In most cases, it is not easy to quantify productivity in the realm of construction. The construction sector is one of those fields that experience an ever fluctuating environment. Whether it be weather, employee related issues or countless other unforeseen points of concern, managing productivity is an arduous and ever challenging endeavour.
There was a study done by Intergraph that illustrated EPCs suffer billions of dollars nationally as a by product of construction claims involving labor related issues alone. That is huge, to say the least. Even though there are many organizations collecting data on construction productivity (US Department of Labor, US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Contractors Associations, independent contractors, universities, to name a few), this data is various and lacks consistency. Yet, one aspect that remains a constant through most research is the consequential impact of labor productivity.
So, what are some things that can be done to improve overall productivity, improve your bottomline, reduce workplace incidents and decrease the negative impact on the environment? Let us take a look at three simple hacks that can boost productivity.
1. Improve Project Planning
Planning is integral to anything we do. The lack thereof can prove disastrous and a nuisance at the very least. In the world of construction, we all know that planning is a very important ingredient in the mixture of project completion on schedule and within budget.
In order to become better at planning, data should be collected on previous construction projects in order to establish where the bulk of the issues reside. Is it poor timing in ordering materials? On who does this responsibility lie? Were there equipment failures or work related injuries that held things back? How can these issues be addressed? Collecting this data enables any of these issues to be addressed before the next project and find ways to formulate preemptive solutions.
2. Introduce Productivity Training
It should be a known fact that your supervisors can make or break any project. Are they knowledgeable enough to face the growing concerns of a modern EPC world? Do they have sufficient training to keep them up to date with new technologies and environmental regulations? Are they up to speed with local and federal regulations? All three of these aspects are ever evolving. What may have been the case last month could very well not be the case next month.
Most contractors see training employees only as far as making sure they know how to operate new pieces of equipment, as one example. How many implement training in productivity? And it is supervisors who are in the greatest need of this type of training. They need to start seeing outside the box and quit looking at things from a day-to-day view, always looking into the foreseeable future and trying to increase the likelihood that the project remains on schedule and within budget.
Furthermore, the construction industry as a whole should consider the merits of inviting design students to complete their internships on site. This will decrease conflicts between the designers and the contractors, not to mention bring a fresh mind to the design process.
3. Keep On Top of New Construction Technologies
There is a reason for technological development: to make our lives easier. Usually, technological advances come from a direct need from an industry. One of the biggest disruptions being caused by technology as a whole is the construction sector. Whether it is renewable energy disruption, better, longer lasting materials or innovative methods in the construction process, staying abreast of new technology is vital to sustainability.
One technology is 3D printing, which is changing the landscape, so to speak, on many fronts. From facial reconstruction to manmade coral reefs, 3D printing is paving the way for many new cool advances in technology. No other sector is being influenced greater by this disruptive technology than the EPC industry. In an article by Forbes entitled Printing The Future: The Last Bastion Of Blue Collar Labor Is About To Fall, it accounts for $9 trillion in revenues and six percent of the global GDP. Not only this, but 3D printing is making the entire construction process more time and cost efficient by reducing everything down to precise measurements. This means designers can create structures not thought possible before.
With fast evolving technology in the construction industry changing the way we design, plan, manage and build, becoming a more productive company is even easier than before. The three hacks above are not the complete picture by far, but they are a great place to start.
We at Sustainable pride ourselves helping our customers improve their bottom line, reduce workplace injury and environmental impact.Read More
Research shows that eight out of every 10 businesses fail due to poor leadership, communication and product differentiation. Only the best organizations will overcome issues like rising costs, selective customers, sluggish economies, challenging markets and aggressive competitors. An ISO certification is one of the best long-term investments a company can make for their future stability and profitability.
Enhanced Credibility and Reputation
Almost all B2B partners want to do business with companies that are ISO certified because it verifies they maintain higher standards. ISO certification reduces the need for lengthy debates and investigations to determine if the target company understands the principles of quality, communication, process improvements and management oversight. Similarly, ISO certifications build trust and inspire confidence in customers and the public.
