Your ISO management rep is leaving the company, and you have yet to reassign the post. If you’re wondering whether there are any formalities that must be followed, don’t worry. There’s no need to hit the panic button. With some simple planning, you can ensure your management systems remain in shape and in conformance to the ISO standards for which you’ve worked so hard to achieve certification.
If you are not sure whether you have the talent in-house to replace the ISO management rep, or if you have decided to hire a replacement, then the first thing you want to do is assign an interim rep, since there is no telling how long the search may take. The interim ISO management rep will be the point of contact with your registrar for the time being and should take note of any questions that come his way.
You should notify your registrar to avoid lost communications. This is particularly important if your audit is coming up soon. By promptly notifying the registrar, you will prevent her emailing an employee no longer with your company. If it looks like you are close to hiring a replacement, consider asking the registrar to postpone the audit for a few weeks or months.
If your company has a management system that is decentralized, chances are the system can temporarily run on its own without too much disruption from the ISO management rep’s departure. In this case, figure out what his specific roles were and reassign them as necessary. Pay particular attention to internal audits. The ISO management rep typically runs the internal audit program, so this is one area where you don’t want the duties to slide. Again, if your company is decentralized and matured, all you have to do is pick a person from your pool of internal auditors who is capable of following your audit schedule and procedures to form a team and carry on with the internal audits.
If your company has a management system that is very ISO-management-rep-centric, then you are in for a treat. If you don’t have the talent in-house for his replacement, my best recommendation is that you bring in a consultant to act as an ISO coordinator during the interim. Although this may seem like an added cost, if you don’t enlist someone who is knowledgeable, you run the risk of your entire management system falling apart. This could actually cause your company to regress in terms of quality, undoing years of progress in just a few months, especially if you halt your internal audit program. So your best bet is to bring in a consultant with an auditing team and have them perform your internal audit. Ask them to help your own team address any nonconformity. If possible, use their expertise to begin decentralizing your management system, so that you are not put in that same situation again.
Another area where the ISO management rep is usually heavily involved is the management review. He is typically in charge of creating the whole presentation—arranging the meeting, inviting the correct personnel, and issuing the minutes. If you have procedures in place and a history of effective management reviews, I suggest giving one of your team members the responsibility of carrying out this major task. If she is trained well, chances are she will welcome the challenge.
But if you know, deep down, that your management reviews have never amounted to more than a dog-and-pony show, then this is your chance to break free. Get your consultant back in and have him help you prepare and conduct the management review the way it is intended to be: a fruitful exercise whereby your team can accurately review your management system and make decisions as to where your organization is going and what actions are needed to get there. Once again, use the consultant’s expertise to update your procedures so that you can follow them for years to come.
I’m certain these suggestions can help keep your management system on track. Of course, there are many issues and potential pitfalls to a management system, but the ones presented here can render your management system unworthy of a certificate if they are neglected. Keep them in mind when transitioning through the replacement of your ISO management rep, and your system will prevail. And don’t forget: A good management system is one that is ingrained in every employee and every process.