In John’s experience, he has found that most organisations which have been successfully trading for a number of years probably have many of the management system requirements in place already, even if they do not realise it. John’s approach is to use these existing processes wherever possible and only modify or change things when it’s absolutely necessary.
Adopting this approach introduces minimal changes to the organisation. These minor improvements that are dictated to be necessary by the standard should then be readily accepted by the organisation.
Invariably there will be some processes missing and John has a wide range of tried and tested procedures, flowcharts and records that can be tailored to suit each particular client.
Some consultants have a set of ‘off-the-shelf’ procedures for environmental management systems or quality management systems. A lot of the time, they will impose these procedures onto a client and request that the client changes all their existing business processes to suit the consultant’s method of working. This is a recipe for disaster, as the procedures will invariably not reflect the true needs of the organisation and will certainly not all be followed. Management systems need to be tailored to the organisation; this will ensure that the client follows them but also that they are the most relevant to the client.
John’s preferred method of documenting processes is the use of flowcharts. Microsoft Visio is an excellent flowcharting package and enables flowcharts to be stored electronically on a client’s intranet. The flowcharts can easily be hyperlinked to enable navigation between them, and to associated records and other relevant documents. Read-only access and password control can also be implemented when necessary to cover many of the requirements for document control. This can put the client’s mind at rest, as they know the documents are secure.
Other than six mandatory documented procedures, ISO 9001 requires processes to be controlled, as this does not necessarily mean a documented procedure is required. John’s policy is to document a process as a last resort, if this is the only method of control. For example many business processes are computer controlled and the software will not allow unauthorised or inadequate use. A documented procedure for such processes is somewhat superfluous and does not add any value to the organisation, so John won’t waste the time and money if it’s not necessary or beneficial.
When it comes to choosing a certification body, many clients ask John to make a recommendation but he refuses to do this. It’s an important business decision that must be made by the organisation and, for reasons of impartiality, John cannot be seen to be favouring any particular certification body. John will only work in partnership with UKAS accredited certification bodies (the terms & conditions make this quite clear), so will initially direct clients to the UKAS website www.ukas.com. This includes details of approximately ninety certification bodies that offer ISO 9001 certification in the UK (slightly fewer for other management systems).
Clients are often understandably confused by this plethora of bodies, so ask whether there are any that John himself can recommend. John can name a small selection of typically four to six bodies that he is currently working with or has worked with recently. This is a diverse selection, some well known and some more obscure, but all will be known to him and will have given good service in the past.
If requested, John will assist the client to obtain application forms and quotations but insist that the final decision is made by them. He will be happy to work with whichever body the client chooses, otherwise he would not have recommended them!
Certification bodies also engage consultants like John to carry out subcontract auditing. The consultant needs to be suitably competent i.e. IRCA registered, and not have any consultancy interests in the organisation being audited. For many consultants this subcontract work is an important revenue stream but it’s not for everyone.
When he commenced consultancy, John made the policy decision to not offer auditing services to any certification body, therefore retaining total impartiality. John’s interests are purely one-sided, preparing an organisation for assessment, not carrying out the assessment process. This means his clients can rest assured that they will get an impartial, honest service. For further information please call 01730 302 280.