Life seems to be all about saving time these days, don’t you think? Consider some of the adverts on TV for time-saving devices, making our lives easier, freeing up time to have fun. It seems to me that is also a very good approach to running your own business.
All too often we hear small business owners complaining that they work 50, 60 or 70 hour weeks, missing out on quality family time by working evenings and weekends. They talk about all the red tape involved in business these days, and how long it takes them to do paperwork.
These are all very valid complaints and it’s easy to see that this would become very frustrating. It is also costly, as the business owner should be looking at the bigger picture, rather than focussing on the minutiae.
Saving Time And Money
However, there is a very straightforward way of alleviating this problem and, contrary to what some business owners think, it is perfect for SMBs. The solution is integrated management system training.
As we move towards making better use of ISO management systems, many organisations are taking up the option of integration, to reduce documentation and duplication, and free up more time to work on the business.
An integrated management system basically combines a business’s different management systems into one. And as such, it can achieve ISO accreditation.
Integrate Common Standards
While there are thousands and thousands of different International Standards in use, the most commonly used – and therefore most commonly integrated – are ISO 14001 Environmental Management; ISO 9001 Quality Assurance; OHSAS 18001 Safety Management, and AS/NZS 4801 Safety Management.
If you’re feeling a bit confused over where to start, the first step should be to talk to integrated management services consultants, such as Standard Consulting in Brisbane.
In just a few words, the reason why integration makes such good sense, is that ISOs share many similarities and processes. What’s more, all International Standards are about improving your organisation, your products and your services, so they share a common goal.
Reduce The Risks
So, for example, let’s say your organisation has an environmental management system, and a safety management system, and both share the same communication policy. Why not treat these systems as one?
Those management systems and standards in particular share many common points, as both are concerned with safety, risk and impact, and both are governed by strict legislation.
An integrated management system will help an organisation reduce documentation, as there are many common clauses; reduce process repetition; make the whole system easier to manage, and reduce the cost of certification.
Standard Consulting tailor-makes integrated management systems to suit each client and, by working with proven processes and procedures, can achieve certification much faster.
These professional, experienced consultants provide all the documentation, training and knowledge needed to implement a successful integrated management system and gain accreditation.
Training Central To Success
A key part of successfully implementing an integrated management system is the training process, and this is now much easier, thanks to the release of a new format. Generally, key staff members are trained at the beginning of the process, followed by training of all staff members, to ensure everybody is across the changes.
Most organisations find that their staff are enthusiastic about the changes and enjoy the training. The fact that an integrated management system improves efficiency and quality, generally sees a boost in staff morale, as employees feel more fulfilled.
They see the investment in the business as a positive, recognising that the business owner is taking steps to improve the experience for all stakeholders.
There is also less room for confusion and error, when the systems and procedures are so clearly mapped out.
Is It Right For You
The question is, would an integrated management system benefit your particular business? From the point of view of cost efficiencies, of course it would. And as for improving quality and safety – and reducing your organisation’s impact on the environment – no question.
In short, any business that follows W. Edwards Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle would benefit.
The PDCA Cycle is a problem-solving process used to eliminate quality issues and improve business performance – surely things every business would like to achieve?
But it’s about much more, too. It’s about reputation, market share, branding and customer care, too. And increasingly, it’s also a major point of consideration when trying to grow a business. With most major companies and public bodies now incorporating Standards in their own management systems, they will seek the same attention to detail in those they choose to work with. In short, if you wish to tender for government contracts, or become a supplier to a bigger company, you are likely to need certification.
Whether you choose to implement an integrated management system or not, it’s likely you still use audits to measure performance and identify savings. By taking integrated management to the next level, and achieving certification, fewer audits are required. That means less disruption to the business, and great savings in terms of time and money.