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24 October 2015 in New Standards

2015 Updates to ISO 9001 and 14001 – Enhancing your Management Systems

What do the revised management system criteria contained in the 2015 updates to the ISO 9001 and 14001 standards mean for business?

Inevitably there will be some trepidation and resistance as the updated standards prescribe organisational and process changes. The “we’ve always done it this way culture” may initially prevail. However, the new standards contain a cure for this attitude, they promote the ability to embrace change.

Many organisations who are already management driven, who adopt a hands on approach to their business and who embrace a risk management/proactive approach type culture will be well on the road to satisfying the new standards.

The revised standards put simply build on an ethos of best practice. The focus is turned towards the management of the process rather than the records or outputs that the process produces. It examines how the organisations processes are geared up to deliver the stated strategies of the business? In simple terms can we do what we say we do?

There are two principle management strands to the revised standards:

1. Understanding the context in which the organisation exists

The environment in which any business operates exerts pressures on that business. These can be external or internal pressures. Is the organisation able to recognise these pressures and absorb them without significant impact on the business? Stake holder and / or relevant party interests and expectations must be fully understood and managed.

Questions to be answered include:

  • Can the business face and manage change?
  • Is it a forward looking organisation which prepares for change or is it simply reactive?

Examples of forthcoming business environmental changes include:

  • These 2015 updates to the ISO 9001 and 14001 standards.
  • The mandatory use of BIM from the spring of 2016 within the Construction sector.
  • The implications of the new energy bill is passing through parliament in February 2016.

The ability of an organisation to manage and absorb change is fundamental to the health of that business.

2. Enhanced leadership and senior management involvement

The whole drive behind the revised standards is to reduce delegation and adopt a “hands on” approach. It encourages active responsibility and asks senior management to embrace the management systems of their organisation. Setting KPI’s and monitoring performance will ultimately deliver consistency time after time.

The new standards promote being proactive rather than reactive. For example adopting preventative and planned maintenance strategies rather than waiting for failure or breakdowns. A risk driven management culture is encouraged which analyses, identifies, plans, performs, monitors and learns.

Knowledge and understanding of the organisational structure in which the manager sits is key. Each individual, within the business has a role to play in achieving these new standards, and needs to understand that role, wherever they sit within the organisation hierarchy.

The 2015 versions of the 9001 and 14001 standards will put in place a commonality of structure to assist further integration of the management system. The improved and focused Quality Management Systems / Energy Management Systems which will result from embracing the 2015 standards will ensure the organisation is better able to deliver:

  • Consistent outputs that meet customer and applicable statutory requirements.
  • Opportunities to enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Tools to address risk and opportunities associated with its operational context and stated strategic objectives.
  • Conformity to specified management system requirements.
  • A framework to protect the environment and respond to changing environmental conditions in balance with socio-economic needs.

In conclusion the 2015 updates to the ISO 9001 and 14001 standards will improve your management systems which in turn will improve efficiency and profits.


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