Companies that maintain a loyal customer base will be more sustainable and successful. An ISO certification is a full-time commitment, but is a powerful tool for industries that have to deal with watchful critics, such as energy, manufacturing, agriculture and engineering companies. The best marketing and public relations weapon for a lumber production or a natural gas company is an ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management Systems (EMS) certification.
A Commitment to Environmental Sustainability
The ISO 14001:2015 refers to the prestigious Environmental Management System (EMS) that provides a comprehensive framework for planning, implementing and improving eco-friendly policies and practices. An EMS program may be applied to any type of organization, regardless of their specific sector because the ultimate goal is to enhance environmental performance and corporate responsibility. EMS thinking can be integrated into all levels of stewardship, from manual labor employees to top executives.
EMS programs help management to monitor the company’s interactions with the environment, exceed mandatory compliance obligations and resolve risks from various sources. The 14001:2015 program identifies environmental aspects (anything that interacts with the surroundings) in order to minimize negative impacts and maximize position outcomes. The ISO 14001:2015 is the second most popular standard after the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System program.
Better Product Quality
The continual sale of any product comes down to quality, durability, performance and customer satisfaction. The ISO 9001:2015 depends on proactive participation from leadership who are tasked with continually improving operations, quality control, effective communication and production planning activities. The QMS program is the universal standard around the world for a superior level of quality and product safety. This is especially important for global companies who have B2B clients in unfamiliar countries.
The ISO 9001:2015 program requires leadership involvement, quality objectives, evolving policies and specific requirements. Standard Qualify Procedures (SQP) are detailed job descriptions that outline what task will be done, who will be responsible, when it will be completed and how the results will be evaluated. QMS, along with EMS programs, are the best investments for legal compliance and protection. The American Society for Quality (ASQ), which is a global leader in quality control activities, endorses ISO 9001 programs here.
ISO programs assist employees and management to develop new skills, proactive attitudes and problem solving tools. For example, hazard identification and risk management are important to both the EMS and QMS programs. Staff are actively encouraged and empowered to adopt risk-based thinking in order to uncover previously hidden or avoided problems. Some companies punish employees who report serious quality issues that could impact safety, but ISO programs actually reprimand shareholders and require them to resolve nonconformities through corrective action plans.
Regular external audits through internationally recognized certifying bodies means that organizations must maintain impeccable documentation and high standards. To illustrate, the ISO 9001 requires organizations to create and use daily quality control check sheets that are completed throughout the day. This usually involves a supervisor or team leader randomly checking, testing or measuring a group of products every year.
The most scientific way to increase product excellence and production values is to aggregately analyse quality control data through statistical process control tools and spreadsheets. ISO program credentials are maintained through global certifying organizations that provide audits, support and direction.
We at Sustainable pride ourselves helping our customers improve their bottom line, reduce workplace injury and environmental impact.
Once an organisation pursues ISO certification, its management team must plan and anticipate changes in a sequence of stages. Employees are unable to process changes all at once, and they need time to adjust their attitudes. The management team must consider the impact of changing major work structures and associated processes on many employees and the effects of smaller changes on limited groups of employees. Most importantly, all required changes must take place over time. Managers must implement any change process with sensitivity to employees’ needs in order to prevent unnecessary backlashes to customers. Otherwise, negative employee attitudes could defeat the purpose of obtaining certification.
Why Do It
One way to contemplate obtaining ISO certification is that the process is time efficient. There will be benefits for the organisation, including a better public image and streamlined operations, which usually translate to cost savings and greater efficiency. Employees may also experience increased morale in their workplace and customers’ perceptions of higher value. Quite frankly, people enjoy their work in the certified organisation more, but the process of change could be painful at some points. Management has responsibility to make the case for certification and must provide support during the transition period.
Quality is the Focus
The process of securing ISO certification includes assessing all areas of the organisation and encouraging every group of workers to enhance their focus on quality. An organisation must develop and maintain adequate documentation to show how a standard will be met. An organisation must remove barriers to efficiency. An organisation must implement more quality controls to ensure that instances of poor quality are addressed (i.e. that fewer faulty products reach customers). Root causes of poor quality require remediation.
