10 tips to get the most out of your ISO management system

An internal analysis of your ISO management system can identify how employees are performing, what is working, what needs to be improved, and what can be enhanced to set the organization up for success.

0 March 19, 2015
Staff

This is especially important this year as we await the new ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:2015 Standard Revisions.

It’s an opportune time for managers, directors, and business owners to take stock of internal operations because it can ultimately help set the organization up for success. Here are 10 tips to get the most out of your ISO management system:

1. Shrink the bureaucracy
When you need to get things done quickly, but efficiently, it’s a great idea to lessen the amount of signatures you need on each document. The more signatures you need, the more it slows the process to yield a new process. Once you streamline the documents, it will help the company to frequently update changes, and have more people suggesting different changes.

2. Audit by objectives
Make sure you are including your quality objectives, and the action plan that comes with it. This allows you to give more focus on what’s necessary. At the end, you can determine whether or not the non-conformance is directly connected to the objectives. If they aren’t adding value, do you need it?

3. Change one question
Rather than seeking out who made an error, ask what the weakness was in the management system. Once you see what the weaknesses are, you can look at what you may need to improve the effectiveness and efficiency within the system. Also, by asking this question, you get the focus off the employee, and more onto the actual management system. This allows you to focus more on what you can improve, rather than finding someone to blame it on.

4. Streamline your QMS
This will help optimize your communication. There are generally two steps – first, send the message; second, ensure the person you sent it to, received it the way you intended. When sending emails, usually only the first part of communication is done. When you streamline your QMS (Quality Management System), it allows you to be more efficient and proactive and can save a lot of time.

5. Get everyone involved
When it comes to a business, there is not one person who knows as much as everyone else. Have people who are using the system themselves to be more involved. This way, everyone feels part of the team and you’ll gain more feedback.

6. Implement automation carefully
The only way you’ll gain value is if you absolutely know for sure that it’s working very well before you automate. When you’re proposing a new idea to automate, make sure that you’re proposing something that will be embraced by the person who will use it.

7. Use customer feedback
Talk directly to your customers and assess how and if you met their requirements. The moment you get feedback, respond to it immediately, and stop doing things they may not care about, or act upon any suggestions. You can work more effectively and efficiently once you realize that some of the things you may be doing have no use when it comes to the people it matters the most to, your customers.

8. Get to the root of it
When looking at weaknesses in the system, get to the root of the problem to fix it. This can simplify many processes, and help prevent reoccurrences that may happen in the future that you won’t have to waste money fixing problems that could have been avoided the first time.

9. Anticipate glitches
Think of things that could go wrong and plan for it. You will also always be ready for those annoying “what if” questions. In some cases, some causes can’t be eliminated, at least this way you’ll know it’s there, and how you can help it.

10. Give your employees credit
Your employees were hired because they know how to do the work they’re doing. Sometimes, in order for them to work even harder or to get them more involved, acknowledge and reward their efforts.

Gary Robinson is the Commercial Director for BSI Canada Inc. He is a graduate of Carleton University, Ottawa, with a degree in International Business specializing in Management Information Systems. He has studied at the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University in the Netherlands and holds a Masters of Science in Environmental Management and Policy from the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics in Lund, Sweden. Robinson is a co-author of the Butterworth and Heinemann publication The ISO 14001 EMS Implementation Handbook.

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