How does a management system advance?
How does a management system advance?
By Alan M. Jones, CEO, Qudos Management Pty Ltd. 23 January 2024.
I came across a quotation the other day from the renowned philosopher and mathematician Alfred North Whitehead:
“Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them.”
It got me thinking...isn’t the same principle true for our management systems?
Over the years, I have visited many organisations as a certification auditor, or been called in as a consultant to help improve / update existing systems. Those with the least effective management systems tend to be:
- Where the management system doesn’t really reflect the true business. It's just bolted on to achieve certification and gets a quick ‘make-over’ once a year. This means it’s an overhead that never goes anywhere or delivers real value to the business or its clients, but just (hopefully) ticks a box. With a lot of stress to whoever is responsible for maintaining it and a total lack of engagement from others within the business. It generates a lot of stress to the person responsible for maintaining it and a total lack of engagement from others in the business
- Where tasks are not sufficiently baked into the system or automated where possible. So, they generally happen, but not always. Things go wrong when the business is under any form of strain – such as if key people are away, or there is a variation on a standard job. Or worse, when work levels increase dramatically - the time when you need a robust system the most! Things go wrong such as a form not being completed, or a major security breach, or an aircraft door falling off.
We are all time-poor. The more that tasks are just part of everyday life and don’t have to be remembered - or even better – if they are automated, then they just happen.
Everyday examples of automation or systemisation that help management systems to advance
In the Health and Safety context, a business needs to ensure that all new workers have the appropriate OHS awareness. It wants them to know about the relevant policies, what their responsibilities are, how to report a concern or incident, and so on. So, any communications, awareness training, etc. needs to be built into the induction process between the OHS team and HR / P&C. To ensure that it happens consistently, the relevant steps should be included in standard documents such as a Welcome Pack and Job Description, and / or in an induction checklist, and should be reviewed at internal audit. The same principles would also apply in other topics – such as information security awareness.
Let's consider a scenario where a business periodically delivers webinars to say 100 clients by Microsoft Teams and would like them to register for the events. The latest version of Teams allows a simple process to be followed that sets out a branded invitation with self-service registration by the attendee. Required information can be specified, the attendee gets the opportunity to add the event to their calendar, they receive confirmation of their registration, and a reminder prior to the event. The organiser also has access to a list of who has registered. For the organiser, the process is now largely automated. It saves labour and ensures that steps such as sending invitation emails and logging participants is not forgotten.
- INTERNAL AUDIT
The traditional method of planning and recording internal audits and their outcomes is very labour intensive. Someone has to plan the schedule (usually in Excel), people involved in audits are notified by email, they complete an audit report (usually as a Word document), they send it back to the organiser who checks it off the spreadsheet. Any Actions are raised by another Word document or added to a nonconformance register. While there may be variations on that theme, you get the general idea and have probably experienced something like it. This labour-intensive, disjointed approach is a major factor that often makes internal audits fail to generate real benefit and be a cause of nonconformances at certification!
Long ago, I came to the conclusion that achieving something better was both possible and desirable. As a result, the Audits module in Qudos3 IMS software has been designed specifically to automate steps in the process.
- Audit checklists may be generated from templates or previous audits.
- This automatically builds a schedule.
- Both auditors and contacts are automatically reminded of forthcoming audits.
- Photos and other evidence can be easily attached to checklist items.
- Actions are generated and emailed at the click of a button.
- The schedule is updated with the status of each audit.
- Statistics and graphical reports are built for you.
Because of this, the audit process is a great deal easier to manage and generates more useful results.
So, with acknowledgement to Alfred North Whitehead, I do believe that our management systems also advance by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them.
Would you like to know more about IMS software for your business ?
We would be delighted to show you how Qudos3 can help your management system to advance. Contact us today to discuss your needs and arrange a demo!
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