Managing the Process of Change
Research has shown some negative implications of ISO certification, one of which is the perception that employees must work harder throughout the process. They will have to perform “two jobs” and then “write” about it. At first, if managers haven’t presented the case effectively for ISO certification, employees may have negative responses to the whole process. Whereas employees might have to make some changes to how they do their jobs and develop the right documentation, their efforts will pay off when the certification process is complete. They will work in more streamlined units while enjoying a better understanding of how their work contributes to quality standards and company goals.
Many organisations pursue ISO certification because they want to respond to customer demands for higher quality. They have a dilemma of which certification body to choose for their company. Some of their considerations may include steps that are involved and how they will impact employees. Other considerations will revolve around what certification from a particular body means for the company. Before choosing an ISO certification body, we recommend that organisations consider the current level of quality that’s in place and how employees could use the certification process to raise that higher. This in effect provides long term benefits to customers.
A company can aspire to higher quality standards and produce documentation to show how those are met, but its employees must reinforce those standards over time through their individual and collective behaviors. Otherwise, there will be a temporary improvement in the organisation based on initial efforts, but operating conditions and quality levels will diminish over time. Once employee efforts diminish, the organisation’s reputation will decline, which is bad for worker morale and customer perceptions.Read More
The Top 10 Ways Your Organisation Can Profit Through ISO Certification
Or the benefits on implementing ISO
Implementing ISO is a surefire way to optimise your company’s bottom line performance. From enhanced search engine rankings to the creation of robust marketing opportunities, ISO certification can open countless doors of opportunity for your organisation. Below are the top 10 ways your organisation can profit through ISO certification.
1) ISO certification will enhance your company’s industry image. ISO certification is highly coveted by organisations across a variety of industries. The majority of companies are not ISO-certified, elevating the status of those companies that are certified. For instance, approximately three-fourths of manufacturing companies lack ISO certification, consequently enhancing the stock of the 25% of manufacturing companies that have earned the certification.
2) Costs are controlled as a result of superior use of resources. The ISO implementation process requires organisations to make efficient use of their human resources and company assets. The result is a leaner workforce and a more robust bottom line.
3) Processes are streamlined and consistent, resulting in fewer costly errors. Process improvement methodology is a key requirement for companies seeking ISO certification. Meeting this requirement and earning ISO certification means that your company has strong company policies and procedures in place to help prevent errors and enhance customer satisfaction.
4) You can attract new customers who are required to choose ISO-certified vendors. Some organisations require their key vendors to possess ISO certification. Examples include government healthcare facilities and universities. ISO implementation enables your company to provide products and services to these customers, thereby creating yet another means of increasing your bottom line performance.
5) Organisational deficiencies are identified during the certification process. One of the best ways to optimise your company’s financial results is to identify barriers to success and create a strategic plan to address them. Resolving these deficiencies paves the way for increased efficiency and a healthier bottom line.
6) ISO certification communicates an organisation’s commitment to excellence. Prospective customers are often aware that ISO certification is only bestowed upon companies that adhere to the most stringent requirements. Additionally, companies seeking ISO certification must be prepared to dedicate hours of their time and hard-earned money to obtain certification.
7) Your organisation can participate in government tenders. ISO certification is a prerequisite for most public bidding opportunities and government tenders across the globe. Some tenders and public projects can generate millions of dollars in revenue for the company with the winning bid. This means that ISO certification could potentially double or triple a company’s revenue.
8) Search engine rankings for your company will improve. As the demand for ISO-certified vendors increases, more prospective customers are including “ISO certified” in their collections of keywords as they conduct online vendor searches. Once you post the news about your ISO certification on your organisation’s website, your site’s search engine optimisation (SEO) will improve. This will drive more traffic to your site, increasing your likelihood of conversions.
