• Andrew Thornhill

How to know if you Should Implement a Management System

In this video, we're going to talk about the key steps in planning and implementing a management system.


At the end of the video, I'll take you through our number one strategy for understanding the scope of work involved in implementing a management system - a gap analysis.



1. Understanding

Step one is to get a good understanding (internally across the compliance team) about the particular standard you want to implement, and specifically, what do those requirements demand you to do?


This is also the time also to start educating both your senior management team and some of your operational team as well. The earlier you start this education process, the earlier they can start to understand what it's really about.


Ensure you are extending that knowledge of what the standard actually requires at different levels.



2. Gap Analysis

Once you have instilled that level of understanding, it is encouraged to do a gap analysis.


I'll show you how to use this tool toward the end of the blog, but it's really similar to an internal audit, whereby you get the requirements of the standard and can begin to understand that you don't have to reinvent the wheel for everything. You've already got some practices in place that will contribute to meeting those requirements.



3. Implementation

When actually implementing a management system, it is encouraged to take a project approach. Treat it as a discrete project that will need approval from the senior management and endorsement from the senior management team.


It will need resources and some allocated time away from people's operational duties to get this done as well.


Doing this is a key success factor; we sometimes see management not quite understand the scope of work involved, they think it is just writing up a few procedures. They throw it on top of someone who's already busy, and it just delays the whole project. In the end, it doesn't happen because operational priorities always take over.



4. Understand Organisational Culture

You need to be aware that in implementing the management system, this might lead to some organisational change. This change needs to be supported through communication and consultation activities.



5. Understand Processes

Once you understand the requirements in the standard, you need to get an understanding of your processes - both operational processes and management system level processes.


This may involve finding out:

  • How do you currently report accidents and incidents?

  • How do you currently ensure traceability of products and raw materials?

  • How do you do improvement reporting?


You can get an understanding of how these processes are planned and managed by:

  1. Working thorough and mapping out those processes

  2. Understanding where further support is needed through training and competency development

  3. Finding out where you need to define parts of those processes



6. Formally plan out and undertake communication, consultation & training

Consultation is the two-way process where you're working with operational staff and other internal stakeholders, so they understand what you're doing and why and they have input.


They need to particularly get an understanding of:

  • How risks and hazards are managed in their work area

  • How operational processes in their work area are performed


It is critical to get that consultation early and regularly. You can't just write some procedures and tell your employees to follow them. You will definitely get more resistance than if people are being consulted along the way.


I will reiterate here the importance of getting top management involvement right from the start.


We work with a lot of organisations who say, "We'll get management involved at the end and do a formal Management Review." No. Change that thinking. Get them involved right from the start by meeting regularly, getting them to review, and working with them to review progress on the project. This way, they will have a really good understanding what's involved.



Number 1 Tip: Using a Gap Analysis


Our number one tip for today is to do a gap analysis audit. Under all of the standards, you have to do an internal audit of your management system, against the requirements of the standard. A gap analysis is essentially the same as an internal audit.

How do we work out the scope of work? How much work is involved?


We can find these things out by looking at the example above, using clause 7.2. This clause is in most of the standards around determining competency.


How to do a gap analysis:


1. In the first column put the requirements of the standard.


2. Map out internal processes and practices that are already in place to help determine competency when someone new comes on board or where you've got a high-risk task. That's going to form part of your system.


3. Map out whether there any gaps against what's required in the standard in relation to competency.

The benefit of taking that approach is the practices you already have in place. You don't have to reinvent the wheel and you will save all of those issues around change management and resistance to change.

Quite often, our customers find that they've got a lot more of a system in place, and they're already meeting a lot of those requirements, more so than we originally thought.


Something we do see organisations do, (which you need to avoid) is not even looking at what they do when starting out. They have in their head that clause 7.2 requires a brand new procedure, which they then write up.


You need to avoid this. Think about what you already have in place, and what the gaps are.


The gaps, then essentially form your scope of work and inform top management, and the project team about exactly how much work is actually involved.


4. Develop an action plan, which will start to close those gaps. In doing this, you will be very well prepared for your commencing your certification audits.


5. Use the completed gap analysis to decide whether the project team are going to close out those actions or whether you get a consultant on board to help


6. You can now immediately narrow down the scope of competency. Advise the consultants of what's already in place and inform them of how you would like to build on this to close the gaps.

If you are getting value from this video series, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can keep up to date with all my new videos about ISO Certification and Management Systems.

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