire me on a retainer to oversee a resource they’ve only been able to allocate part time to fulfil this role and responsibility (sometimes both!)

Make sure you understand what it is you’re committing to through establishing a certified system. If you don’t have the resources already in place, then you’re either going to need to hire new talent internally, or source an external provider to support you.

Generic, cookie cutter systems are a very bad idea

In most of the ISO standards these days, there is a clause specifically around demonstrating the context of the organisation, its interested parties, internal and external issues, and how the standard has been applied to satisfy these needs. Most of the standards are not industry specific, they are written as a framework for everyone from hairdressers to mechanics, or schools to aviation giants. ISO 9001 for example is exactly the same no matter what good or service you’re providing.

If you’re in the market for help from a consultant to establish your management system and they offer you a cheap, generic, cookie cutter management system that will be fully established within 7 days…run….run as fast as you can. There’s a chance you’ll pass certification…but I promise that you won’t use the system and you’ll probably lose certification down the track. It’s a waste of money, and will do more harm than good.

Here’s a simple example of what I mean:

The generic management system of getting dressed in the morning

Here is your management system that is a cookie cutter generic piece of garbage for getting dressed in the morning.

  • Clause 1 – Buy clothes from a retailer with money
  • Clause 2 – Put clothes on
  • Clause 3 – Make sure your clothes are on the right way

You might be thinking…what else is there? How on earth are you ever going to know if you’re suitably dressed? What standards are you measuring yourself against?

The customised management system on getting dressed in the morning

Here is your customised management system on getting dressed in the morning

  • Clause 1 – I am a middle aged woman, a size 14 who lives on a farm and runs a company. I need to get dressed each morning to ensure I am appropriately presentable for clients, but can just as easily run outside to feed a horse or drive a naughty sheep back in the paddock. I do not like dresses or skirts and prefer practical shoes
  • Clause 2 – Clothing is to be sourced for daily wear that are good quality jeans or slacks, with comfortable smart/casual shirts such as t-shirts or polo tops. Internet shopping is to be avoided because its a dangerous money pit and distraction. Preferred stores to purchase clothing are “store 1”, “store 2” and “store 3”. No more than $80 per item of clothing is to be spent. Clothing is to be of a suitable fit. Shoes shall be brown or black leather riding boots in dry weather, or gum boots when it’s raining.
  • Clause 3 – Clothing is to be cleaned and ironed prior to wearing, free from stains, tears, rips or other damage.
  • Clause 4 – Clothing is to be applied to the body after taking a shower each morning by 6am. Clothing will be carried into the bathroom and immediately applied after the shower once dry.
  • Clause 5 – A quick check in the mirror is sufficient to ensure clothing is suitable for the days activities
  • Clause 6 – In the event clothing appears unsuitable, it is not to be worn. Damaged clothing should be repaired or repurposed for farming rags. Dirty clothing should be re-washed or stain treated. If your clothing doesn’t fit…either congratulations on sticking to the diet or padlock the fridge after 8pm.

Can you see the difference here?

A large portion of my work with clients happens because they were sold a generic cookie cutter system and now they’re in a mess. It’s actually much harder to overhaul an existing yet completely inadequate system than it is to design something custom built from scratch. Spend the extra upfront time and money on getting something tailored for your organisation, it will pay off.

The bottom line:

Whether you’re thinking about establishing a specific system or combine several into an integrated system, this should be exciting! It’s the first step towards taking a good business and making it great. I love nothing more than helping clients go from surviving to thriving. Get clear on the reasons you want to do this, understand the commitment you’re making, get the resources in place for its up-keep and make sure your system is fully customised for you.

If you need help with establishing, implementing, or improving your management system, contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Karice Grundon PCQI, 19 March 2021

Karice Grundon PCQI is an experienced Certified Lead Auditor and Management System designer across several ISO standards, a mentor for emerging auditors in the profession and the Director and Principal Consultant of Integrated Management & Assurance Solutions Pty Ltd. If you would like to learn more about Karice or get in contact, you can do so through LinkedIn or directly through our company website . Don’t forget to subscribe to follow Karice for future content.

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