9) Company roles and responsibilities are more clearly defined. While the ISO certification process is considered to be rigorous by most people, the process also forces organisations to clearly delineate departments and their key areas of focus. With a well-organised workforce, your company will be primed for greater production.
10) Superb marketing opportunities are created. The marketing opportunities that accompany ISO certification are virtually endless. Here are a few ways that you can use your newly awarded ISO-certification to promote your brand:
- Reference ISO certification on your company’s website
- Include news about your ISO certification on your company’s social media sites
- Feature a blog post on the ways that your customer will benefit from your ISO certification
- Employees can include a banner about your ISO certification in their e-mail signatures
Clearly, there is a link between ISO certification and bottom line performance for companies. ISO certification is a powerful attribute that will elevate your organisation to new levels of success. At Sustainable Certification our goal is to improve your business performance through audits and certification.Read More
Maintaining strict worker safety standards remains one of the most important stated goals of companies across the world. Nonetheless, the International Labor Organization has forecasted that as many as 2.34 million people die annually as the result of work-related accidents and diseases. To reduce this unacceptably large number, the International Organization for Standards has drafted a new standard–ISO 45001 –for occupational health and safety.
ISO 45001 is predicated on the widely lauded OSHA standard 18001, which acts in the benefit of worker safety by offering a structured approach to risk mitigation. In 2016, the drafted form of ISO 45001 was sent to ballot. Amongst the 54 countries involved in the voting process, 71% of respondents were in favor of ratifying ISO 45001. Unfortunately, this did not satisfy the necessary threshold for approval, which requires that no more than a quarter of votes go against. To ensure the future success of ISO, whose second round of balloting is already underway, it is imperative that people understand the historic importance of this standard. This article will attempt to consolidate such understanding, by introducing three key benefits of ISO standard 45001. Very importantly this new standard follows the same High Level Structure and is aligned with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 27001. All new versions of existing standards as well as all new standards will follow the same high level structure
High Level Structure
Annex SL.9 High level structure, identical core text and common terms and core definitions for use in Management Systems Standards from now on:
- Normative references
- Terms and definitions
- Context of the organization
- Performance evaluation
OSHAS 18001 is the most widely utilized worker safety standard, with at least 40 international versions currently in place. Yet whereas OSHAS 18001 primarily focuses on occupational health and safety at the ground level, ISO 45001 attempts to integrate similar standards of protection and risk mitigation at a higher level, one that will affect the larger business processes. In other words, ISO 45001 will act as a natural corollary to upper-level approaches to business risks of all natures. As a result, it will be easier to incorporate a top-down safety philosophy.
In this regard, the timing of ISO 45001 couldn’t be more ideal. That’s because the International Organization for Standards has recently revised both its quality management (ISO 9001) and environmental management (ISO 14001) standards. These standards utilize a common framework as that found in ISO 45001. These commonalities will help to improve the ease with which organizations can integrate ISO 45001 into their pre-existing business processes.
Ease Of Implementation
ISO 45001 also makes significant strides in terms of improving the ease of application of workplace safety standards. This is achieved by adhering to a simple PDCA model. This model, whose acronym is short for Plan-Do-Check-Act, makes it easy for an organization to determine the necessary plan for minimizing risk of worker harm. This model does not simply focus on worker accidents–a common shortcoming of past workplace safety standards. Instead it also addresses concerns covering everything from long-term illness and health issues, to workplace absences, to psychosocial risk.
The “Plan” phase of this model focuses on organization-wide implementation to ensure two things: first, that workers have access to the appropriate training and skills; and second, that the necessary controls are put into place prior to the “Do” phase. During the “Check” phase, these key elements are identified and addressed in a systematic order to ensure that the system works according to plan. The “Act” phase involves the establishment of best-practice workplace routines. It also recognizes the importance of worker input in recognizing OH&S needs and determining how to best meet them.
