Five Benefits of a Certified Management System

Improve business processes to reduce waste, increase sustainability, and maximize profits

Calin Moldovean

January 22, 2020

As today’s industries and operations become increasingly more global, an effective management system is rapidly becoming an essential part of a sustainable business strategy. A management system defines how work is done, the desired results, and the controls imposed to ensure those outcomes.

Your management system certification is more than a manual and more than the certificate on the wall. It’s a critical tool that will help you meet requirements (customer, regulatory, and legal), minimize risks, strengthen your market position, protect your brand, focus on the customer, improve organizational efficiency, and reduce costs. If your certifying body is not helping you continually improve your management system performance, then you should consider transferring your certifications.

Your certified management system should bring continual improvement throughout your organization, including:

1. Stronger leadership

It is no longer sufficient for an organization to conduct an audit just to meet the requirements of its “ISO” systems. In the past, quality or environmental managers would ensure the qualifications of the standards were met prior to their certification audit each year and that the organization was in compliance. However, the management system and ISO’s requirements have evolved over the years to be comprehensive and necessary tools in running efficient operations. The results of your audits can no longer stay with the quality team but must be brought to the attention of senior management.

Today’s leaders need to understand that the results from both internal and external management system audits can give them great insight into their organization. By utilizing findings, quality managers and their senior leadership can implement real change to improve efficiency, quality, safety, and sustainability, while helping to meet their corporate objectives. The management system should be continuously changing with evolving processes that make the operations of the company better every day. It should not be the sole responsibility of quality managers and should not be left on the shelf until next year’s certification audit.

To gain the support of senior management, internal and external audit reports should give your leadership team feedback that speaks their language and addresses their needs. The audit report should provide the framework to ensure action plans are developed and monitored, and corrective action is initiated when targets and business objectives are not being met.

2. Opportunities to improve efficiencies

Analyze your management system’s design and assess its effectiveness to meet current and future challenges, not just “ISO” requirements. In doing so, you give senior management the tools to see where there is overcapacity and provide them with the insight they need to make the right adjustments relative to your organization’s needs.

To accomplish this, consider the following actions:

• Review process metrics against business objectives and the current economic environment.
• Use internal process assessments to focus less on compliance and more on process improvements.
• Incorporate applicable improvement tools, such as Six Sigma or lean, into the overall management system.
• Integrate your quality, environmental, and health and safety management systems into a single integrated management system.
• Extend your learning to the entire supply chain and your business partners.

3. Mitigate business risk

When you conduct internal and external system assessments, highlight the impact of your findings on business risk. Ensure that your management system evaluation is inclusive of all processes, including legal compliance, finance, environmental programs, sustainability, and especially health and safety. By including each of the major risk areas to the business, you will ensure you have different perspectives on where potential threats lie within all operations and will be ready to implement changes to mitigate those findings.

The goal of risk management is not only to identify your risks, but also to take steps to mitigate and reduce the risk to a level that is acceptable to the business. Defining a risk assessment formula or process to determine how severe or frequent the risk/hazard will be, and assigning risk levels, will provide a clear and easy way to view the undesired event. Setting an acceptable level of risk is an important part in the risk management process. Training your internal audit teams on the basics of risk management will add even more value to your internal audit program.

4. Exceed customer requirements

Use your management system to integrate customer requirements into every aspect of the business. Plan-do-check-act (PDCA) and problem-solving techniques can help you to gather, analyze, and act on customer needs and perceptions—not just their complaints. Share your best practices with your customers and request the same from them.

5. Quantify and improve the return on internal and external audits

When you transition from compliance to risk-based auditing, you can “do more with less”: spend more time on fewer processes by focusing on high-risk, bottom-line, and customer-facing activities. By understanding what the “internal customer” and the process owner need, you can get to the root cause faster. The internal and external audit results should include quantifiable improvements and actionable recommendations, including an evaluation of resources.

Intertek offers many management systems certification solutions, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, that give you the tools to minimize business risk, while assessing the effectiveness of your processes in achieving company goals and objectives. With a high level of technical expertise and an unparalleled focus on customer satisfaction, Intertek goes beyond basic compliance to be a true business partner and solution provider.

Management systems certification should help your organization improve your business processes to reduce waste, increase sustainability and efficiency, and maximize your profits. If you aren’t receiving the full benefits of management systems certification, you can transfer your management systems certification to Intertek. The process is completed in a matter of days with no interruption to your certification and will continue the audit cycle with your next assessment activity. Whether you’re transferring a single certificate, or have a complex management system covering multiple standards, Intertek will help you bring your system to the next level.

 

About The Author

Calin Moldovean’s picture

Calin Moldovean

Calin Moldovean, president of Business Assurance at Intertek, is responsible for management systems auditing and certification, training, and supplier management services. He also leads Tradegood, an online marketplace developed by Intertek that connects responsible buyers and trusted suppliers. Moldovean has led laboratories, auditing, and training operations in medical services, and he was a vehicle technology engineer and safety manager, automotive director of operations, and program manager. As a certified lead auditor, Moldovean has audited hundreds of organizations throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Moldovean holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Transylvania University, Romania, and an executive MBA from Suffolk University, Boston.