When starting to explain what is a management system one can start off by giving the definition as per ISO, the international standardization organisation
“A management system is the way in which an organization manages the interrelated parts of its business in order to achieve its objectives.”ISO.org
The requirements of the standard
Earlier today I was jogging on the streets and I saw a man doing some work on the payment. I can presume that this worker was provided by a private contractor and that Government was the client. And it got me thinking about management systems (yes, I love ISO 9001 consulting, and everything seems to get me to think about it).
When working on management systems, we are not really concerned with the actual work that is being done by the employees. The aim of the management systems is not to remove skills that are required by employees to do their job. On the contrary, having competent people working within the organisation is very important for the standard. Through the clauses of the standard, the aim of the management system is to ensure that:
- the company clearly understands the clients’ requirements
- the company has the systems in place to ensure that the planning is carried out accordingly
- the company has the resources (people, and equipment) that are required for the job
Management in a company
The aim of the management of the company is to ensure that the clients’ requirements are met. Unfortunately, some business owners tend to get deeply involved in the operations of their business, and never take a step back to actively mange their business.
A client buys a product or a service from a company because of the brand reputation. The brand is a promise of a certain level of quality of product/service. A management system is concerned with ensuring that the company has the required activities in place to monitor all the activities required to ensure a standard level of quality, with all of the clients.
When creating the processes for a company as we are going through the process of ISO 9001 implementation & certification, we mostly talk about information flow. How the information is moving between one person and the next, including clients, team members, and suppliers. The management of information is an integral part of the success and the benefits of ISO certification. From a process of 20/25 steps, we would only have 1/2 steps that involve the actual doing the work at the client – the rest would all be prepared for the work, and follow action after the work has been completed.
Conclusion about Management in a company
Back to the story of the man who was working on the pavement (described earlier in this post). The client was not interested in knowing who the actual person would be to do the work. On the other hand, the client was interested in having some requirements met.
Through the management system, the company providing the worker would ensure that it had accurately understood the requirements of the client, and had the resources required for the job. What would have happened should that person been sick on the day when the works were needed? Well, that would depend on the agreement that the company would have with the client. However, most people choose to work with companies (who have a management system), as they want the peace of mind of the guaranteed provision of the service.
On the other hand, when companies are seeking to find a consultant to help them to implement ISO 9001, they would rather know who they are working with, to ensure that the consultant is fully knowledgable about the topic.