Recognition Of Workplace Diversity
ISO 45001 has been carefully designed to consider the incredible diversity of workplace models present in the world today. It is meant to be just as easily applicable to small businesses as to global corporations. It also recognizes that non-standard employment patterns are becoming more and more common, and attempts to regulate worker safety in a way that can be accommodated within any employment framework. In this regard, ISO 45001 is a forward-looking standard, one that successfully marries theory and reality to create a safer work environment for all.
Organizations that embrace process excellence, ISO and systems thinking tend to create innovative, fun, and productive organizational cultures. This is because quality assurance focuses on system optimization instead of blaming individuals for product, process or system deficiencies. Some of the top influences of ISO on workplace culture add value to job roles and corporate bottom-lines.
Quality assurance leverages subject matter experts and teams to improve all aspects of an organization. This results in teams and process management becoming integral to an organization’s culture. Whether it is Kaizen events or quality audits centered on ISO standards, implementing quality requirements encourages more teamwork among employees. Breaking down silos between functional departments and stoking collaboration are direct byproducts of ISO initiatives.
Substantive Process Improvement
ISO and quality assurance drives substantive process improvement that has a lasting impact on organizational culture. A systematic, disciplined approach to process enhancement teaches employees to tackle problems in a professional and effective manner that permeates through teams and functional departments. Employees are no longer willing to settle for marginal improvements, when they know what quality can do to products, processes and systems. A focus on system optimization has a transformative impact at all levels of an organization.
Lower Internal Failures
ISO leads to lower internal failures in products and systems that lead to less frustration among employees and managers. Higher efficiencies and levels of quality have positive impacts on morale and the way that teams view their efficacy. The net result being a more confident organization that thrives on low levels of internal defects and failures. These types of organizations are more profitable and successful places to work. This has a positive long-term impact on everyone involved with an organization.
Higher Job Satisfaction
As an employee, it feels good to produce a high-quality product or service and get recognition for it. These are realistic outcomes in an organization that embraces quality. High job satisfaction can lead to all sorts of positive results, including a friendly, happier place to work. Employees are nicer to one another and do not blame each other, when they adopt systems thinking. Going to work and enjoying what you do has a lot to do with your co-workers. Employees that enjoy their jobs are simply easier to gel with.
Less Non-Value Added Work
Organizations that follow ISO standards eliminate non-value added work and replace it with actions that benefit the customer or the business. The process of identifying non-value added work is an acquired skill, but once employees know how to spot it, it transforms the work they produce. An organizational culture that promotes the identification and removal of non-value added work is one that is efficient. Cultures that fail to promote efficient process and system development will lose profit margin over the long run.
Less Employee Turnover
ISO initiatives make work easier and more efficient for stakeholders throughout an organization. As a result, employees make fewer mistakes and get a chance to succeed in their roles. Fewer employees tend to change their jobs or quit because work is fun, meaningful and less frustrating. This is good for organizational culture and operational efficiency for multiple reasons. Employees with years of experience add more value to organizations, because they can leverage their experience and knowhow to improve efficiencies and customer experiences. Cultures that value and encourage employee longevity gain a competitive edge in the marketplace over both the short and long-term.
For additional information how to improve organizational culture thru implementing ISO, please contact us today. Quality assurance and process excellence tools have transformative powers and can take your company to the next level of success.
While ISO 2008 required a documented procedure of preventative action to be implemented when appropriate after the corrective measures had been taken, the approach was a reactive response to an adverse event or nonconformity. In ISO 9001 2015, the notion of preventative action has morphed into a more proactive preventative approach applied in all the main processes of the quality management system: planning, design, development, manufacture, customer support and service. In this new standard, the measure is called risk-based thinking or RBT.
Understanding Risk in Context
Let’s first attempt to understand what is risk. The answer may ultimately be subjective when considering what risks are in the context of an organisation. However, one common explanation is, where there is risk, there is a chance or probability of something adverse happening or a chance to exploit a resulting opportunity. The end-product of risk is uncertainty and deviation from that which is intended. According to the new standard, this deviation could be positive or negative.
What is Risk Based Thinking?
