Some of you might be aware that three of the most widely used International Management System Standards are changing (see Flintloque’s newsletter from November 2014). ISO 9001: Quality Management, ISO 14001: Environmental Management and OHSAS 18001: Health and Safety Management, are all being revised and changed structurally, so that they can more easily be implemented as a whole rather than as three different parts hammered together in one management system.
This is good news. The three Standards mentioned above are used by millions of companies around the world and the new structure will align the parts of those Standards that are common. What’s “common” between quality, environment and health and safety (H&S), I hear you ask. Well, it’s obvious if you think about it. In order to control the quality of our products and services, our waste outputs and impact on the environment, and the wellbeing of our personnel and customers, we’ve got to have systems in place that allow managers to manage. As the primary function of management is “making informed decisions”, a system that allows that to happen must be common to any management system.
For example, whether you are managing quality, environment, H&S or a combination of these, you are required to make decisions based on accurate information. Regardless of the specific focus of your management system, the information you need is derived from analysis of the data generated within your systems, which comes from your monitoring and measurement activities. What you monitor and measure depends upon what you want to control, which means that you have to have a plan of what you want to achieve (your objectives, targets and goals). The way that you are going to achieve your objectives, targets and goals is based on decisions that you’ve made when planning, which is the result of a series of decision-making processes informed by accurate information. And thus we come full circle.
The new structure for the Standards emphasises the role of leadership within organisations and brings to the fore the requirement to make planning a risk-based activity, amongst other changes. I’m off to Crewe in June to attend a Transition Event where we’ll be told what the changes mean for organisations currently registered to the Standards and those wishing to raise their game. As a result, I’ll be changing the appropriate parts of the Flintloque Management System, so that we remain at the cutting edge of management best-practice. I’m looking forward to it and hope that it’ll be fun. I’ll let you know what happens when I get back.