How to maintain your ISO management system

How to maintain your ISO management system

“Plan, Do Check, Act”: 

If you’ve been working towards certification, you know firsthand that implementing an ISO Management System is no easy task! Once you have successfully received certification, you may sigh a breath of relief and think the greatest part of the job is done. However, many businesses forget that maintaining certification can be just as stressful especially if all procedures and processes are not followed.

To maintain certification, businesses need to ensure that all necessary information and paperwork relating to tasks performed by management, staff or contractors are recorded and completed prior to surveillance audits. Completing regular checklists for incoming and outcoming stock, machinery repairs and training staff are also requirements.

Many businesses come to me for assistance leading up to or following their first surveillance audit as they often underestimate the maintenance required to retain certification. Here is my simple advice to ensure you are ready for third party audits by keeping in line with the ISO methodology of “Plan, Do Check, Act”:

Plan

It is a great idea to keep an ISO yearly planner. This planner sets out all the activities that are required to be undertaken by staff at all levels of the organization to satisfy ISO requirements. It’s an even better idea to ensure that certain activities, such as management review meetings, inspections, and internal audits are in everyone’s diary. These meetings are immovable, and every certified business should have a strong business rule with regards to this.

Do

Many businesses find it easier to create procedures for their management system rather than execute them. It is true that many activities existed within the business prior to documenting them, however very often new ones would have been written in order to satisfy ISO requirements. Take time to train your staff and ensure they know what documentation needs to be filled out for each activity performed.

Management and Staff training

As part of an ISO management system, businesses are required to build a framework to identify and plan the training of their staff. This important part ensures that staff are competent in their roles and are aware of all hazardous and risks associated with all aspects of their job. Recording inductions will ensure that professional development days and training are conducted regularly throughout the year and any further development for individual staff are monitored.

Customer satisfaction

Customer focus is an enormously important ISO principle, it is demonstrated through monitoring and measuring customer satisfaction. Every certified business must define how and how often it will conduct surveys to determine the level of customer satisfaction. Receiving customer feedback enables insights on how the customers perceive the organization and have direct input into continuous improvement opportunities on their products and services.

Check

Next, analyze your results against the expectations that you defined in the ‘Plan’ phase, to assess whether your management system is operating successfully. You may decide to try out more changes and repeat the Do and Check phases.

A thorough internal audit will provide you with additional information regarding compliance and the overall condition of your management system. In addition, and with information gathered along the way, businesses will be able to conduct good, value-added management reviews and make decisions that lead to continual improvement of the system and the company.

Act

Gathering relevant information about the system through monitoring and measuring and following the process procedures will enable top management to exercise the last principle of ISO, and that is evidence-based decision making.

Having all these elements of the system in place means a business has covered off the first places where the auditors will be looking. Having this covered will prepare any business for the audit!

Winning tenders is critical to the development and life of your business, but where do you begin?

Winning tenders is critical to the development and life of your business, but where do you begin?

Time and time again, I see businesses commence bidding for government work only to shy away from submission due to not being ready to go through the process.

Tender Readiness is critical for success in an ever increasing competitive market and there is a plethora of free resources available on various government websites to assist businesses in preparing themselves for the tender process.

Having worked with government procurement processes over a 22 year period, I can honestly say that there are steps businesses can take in advance to enhance their chances of success through a competitive process.

Our top five tips to readiness are:

  1. Conditions of tendering: Ensure you have fully understood the mandatory requirements to tender before spending time and resources preparing your bid. This can include having the necessary insurances in place to protect yourself, the public and the client.
  2. Management Systems: Having in place a robust management system that incorporates the provision of quality, environmental management and work, health and safety goes a long way in a competitive tender process. If your
    business doesn’t  have in place a management system, it would be a good idea to start documenting a policy
    statement showing your commitment to quality, environment and safety.
  3. Experience and Capacity
    (evaluation criteria):
    Make sure you can write a compelling submission against each weighted evaluation criteria. Ensure you haven’t bitten off more than you can chew by selecting tenders that fit within your scope, skills and capacity. Don’t forget
    you must deliver the job according to the contractual specifications.
  4. Value of Money: It is not easy ensuring
    you’re in the ball park when bidding for government work. However, getting this quoting or getting the right price is imperative to bidding in a very competitive market. Do your research and find out what others may charge for similar work.
  5. Know who your competitors are:
    It is so important to know who you are writing your bid against. Do some research on the companies that you think might also tender for the job and write your bid to knock them out of the race.

For more
information, get in contact with us at support@procurespot.com

Audits can be positive for your business and here’s why!

Audits can be positive for your business and here’s why!

Unfortunately, there is a negative stigma surrounding the word “audit” when by its very nature, it should encourage energy for a culture of continuous improvement.

Generally, audits cause us to focus on documented information, they incite corporate fear of non-conformance and ultimately can cause businesses to behave in ways that are contrary to the objectives of the audit.

Perhaps we could alter our language. Maybe we could call it a “getting it right” review where we seek to catch you in the process of getting it right while offering opportunities to improve.

Audit’s are necessary to ensure organisations are doing what they say they do as part of their management systems – including conformance with international standards and compliance with legislative requirements. When conducted in a positive way, the benefits can be endless.

Where to from here? Organisations (including third party certifiers) need to transition from a culture of reactive conformance to a forward-thinking culture of relevance and innovation. International standards have updated their rhetoric and moved away from a clinical and prescriptive nature of documented conformance for a more flexible requirement offering an opportunity for SME and government agencies to innovate.

The market needs to react to this emerging requirement and respond effectively with digital platforms that automate the heavy hitting parts of a management system, moves away from the generic and allows organisations to get on with the business of innovating, growing and performing to higher standards for their customers and end users.

For more information, get in contact with us at support@procurespot.com

Are you conforming with this ISO requirement?

Are you conforming with this ISO requirement?

Management Reviews are ideally conducted every 6 to 12 months. These reviews ensure your management system(s) remain effective and relevant to the strategic objectives of your business.

If you’ve been working towards certification or recently attained certification, you know how much work is involved. 

At Procure Spot, our facilitated management reviews can fundamentally increase the effectiveness of your system and the prosperity of your business.

All businesses face risks, the key to any business success is how to manage those risks effectively.


What we do

Our approach is conducted through a combination of assurance and consulting. In other words, we assure you that the systems and procedures in place are designed and maintained to keep your business growing through continuous improvement. 

Our consultants, offer you advice to ensure your system remains suitable, adequate and effective and any opportunities for change or improvement are implemented in a streamlined way.

We are qualified to audit the following systems to ISO standards:
·        ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management
·        ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health & Safety
·        ISO 14001 Environmental Management

For more information, get in contact with us at support@procurespot.com