While there is no definition for Risk-based Thinking (RBT) provided in ISO 9001 2015, there is some explanation in ISO 9001 and TC 176. This clause tells us that RBT is something we do “automatically in everyday life.” Some have described RBT as being a common sense measure. Perhaps the old adage is true;
“Common sense is not so common,” Voltaire
Where to Apply RBT
The new ISO standard states that RBT should be applied in each of the processes that make up the quality management system. However, each process of the quality management system holds varying levels of risk regarding the organization’s ability to meet its quality objectives. Because of this, more careful and formal planning and controls are needed for certain risk areas than others.
Understanding Opportunity as a Risk
When considering the context of the new standard, opportunity, is not merely the positive side of risk —but a set of circumstances in which an outcome is impacted to some degree, by either action or non-action. There is less risk involved when choosing to exploit an opportunity for a positive outcome than there is in failing to act when the result would have negative, neutral, or less than positive consequences. Therefore, each potential scenario is relevant to RBT in weighted amounts.
Planning and Implementation of RBT
RBT, as the standard requires, should be applied in the planning and formulation of the complete quality management system. This begins with a requirement for top management to identify and include both internal and external parties who have an interest in the effectiveness of the QMS. Those whose end goal is to achieve the production quality goods and services. For the same reason, top management is to identify both positive and negative issues that present opportunities and risks that are relevant to quality goods and services as these will need to be taken into account when planning and implementing the quality management system.
The Fluidity of Context of the Organisation
Because the context of the organisation is not a static trait, the risk potential also changes. It is important that an enterprise can appropriately evaluate risk potential, mitigate those risks and identify opportunities in the ever-changing environment of organisational context. While it is not a requirement, one suggestion for to successfully plan, implement and follow through with RBT in any number of risk areas is to utilise the following process:
Plan – Identify and plan to address the risk.
Do – Implement the plan to avoid, eliminate or mitigate the risk.
Check- Asking how effective your plan was at risk avoidance.
Documentation of RBT Processes
It is important to note that there is no explicit requirement for the process to be formalised into a written document nor is there any stipulation to retain documentation for recordkeeping. However, you must be prepared to present some form of evidence that suggests you engaged appropriately in risk-based thinking, as this process does require significant forethought and “what-if” or scenario planning.
Summary of the Requirements for RBT
Promote awareness of risk-based thinking allows leadership to determine and address various risks and opportunities which we otherwise might have missed.
Provide the necessary resources for RBT in all areas of risk or opportunity, remembering that risk is implicit whenever the conditions determine it suitable or appropriate
Monitor, measure, analyse and evaluate the effectiveness of actions taken to address the risks/opportunities.
Correct, prevent, or reduce artefacts, improving the QMS and updating risks and opportunities as needed within the changing context.
Consider including some evidence of risk identification and evaluation having been performed, if this action supports or adds value to the organisation.
Benefits of RBT
An organisation is responsible for its ISO application to have risk-based thinking and identify the actions it takes to address the risk including evaluation of opportunities as a risk. The standard, by applying risk-based thinking, greatly increases the likelihood of a company realising the following benefits
Proactive stance to prevent poor outcomes
Greater ability to recognise opportunity
Improved consistency and quality of products and services
Increased customer confidence and satisfaction
In summary, RBT is the next obvious step-up from the previous standard which was reactionary. Successful companies will have the common sense to intuitively incorporate proactive risk-based thinking into the existing quality management system. When properly implemented, RBT ensures greater knowledge of risks and better prepares the organisation to deal with those risks. It promotes a thought framework in which missed opportunities are also calculated as potential risks. It increases the likelihood of reaching objectives while reducing the possibility of undesirable outcomes.Read More
There are a few situations in which a company could benefit from hiring an ISO or quality management consultant such as expanding the scope of an existing ISO certification, improving your functional performance within the current QMS through additional training, resources, and education, and finally facilitating a new ISO certification project.
The relationship between client and consultant should be one built on trust and mutual respect. This is critical since the consultant will need the to lead the client through the ISO certification process informing and educating along the way so that the client becomes more knowledgeable and stronger while driving the implementation process forward.
An Organised Approach to Choosing a Consultant
But how do you go about choosing the ISO consultant that is best for your organisation? We recommend, starting early, gather information, and use the following methodical approach before you begin consultant interviews.
Establish an ISO Committee or Team that is made up of individuals who will serve as contact points for the consultants.
Assess the company’s strengths and its weaknesses, including issues that could threaten your ability to achieve certification.
Define exactly what it is you are hoping to achieve from ISO certification.
Conduct frank and open roundtable discussions to discover agendas and define goals.
Document your project goals.
Create a “wish list” that you will use as a guide for evaluating a consultants fitness to serve the interests of your organisation.
Basic Criteria for Choosing an ISO Consultant
1. Experience and Skills
You have to do your research, not only into the consulting company but also about the individual who will be performing the consulting. The following are some questions to help you evaluate this area.
Does the consultant have certificates like Lead Auditor Course or Lead Implementer Course?
How many jobs has the consultant performed?
Does the consultant have a track record of shortening implementation time?
How long has the consulting company been in this business?
Which industries has the company and consultant worked with?
Does the consulting firm have references that back up their experience and know-how for implementations of similar scope? It is important that your team does its due diligence by following up with the references provided.
3. Customized Services
Your company is unique so too must be the solutions the consulting company is prepared to offer. Avoid “copy and paste” consultants. They often show up with predesigned templates with little else to contribute. Unless the consultant is willing to tailor their services to your needs, you would be better off attempting the implementation unassisted.
4. Language and Communication
A consultant who doesn’t speak your native language (or speaks in a broken dialect) can lead to disaster. One job of a consultant is to understand the unique nuances of your day-to-day operations, and that can be difficult with a language or communication barrier.
A Word of Caution: Conflict of Interest
A consultant will be privy to your most critical and proprietary information. Make certain to have non-disclosure contracts in place to cover these areas so that you are not left vulnerable. Beware of contractors attempting to upsell you on software or other additional services.
A knowledgeable and professional ISO QMS consultant can make certification implementation a much easier process for your organisation. An expert consultant will possess analytic skills and the ability to identify and help you avoid pitfalls that can be time-consuming and add cost to the project. It is important that the consultant’s offerings are synergistic and align with your company’s goals and action steps. The consultant you choose should be an excellent communicator who has a process in place for leading you step-by-step through the complete certification project and a precise idea of what the auditors will look for, recommending the best solutions for your organisation.Read More
If your goal is building an organisation with prospects for long-term success, then you can look at what makes it sustainable. One approach is to focus on quality across the organisation. Sometimes, business leaders find it helpful to go through a process of certification, especially to demonstrate to customers that their business practices are worthy of ongoing loyalty. Businesses in nearly every industry may choose to become certified by the leading organisations in their field and also according to evaluations of their organisation in general. One option is becoming certified under ISO 9001. In this post, we examine the process-based thinking that leads to this certification.
A Focus on Quality Management
It’s worth pursuing ISO 9001 certification if your organisation already maintains a focus on quality. You can also use this methodology to improve operations prior to seeking certification. ISO 9001 means that every business unit and identifiable activity within a company is held to high standards. This doesn’t just occur in preparation for certification. It’s built into every operational area and signifies the status quo. Also, business processes and tasks that result in mediocre or poor quality are not acceptable. Management is responsible for correcting instances of less-than-standard quality, and the root causes of these instances must be researched and eliminated.
Everyone Gets Involved
ISO 9001 also means that all employees maintain a focus on continuous improvement; this comes from the deep-seated belief that customers will keep buying because they recognize quality in products and services. Employees want to work for an organisation with a reputation for high quality because they recognize the extreme value that customers get. Employees contribute to ever-higher levels of quality and help customers benefit from their entire experience with the company.
Getting certified under ISO 9001 requires reviewing all of an organisation’s internal operations and assessing them according to 7 quality management principles, or QMPs. These principles govern every task that employees perform and other indicators that are harder to measure, such as interactions between employees and customers. The QMPs are: customer focus, leadership, engagement of people, process approach, improvement, evidence-based decision-making, and relationship management.
The Example of QMP #2: Leadership
Let’s take a closer look at one of the QMPs to help readers understand what ISO 9001 looks like in practice. According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), an organization will incorporate all of its managers into the process. “Leaders at all levels establish unity of purpose and direction and create conditions in which people are engaged in achieving the organisation’s quality objectives.” This means defining what quality looks like in terms of a particular process, which is a combination of business activities. The rationale for focusing on leadership is as follows: “Creation of unity of purpose and direction and engagement of people enable an organization to align its strategies, policies, processes and resources to achieve its objectives.” This mindset does not leave room for people who do not support quality objectives and those who won’t follow policies and procedures. People who aren’t rule followers do not help an organisation reinforce its quality standards.
Is It for You?
The ISO 9001 certification could signify that your organisation has moved along a continuum, but you aren’t ready for it if your organisation is immature. The beginning of the continuum resembles total chaos, and the end of the continuum resembles a “self-learning” organisation. Without a commitment to effective leadership and the other six principles of ISO 9001, your organisation cannot demonstrate its sustainability to outsiders. The value of the products or services that you deliver to consumers will remain in question. You can say that the quality management principles have been implemented, but anyone looking closer can quickly find evidence that your organisation falls short.
When you get your ISO certification, there are a number of certification bodies you can get from. Many people wrongly assume that a certification from a larger certification bod has more value. However, this is a myth. The reality is that ISO certification bodies throughout Australia (in fact across the globe) provide the same level of certification, though it’s important to choose the one for your own reasons.
Why is ISO so Important?
ISO, known as the International Organization of Standardization, is responsible for developing and publishing international standards. When you want to assure people that you have a safe and reliable product, the ISO certification provides the necessary assurance. Many customers look for the certification, before they award the work.
When you choose ISO, you can actually use this as a strategic tool to reduce your costs because of minimizing errors and waste. You can ensure that you are using an international standard, and it will allow you access to new markets, including those overseas. The world as a whole is familiar with ISO certification and therefore you can get involved in fair global trade. Developing countries will often turn to the ISO to learn about new processes, such as managing animal welfare and improving sanitation.
ISO works within an array of sectors, including climate change, food, health and safety, energy and renewables, and much more.
How to Receive Certification
When you are ready to receive ISO certification, you need to choose a certification body, sometimes known as a conformity assessment body (CAB). To do this, you will want to look at a few different bodies in Australia to find out who they are and what they have to offer.
– Ensure that the body has a good reputation, see and understand what existing customers say
– Check for accreditation. A lack of accreditation does not mean the company isn’t reputable, though it will provide insurance that the body is competent.
After you have gone through the ISO certification process, you will identify a product or system with the numbers, such as ISO 9001:2008 certified. Saying “ISO certified” is not a proper way of displaying your certificate.
ISO does not provide the certification directly, which is another common myth about getting certified. It must come from a third party CAB.
Choosing the Right CAB
ISO recommends that you go through International Accreditation Forum (IAF) in order to find a CAB. The IAF is the world association for CABs in the field of products, services, and an array of management systems. You will have the ability to search for a CAB within a specific country as well as to read more about them.
The IAF also provides news and publications to educate you more about ISO standards as well as current trends that may be taking place across the industry. This can be used to conduct research about a specific product or service prior to getting certification to ensure that conformity on the latest best practices are in place.
In the end, the only thing that is displayed once ISO certification is received is the ISO stamp with numbers on the product or service. No one ever sees the assessment body. This means that you can use the body of your choosing in order to receive the ISO certification. One body is no stronger than another. It doesn’t mean that you have a better ISO certification than another. You either receive the certification or you don’t. This allows you to choose the body you want to work with, regardless of where you are located.
With many third party certifications to choose from, some research should be done. Sustainable Certification has a great reputation amongst businesses in Australia who are seeking ISO certification on various products and services.